I have a huge confession to make. I miss North American Chinese Food over here in the UK. I have yet to eat any Chinese dish that even remotely resembles what I am used to and what I loved from back home.
Oh sure, I know that the dishes we are presented in Chinese Food Establishments on both sides of the pond are nowhere near like the real thing at all . . . but I like what I like, and what I have had in my experience, is what I am used to and what I enjoy, and what I consider to be Chinese, so all of you purists out there, mum's the word.
The few times I have eaten Chinese food here in the UK, I have to confess I have not really enjoyed it all that much. I do like the chow mien from our local chippy, but for the most part, what I have experienced is not what I grew up with or what I crave.
Where's the Beef & Broccoli? The Egg Rolls? Won Tons? I haven't seen any yet and I love Beef & Broccoli. even more than sweet and sour. And a crisp Egg Roll with plum sauce is probably one of the most delicious things ever.
I tend to make my own Chinese dishes here at home and if I don't say so myself, I do a rather good job of it. I love my Beef and Broccoli.
I also love my Sweet & Sour Chicken Balls. My sauce is perfection. And of course, I have always loved my Fried Rice. I've cooked a lot of fried rice through the years. I learnt how to do it from my ex MIL. She learnt how to do it from one of her neighbours back when she was a young bride living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Its fed a lot of people through the years.
Another dish I make which we really love is General Tso's Chicken. Spicy and garlicky, this is a favourite of ours and I have downsized it to feed two people perfectly.
Tender pieces of chicken breast lightly seasoned and coated in corn flour are fried until crisp and golden brown, and then coated in a wonderfully flavour filled sticky sweet garlicky spicy sauce.
It goes together quickly and easily. Especially if you get all of your ingredients in place and ready to go before you start cooking.
I serve it very simply with some rice and I had a salad on the side. I got some of that Oriental Chopped Salad mix last time we went to Costco which we both love and which goes fabulously with this.
When I was younger I could have very easily eaten this along with some beef and broccoli and an egg roll. Now I am older I just don't have the appetite that I used to have when I was younger. I could never eat all of that. I expect we are all the same. In any case I think you will enjoy this chicken dish and if you are more than two? Well . . . . just double up on everything.
General Tso's Chicken for Two
Author: Marie Rayner
Sweet and spicy. An oriental favourite, downsized for the smaller family. I like to serve it with some rice and some salad.
For the chicken:
2 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 tsp salt
2 heaped TBS corn flour (cornstarch)
oil for frying
1/2 TBS minced fresh ginger root
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
sesame seeds to garnish (optional)
For the Sauce:
1 1/2 TBS rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 TBS soy sauce
1 1/2 TBS sugar
2 TBS water
1 tsp Hoisin sauce
1/2 TBS corn flour (cornstarch)
How to cook General Tso's Chicken for Two
Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together in a small beaker until smooth. Set aside.
Cut the chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes. Toss together with the salt and the cornflour. Let sit for about 5 minutes.
Heat cooking oil to 1/2 inch depth in a skillet until it bubbles with you add a drop of water. Add the chicken pieces and cook until golden brown on all sides and the juices run clear, working in batches if necessary. Scoop out to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Set aside.
Drain off all of the oil in the pan, with the exception of about 1/2 TBS. Add the garlic, minced ginger and chili flakes. Cook for about 3 seconds until the garlic becomes fragrant without browning. Return the chicken pieces to the pan, tossing them to coat them in the garlic mixture. Give the sauce ingredients a quick whisk and pour them into the pan. Cook and stir for 30 seconds to one minute until the sauce has thickened and turned glossy, making sure the chicken is coated well. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds if desired.