Sunday, 20 September 2015

Slow cooker recipe - General Tso's Chicken

I think we all know that the Chinese food we eat here in the West is very different from genuine Chinese food eaten in China.  But did you know that Chinese food you order as "take away" in Ireland tastes very different from "take out" you order in America?
For the record I tell you now I prefer the American Chinese food!  Here in Ireland I actually much prefer Indian or Thai food over Chinese food. But when I am in America it is Chinese all the way!!
When I came across a recipe for a crockpot chicken which promises to taste like real Chinese (American) food I got excited.  Today I set out to test that promise.
The recipe I used is available here and I also detail the ingredients and method below:
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1” pieces)
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ½ cup unsweetened pineapple juice
  • ⅓ cup vinegar (white distilled or apple cider)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dried ginger
  • Green onions, chopped, to top
  • Rice and broccoli, to serve
  1. Combine ¾ cups cornstarch, the salt, and the pepper in a shallow dish. Dip the chicken pieces in the cornstarch mixture to coat, shake off excess, and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken pieces. It should take less than 2 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  3. In the slow cooker, combine the sugar, soy sauce, pineapple juice, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and cayenne. Stir to mix well.
  4. Add the chicken to the crock pot and cook on low for 4 hours. Check 20 minutes before serving and make sure your sauce is thick enough. If not, take the remaining 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and mix it with 2 tablespoons cold water until a slurry forms. Then, gently mix a bit into the chicken and sauce, being careful not to scrape the cornstarch coating off of the chicken. If it's very thin, you'll need more, if it's not too thin, use is sparingly. It thickens significantly as it cooks, so you may not need the whole ¼ cup. Cook for another 20 minutes, and then serve over broccoli and rice. Top with chopped green onion.
If you cannot use pineapple juice in the sauce, orange juice will work fine for a slightly different (but still delicious) flavor!

Here's a pic of all my ingredients.  I think you will find you have a lot of them in your kitchen press already.
Next time I will brown the chicken more
The chicken and the sauce ready to be slow cooked!
Halfway through the cooking process.  It is tasting divine even at this point!!!! 

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