Welcome, fellow food enthusiasts! Today, I am thrilled to share with you my recipe for Light General Tsao’s Chicken. This popular Chinese dish is known for its delightful combination of tangy, sweet, and slightly spicy flavors. In this recipe, I’ll show you how to create a lighter version of this dish without compromising on taste. Get ready to embark on a culinary adventure as we dive into the world of Light General Tsao’s Chicken, a dish that will leave you craving for more.
Light General Tsao's Chicken
- 1 large bowl
- 1 wok or large skillet
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste, mixed with 4 tablespoon water until smooth
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry (optional)
- 1 tablespoon light, low sodium soy sauce
- 1 egg white
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil or canola oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- 2 tablespoons sesame, or peanut oil
- 1 fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips (optional)
- 3-4 green onions cut into 1 inch pieces (including the green tops)
- Cut the chicken breasts into 1/4-inch-wide strips and then combine the chicken strips and cornstarch in a large bowl.
- Add the egg white, stir well to combine, and set aside.
- Combine the tomato/water mixture, sherry, soy sauce, 1 teaspoon oil, sugar, red pepper flakes, salt and white pepper in a cup and set aside.
- Heat a wok (or large skillet) over high heat for about 1 minute (or until hot). Drizzle the 2 tablespoons oil into the wok and heat for just 3-5 seconds. Add the chicken to the hot wok and stir-fry until the chicken is no longer pink in the center (about 4-5 minutes). Remove the chicken and set aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Add the green bell pepper, if using, and half of the green onions; stir-fry for 1 minute.
- Return the chicken to the wok. Add the tomato-sherry mixture; stir-fry until well mixed and heated through. Serve warm with brown rice and steamed broccoli with the remaining green onions sprinkled on top.
To ensure your Light General Tsao’s Chicken turns out perfect every time, here are some essential cooking tips and insights to help you achieve the best results. By following these tips and avoiding common mistakes, you’ll elevate your culinary prowess and make this dish truly shine.
Tips for Success:
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces: This ensures that the chicken cooks evenly and absorbs the flavors of the sauce effortlessly.
- Coat the chicken with cornstarch: Tossing the chicken in cornstarch before frying creates a crispy and golden exterior. It also helps the sauce adhere to the chicken later.
- Use high heat when frying: Heating the oil over medium-high heat ensures a quick sear, resulting in crispy chicken pieces while locking in juiciness.
- Cook the garlic and ginger briefly: Sautéing the minced garlic and grated ginger for a short time allows their flavors to develop without burning them.
Avoiding Common Mistakes:
- Overcrowding the skillet: Cook the chicken in batches if necessary to prevent overcrowding the skillet. Overcrowding leads to steaming rather than frying, which can result in soggy chicken.
- Skipping the cornstarch coating: The cornstarch creates a protective barrier on the chicken, locking in moisture and enhancing the crispy texture. Skipping this step may result in less crispy chicken.
- Overcooking the chicken: Be mindful not to overcook the chicken during the initial frying stage. Remove the chicken from the skillet when it turns golden brown and crispy, as it will continue to cook briefly when combined with the sauce later.
If you’re fortunate enough to have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Light General Tsao’s Chicken will stay fresh for up to 3 days. To reheat, gently warm the chicken in a skillet over low heat, adding a splash of water or additional sauce to maintain its moisture.
Now armed with these cooking tips, you’re ready to create a flawless Light General Tsao’s Chicken that will leave your taste buds dancing with joy.
Now that you’ve mastered the art of preparing Light General Tsao’s Chicken, let’s explore some delightful serving suggestions that will elevate your dining experience. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or enjoying a cozy meal at home, these recommendations will help you create a memorable culinary affair.
Perfect Occasions and Audience:
Light General Tsao’s Chicken is a versatile dish that suits various occasions and appeals to a wide range of palates. It’s an excellent choice for casual weeknight dinners, family gatherings, or even potluck parties. The bold flavors and enticing aroma are sure to impress both adults and children alike.
Complementary Sides, Garnishes, and Beverages:
To complement the vibrant flavors of Light General Tsao’s Chicken, consider serving it with steamed jasmine rice. The fluffy rice acts as a perfect canvas to absorb the tangy sauce. Additionally, you can pair the dish with stir-fried vegetables, such as broccoli or snap peas, to add a refreshing crunch.
Garnish your chicken with chopped green onions and sprinkle some sesame seeds to enhance the visual appeal and provide a nutty undertone. For a burst of freshness, serve the dish with a side of crisp cucumber slices or a light Asian-inspired slaw.
To elevate the dining experience, consider pairing Light General Tsao’s Chicken with a glass of chilled jasmine green tea or a fruity sparkling beverage. The floral notes of jasmine tea complement the dish’s flavors, while the effervescence of a sparkling drink adds a touch of celebration.
Creative Serving Ideas:
While the traditional way to serve Light General Tsao’s Chicken is over steamed rice, you can get creative and explore alternative presentations. Here are a few ideas to inspire you:
- Make it a wrap: Fill flour tortillas or lettuce cups with the chicken, add some shredded cabbage or carrot slaw, and drizzle with extra sauce for a handheld delight.
- Build a rice bowl: Create a vibrant rice bowl by layering steamed rice, the chicken, and colorful veggies like bell peppers, snap peas, and carrots. Top it off with a fried egg or a drizzle of spicy mayo for an extra kick.
- Stuff it in a bun: Transform the chicken into a tasty sandwich by placing it between a soft burger bun. Add some pickled vegetables and a dollop of sriracha mayo for a delicious Asian-inspired twist.
- Create an appetizer platter: Serve the chicken on skewers as bite-sized appetizers, alongside a selection of dipping sauces like sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, or even a creamy peanut sauce.
Get creative and tailor the serving style to suit your preferences and the occasion. The versatility of Light General Tsao’s Chicken allows you to experiment and surprise your guests with unique presentations.
FAQs about Light General Tsao’s Chicken
Can I make Light General Tsao’s Chicken ahead of time?
Absolutely! Light General Tsao’s Chicken can be prepared in advance and reheated when needed. Simply follow the recipe until the chicken is cooked and crispy. Allow it to cool completely before storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve, reheat the chicken in a skillet over low heat, adding a splash of water or extra sauce to keep it moist.
Can I substitute the protein in this recipe?
Certainly! While the traditional recipe calls for chicken, you can experiment with other proteins to suit your preferences or dietary restrictions. Shrimp, tofu, or even thinly sliced pork can be excellent alternatives. Adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure proper doneness.
Can I adjust the spice level of Light General Tsao’s Chicken?
Absolutely! The spice level of this dish can be easily customized to suit your taste. If you prefer a milder version, reduce the amount of red chili flakes or omit them altogether. On the other hand, if you enjoy a spicier kick, increase the amount of chili flakes or add a dash of your favorite hot sauce.
Can I make this dish vegetarian or vegan?
Adapting Light General Tsao’s Chicken to a vegetarian or vegan version is possible. For a vegetarian option, substitute the chicken with tofu or a meat alternative of your choice. Ensure the sauce and any additional ingredients are vegetarian-friendly.
For a vegan version, use tofu or tempeh instead of chicken and replace honey with a vegan sweetener like agave or maple syrup. Additionally, ensure all other ingredients, such as soy sauce, are labeled as vegan.
How should I store any leftovers?
If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Light General Tsao’s Chicken can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. When reheating, gently warm the chicken in a skillet over low heat, adding a splash of water or extra sauce to prevent it from drying out.
Get all your questions answered about Light General Tsao’s Chicken in our FAQs section. Discover storage tips for leftovers and find answers to commonly asked questions. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced cook, this post will provide valuable insights to enhance your cooking skills and ensure a delightful dining experience.