Baked General Tso Chicken (左宗棠雞)
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A General Tso Chicken recipe that’s baked, not fried and so much better than the real thing! Crispy and tender chicken pieces baked in crushed cornflakes and dressed in a classic sweet and sour sauce. It’s absolutely scrumptious!
A few nights ago I came across a very interesting documentary on Netflix called The search for general Tso.
The movie explores the origins of general Tso’s chicken and why it’s becomes such an iconic dish in America. The dish was apparently created in 1952 by Chef Peng Chang-kuei (彭長貴) at Pen’s Garden Hunan restaurant in Taipei, Taiwan. He named the dish General Tso chicken in honor of the famous Qing Dynasty general from his home province of Hunan.
The documentary also talks about the evolution of Chinese food in America and the difficulties Chinese immigrants had to face in order to survive and eventually thrive in this country.
What is General Tso Chicken?
General Tso chicken is one of the most popular takeout dishes you can get in Chinese American restaurants across the United States and Canada.
The dish is made of chicken pieces that have been dipped in egg and cornstarch and deep fried until crispy. The fried chicken is then tossed in a sweet and tangy gooey sauce and sometimes topped with sesame seeds.
Healthy General Tso Chicken
Once I finished watching the documentary I wasn’t only craving a big plate of general Tso’s chicken, I wondered if I could make a healthier version of it in my own kitchen. I would have to find a way to skip the deep fryer and create a breading that would be just as crispy as the original version.
The sauce would also have less sugar but still taste exactly like General Tso sauce.
“I can do it”, I told myself as I put on an apron and began prepping the dish.