General Tso's Pheasant
I of course use pheasant here, but chicken is the traditional meat for this recipe. If you do use chicken, use thigh meat instead of breast meat; it tastes better. There are a few unusual ingredients in an authentic General Tso's that you will want on hand, notably the black vinegar and the tien tsin chiles. Both are readily available in larger supermarkets or in Asian markets. That said, if you live in an area without large supermarkets or Asians, you can use malt vinegar and any dried chile.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Servings: 4 people
- 4 tablespoons potato starch or corn starch
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 3 cups peanut or vegetable oil for frying
- 1/2 cup pheasant or chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar, or more if you want it sweet
- 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar or malt vinegar
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste mixed with 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon potato or corn starch
- 1 pound pheasant breast meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 tablespoons peanut oil, lard or vegetable oil
- 8 dried hot chiles, torn (use less if you don't want it spicy)
- A 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
- 6 green onions, chopped
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
In a small bowl, mix egg yolks, soy and potato starch together with the pheasant pieces. Set aside at room temperature while you chop everything else. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
Pour the peanut oil into a wok or large, heavy pot and heat it to about 350°F. If you don't have a thermometer, you can test by putting a little flour or the end of a wooden chopstick into the oil: If it sizzles immediately, the oil is hot enough. Get a chopstick or something similar ready -- you will need this to quickly separate the pieces of pheasant when they hit the hot oil. Lay out a baking sheet with a paper towel on it for the finished pheasant pieces.
When the oil is ready, add about 1/3 of the pheasant pieces and immediately use the chopstick to separate them. Fry until they are golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the pheasant from the hot oil with a slotted spoon and set on the baking sheet. Repeat twice more with the remaining pheasant pieces, frying 1/3 at a time. Doing it this way keeps the oil nice and hot.
Turn off the heat and let the oil cool a bit. Pour it into a heatproof container (I use a large Pyrex measuring cup) and deal with it later. Wipe out the inside of the wok if using. If you are not using a wok, get out a large saute pan.
Heat the 3 tablespoons of peanut oil in the wok over high heat for 1 minute. Add the dried chiles and cook until they almost turn black, another minute or two. Add the ginger and stir fry 30 seconds, then add the garlic and stir fry another 30 seconds.
Add all the pheasant pieces and the green onions. Stir the sauce in the bowl and add that, making sure you get all the potato starch, which will have sunk to the bottom. Stir fry 1 minute. Turn off the heat and mix in the sesame oil. Serve at once with steamed rice.