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Me and Alan, my sous chef!

What does a nice Jewish girl do on Christmas Eve when eight goyim* come for dinner?  Order Chinese food, of course!  But last Christmas, I decided to throw caution to the wind and make Chinese food rather than call for take-out.  And I didn’t want to be fancy… I wanted to serve the staples of Chinese-American restaurants:  hot and sour soup, shrimp fried rice, beef and broccoli, and my favorite, General Tso’s chicken.  Boston chef Ming Tsai’s website (Ming.com) helped me with most of the recipes, but then I found a lighter version of General Tso’s chicken that’s pan-fried instead of deep-fried.  Hit of the night, ho ho ho!

*non-Jews : )

Pan-Fried General Tso’s Chicken
from Food & Wine

  • 1  1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 large egg white
  • ¼ cup + 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • ¼ cup + 3 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. Chinese chile-garlic sauce
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil, plus more for frying
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 lg. garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Steamed broccoli and white rice, for serving

1. In a medium bowl, combine the sesame oil with the egg white, 1 tbsp. soy sauce, and ¼ cup + 2 tbsp. cornstarch.  Add the chicken, stirring to coat.  Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the chicken broth with the chile-garlic sauce, sugar, and the remaining ¼ cup soy sauce and remaining tbsp. cornstarch.

3. In a large saucepan, heat the oil, add the ginger and garlic, and cook over high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the broth mixture to the pan until thickened and glossy, about 3 minutes.  Keep warm.

4. In a large, deep skillet, heat ½” oil until shimmering.  Add the chicken a few pieces at a time, and fry over high heat, turning a few times until very browned and crisp, about 4 minutes.  Drain the chicken on paper towels and add to the sauce, along with the scallions.  Cook briefly, until coated.  Serve immediately with steamed rice and broccoli.

  • Serves 4