While General Tso remains famous in his home province of Hunan, it turns out the eponymous dish named after him is relatively unknown. This recipe comes from author Fuschia Dunlop, who wrote about the dish for our 150th issue.
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. chicken stock
- 7 tbsp. cornstarch
- 6 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 6 tbsp. tomato paste
- 5 tbsp. light soy sauce
- 4 1⁄2 tsp. dark soy sauce
- 2 1⁄4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
- 3 1⁄2 cups plus 9 tbsp. peanut oil
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp. minced ginger
- 2 tbsp. minced garlic
- 16 chiles de árbol
- 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- Thinly sliced scallions, to garnish
Whisk stock, 1 tbsp. cornstarch, vinegar, tomato paste, 3 tbsp. light soy sauce, 1 tbsp. dark soy sauce, and 3 tbsp. water in a bowl; set sauce aside.
Place remaining cornstarch and both soy sauces, chicken, 3 tbsp. peanut oil, and egg yolks in a bowl; toss. Pour 3 1⁄2 cups peanut oil in a 14″ flat-bottomed wok; heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 375°. Working in batches, add chicken; fry, tossing, until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towels; set aside. Discard oil; wipe wok clean.
Return wok to high heat, and add remaining peanut oil. Add ginger, garlic, and chiles; fry, stirring constantly, until fragrant and chiles begin to change color, about 30 seconds. Add reserved sauce; cook until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add chicken; fry, tossing constantly, until evenly coated with sauce, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in sesame oil. Transfer to a serving plate; top with scallions.