Welcome back to the recipe blog posts! It’s been over two years since I did a proper recipe post that wasn’t an April Fools joke written because I felt bad I hadn’t posted in a while. During the time I was gone from the #RecipeCommunity, I received tons of comments like those below1One of the following is not true..
The fuck are you doing writing books instead of giving us more delicious recipes? We want to eat, not read! – Jan G. from Longandcompensatingforsomething Island, NY
A podcast? What is this shit? I can’t eat with my ears! – Jan O. from [location redacted because it was Texas]
Come on, man. It’s been two years since you’ve given us a recipe. What, are you off making dirty games or something? If I want to know about creampies, I’d read Taste of Home! – Jan E. from Philadelphia, IN
I get it. You all want to hear a carefully curated, possibly fictional version of my life story that I weave in and out of a recipe post. No one wants a browser extension that removes the fluff out of a post and leaves you with just the recipe. How would anyone know that my Christmas cookies are good if I don’t tell you about the nine times I read the Bible cover to cover because my mom required us to do it yearly or get hit with a belt2I wish this were a joke. Though to be fair, I guess sometimes it was a wet wooden spoon instead of a belt.? If there isn’t a heartbreaking, yet heartwarming tale about sitting on my late grandfather’s lap while he smoked a pipe directly into my face while talking about how much he hated minorities and “the ethnics”, could you even take my cinnamon roll preparation credentials seriously? If I’m not posting picture after picture of edgy pictures of Minions, internet memes that hate Presidents while forgetting that the last one literally tried to stage a coup and murder people, or American flags draped around Jesus, can you truly be sure my taffy will make you laughy?
I’m not saying I’ve blocked or unfollowed a lot of people in the last two years. But I’m also not not saying that.
Anyway. What are we making today? For the answer, let’s go to another one of my lovely commenters.
Hi there. Long time commenter, first time reader. I’d love to know what your favorite thing to eat for Christmas. I know a lot of places are closed on Christmas, so people have to make things for themselves. What do you make for you?
– Jan W. from Holeindaw, AL
Jan, thank you very much for your kind words and just generally not being a massive asshat. Like most Christmas celebrating Americans, my preferred American dinner for this holiday which we have aggressively Americanized3As I’ve aged, there aren’t many argument hills about trivial things I’d be willing to die on anymore. The fact that Christmas is now more of a secular holiday than a religious one — especially in the US — is one of those hills. is Chinese food. My personal favorite is the very American and not at all actually Chinese food, General Tso’s chicken.
The true source of General Tso’s chicken isn’t China…we think. It might have been invented in Taiwan. It might have been invented in New York. It might actually be a variation on a Chinese dish from the province of Hunan. I’d say the world may never know, but there was a documentary made about this that you should watch if you’ve got time to kill. But not until after you click on the ads on my blog to get me ad revenue, dammit4I will also accept you clicking the links for my podcast or book at the top of the post and listen/buying, respectively. I’m not picky..
I know why you’re here though. You want the recipe. We’re doing this in four parts: the chicken, the breading, the sauce, and the rice.
The average American eats approximately 89 pounds of chicken each year, most of that with their mouths. This means that if you fuck up the chicken, an American WILL know. Maybe. I’m just saying it’s not like we have the greatest track record about eating questionable things. For every Double Down we’ve invented, we’ve also created Jimmy John’s. I’ll leave it to you to determine which of those is the bad one.
It’s Jimmy John’s. Why is there mayo on EVERYTHING you make? Also…did you know that if you search worst American foods on Bing, your top result is Skyline Chili but if you make that same search on Google, you’re shown grits? Yet another reason Bing is superior.
For the chicken, you’ll need the following ingredients.
- 2 egg whites
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine
- 3 tablespoons vodka, preferably something expensive so this chicken is treated with honor, you cheap bastard
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 tablespoons cornstartch
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken
Three things to call out here before we get into the instructions.
- If you don’t have access to Chinese cooking wine and you can’t go to the store because they’re all closed, feel free to substitute whatever wine you’re drinking. If you drink enough of it, you won’t notice the difference.
- You think about cornstarch so little that you didn’t even notice it was misspelled in the ingredients section.
- People have strong opinions about what kind of chicken to use in your Chinese chicken. I recommend white meat. Not only is it tastier, as the Barenaked Ladies once said, if you have the chicken from China, you’ll have a drumstick and your brain starts sticking.
First, take those egg whites and beat them like Ohio State in a bowl game. Add your soy sauce, wine, and vodka, then divide the mixture into two equal portions. Set one aside. We’ll call this the reserve portion. You’ll want to do this before drinking any vodka yourself because math is hard when you’re seeing double. In one of the portions, add the baking soda and cornstarch, then mix together. Cut your chicken into 1-inch cubes, or your best approximation thereof, and drop them in the mix. Stir together until the chicken is covered, then let marinate for 20-30 minutes.
While that’s marinating, you should start working on the breading. Because bread.
The act of breading food dates back to the ancient Mesopotamian civilizations where people first realized that covering meat in deep-fried bread is fucking delicious. To make your breading, hunt and gather the following ingredients.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- The reserved marinade
In a shallow baking dish, mix the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt together until combined. You won’t be able to tell when it’s fully homogenized because all of the ingredients are the same color, so just pretend you do so as not to let on your culinary inferiority to your guests. Pour the reserve marinade into the off-white mixture. Combine everything with your hands. In a pinch, a raccoon can do this for you, as they’re very good about washing their hands.
Now seems like a good to start breading that chicken, right? WRONG! That’s why I’m writing this recipe and you’re not, Jan.
That was mean.
Let’s make the sauce.
Contrary to popular belief, you do not always have to scroll for eternity or use Google and/or TinEye’s reverse image search function to find the sauce. It is helpful. Often times you’ll find a spicier sauce that way. But you can’t — or at least shouldn’t — put that over chicken. Trust me. My local Chinese restaurant printed out a crapload of menus with their pom pom chicken mislabeled as porn porn chicken. There was a whole outcry about it and frankly I don’t need to listen to random middle-aged white suburbanites lecture me about how the adult entertainment industry is going to make you go blind.
On a similar note, people have strong opinions about how spicy the sauce for General Tso’s chicken should be. I’m of the opinion that if my food is going to be spicy, I want it to punch me in the face. Not everyone feels that way. Adjust the ingredient list below accordingly if you’re so inclined.
- 4 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons chicken stock (laughing stock is also acceptable)
- 1/4 cup of sugar (can be scaled up a little if you want a sweeter sauce)
- 1 teaspoon roasted sesame seed oil
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch…fuck. I’ve used my cornstarch twice in two years. You need it three times for this recipe alone. What the actual hell?
- 6 scallions
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 inch piece of ginger, though it’ll tell you it’s at least 4 inches
- 6-18 arbol chiles. I skew on the high side here.
Mix your soy sauce, cooking wine, rice wine vinegar, chicken stock, sugar, sesame seed oil, and cornstarch in a large bowl until smooth.
Grate your ginger and garlic and garlic into a pan with the heat off. Slice the scallions, separating the white and green parts. Dump the white parts into the pan, along with about half of the greens, reserving the rest of the green for garnish. Turn on the pan to medium high heat and saute for about a minute. Add your chiles and saute for another minute. Add in the liquid sauce and cook until thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
At this point, we have our sauce ready. We have our chicken prepped. Our breading is waiting. Can we fry the chicken now?
No. You’ve got some rice to make.
Listen. I’m going to level with you here. I suck at making rice the hard way (read: in a pan). So here’s what you’re going to do. Buy a rice cooker. Right now. Take that rice cooker and make the largest batch of rice possible in said rice cooker according to the provided instructions. I’m a big fan of basmati rice, but you can really get away with whatever. The rice is intended to be a pairing in the background of this dish, not the star of it.
That said, you’re going to want a lot of rice. For those of you saying “no I’m not”, yes you are.
Alright. You made it. It’s finally chicken time.
Chicken 2: Cluckyo Drift
To make the chicken, you’re going to need a quart of vegetable oil. I don’t make the rules. I just create them in my head then selectively enforce them. Pour that in a big pan and heat it to 375 degrees Fahrenheit or some other number I’m too American to google5190 C. Roughly. for the rest of the world.
While that oil is heating, you can finally coat the chicken in the breading mixture. Once the oil comes to temperature, carefully add pieces of chicken to the oil, taking care not to crowd the pan. Cook each batch of chicken for about 4 minutes. Let the chicken drain as other pieces are cooked. Once all your chicken is fried, heat your pan of sauce back up on low. Put the chicken in and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the chicken is coated and the sauce is warmed.
Put a fuckload of rice on a plate. Put some chicken with it. Garnish with scallions. Serve with ginger ale.
As always, the actual recipes that are parodied in this post can be found by clicking on the links below. No slight to the recipes I’ve linked — they seem like quality food how-tos. They just served as a base for me to be comically stupid.