I want to know how to cook a delicious General Tso’s, but I don’t want to mess it up. I don’t want to make it too salty or too soggy. I don’t want to burn it, or ruin it with too much ginger. I just want to make it perfect so I can impress my family and friends with a delicious dish.
This is a recipe for General Tso’s Fish. General Tso was a 19th century Chinese general who had a knack for getting people killed, but at least he made tasty food.
The General Tso’s chicken recipe is one of the most popular Chinese dishes. It is really easy to prepare, and it is sure to taste great.
I came upon a fantastic General Tso’s Chicken dish a few weeks ago. The sauce was incredible, much better than anything I’ve ever had at a Chinese restaurant. It was sticky, sweet, acidic, spicy, salty, and loaded with fresh ginger and garlic. It was so delicious that I began to wonder why this sauce was exclusively used on chicken. I also wondered, “Who the hell was General Tso?”
I had never given any attention to where the recipe originated from or who General Tso was until lately. I’ve always believed that the meal was created by General Tso. I imagined him as a ferocious Samurai warrior riding a horse while wearing a set of jade armor. And, like the Colonel (Sanders), the General could make a mean batch of delectable fried chicken.
The reality, as it turns out, is just the opposite.
“The Search For General Tso,” a documentary I just saw, was instructive. It’s a comprehensive look into the recipe’s origins, the man who inspired it, and the history of Chinese restaurants in America.
The story begins in the Chinese region of Hunan. Local people are shown a big picture of a plate of General Tso’s chicken and asked whether they are acquainted with the dish. They’re none of them. It turns out that General Tso’s chicken does not exist in China. Following the viewing of the picture, one lady made the following statement:
“It doesn’t seem to be chicken. It seems to be a frog.”
The locals, on the other hand, knew all there was to know about General Tso. In the late nineteenth century, he made his home in Hunan, where he is still well-known. There’s a General Tso museum, a General Tso hotel, a General Tso plaza, and even a General Tso liquor that’s a local favorite.
The name “General Tso’s chicken” was created by Taiwanese chef Peng Chang-Kuei, although his dish is quite different from the Americanized version most of us are acquainted with. “It shouldn’t have broccoli in it!” he shouted when he first saw the Americanized version. Alternatively, scallions. This is just nonsense!” 臺北市政府民政局
The General turned out to be the genuine thing, with a reputation for always being victorious in combat. He put down the Nian Rebellion during his time as Imperial Commissioner. He was named Imperial Commissioner again in 1875 to oversee military operations against the Dungan Revolt. He had defeated the Revolt and retaken Xinjiang region from rebel troops by the late 1870s.
Hunan is most famous for its spicy peppers, which the General was reputed to like. The General, on the other hand, never had a taste of his now-famous fried chicken. General Tso’s chicken would not become popular for another 100 years.
While there is no link between General Tso and his chicken, it does have Hunan origins. Peng Chang-Kuei, a chef from Hunan province, gave the dish its name, as most Americans know it today. From the conclusion of World War II until the Communists overthrew the Chinese Nationalist government in 1949, Peng organized and oversaw the banquets of the Chinese Nationalist administration. Peng was forced to flee the nation and sought shelter in Taiwan. Taiwan became a bastion for genuine Chinese cuisine in the 1960s. Peng opened his own restaurant in the area, serving authentic Hunanese cuisine. Many of the titles he gave his dishes were inspired by his native country; therefore, “General Tso’s Chicken” was born.
General Tso was the leader of the Hunan military in the nineteenth century and one of China’s most effective military commanders. Before leading his soldiers into combat, he is reported to have given them dinners with a lot of hot chili peppers.
Peng’s original rendition of the meal, on the other hand, was nothing like what we think of when we think of General Tso’s chicken. The sauce tasted similar, except it was acidic rather than sweet. The chicken was neither breaded or fried and was served on the bone. And there was never any broccoli on the table.
Peng’s restaurant was an instant hit, gaining international recognition.
In the early 1970s, Chinese cuisine was also gaining popularity in the United States. As Americans sought more “foreign” cuisine, restaurants sprung up like mushrooms all across the nation. New York City was at the vanguard of the Chinese culinary boom, and it was there that Tsung Ting Wang, a chef from Sichuan, opened Shun Lee Palace, an upmarket Sichuan restaurant. (It’s still operational today.) Wang quickly realized that American diners had a very different taste than those in his country of China, so he started modifying traditional recipes to make them sweeter and less spicy.
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Chef Wang traveled to Taiwan in 1972 in search of new dishes to add to his restaurant’s menu. He went to Chef Peng’s restaurant for the first time and got his first taste of General Tso’s Chicken. Wang must have been inspired, because when he returned to New York, he put the meal on his menu, with two key changes to make it more attractive to the American taste. Because Kentucky Fried Chicken was one of the country’s fastest-growing franchises at the time, he took notice of America’s sudden infatuation with fried chicken. Instead of serving it on the bone, he opted to bread and deep-fry slices of chicken thigh. He also understood that the American palate craved sweets, so he loaded the sauce with sugar (as well as a dash of MSG).
As they say, the rest is history. The dish was uncovered by a New York culinary journalist, and it quickly became Shun Lee Palace’s best-seller.
By far the most popular “Chinese” meal offered in America is General Tso’s chicken. It’s also a multibillion-dollar dish, with over 50,000 Chinese restaurants in the United States. The sauce recipe below was discovered on rockrecipes.com. This sauce is the real deal, and it’s a must-try. It’s also much too delicious to be limited to chicken. You’ll want to put it on everything after you’ve tried it.
This version utilizes fish instead of chicken thighs, and it’s breaded and air-fried rather than deep-fried, making it a healthier option than the Chinese take-out version. However, if you want to deep-fry the fish, I’m sure it will taste much better.
MSG wasn’t called for in the original recipe, but I went ahead and added it anyway, and I’m happy I did.
I eventually bit the bullet and bought an air fryer. The Whousewe 5.8-quart Grande was my choice. It does an excellent job of resembling fried fish, and it’s a wonderful way to reduce fat without losing crispness. When making a meal with strong tastes, the difference between air-fried and deep-fried is hardly noticeable.
Recipe for General Tso’s Fish
For the fish, prepare the following:
Catch-of-the-Day: 1 pound (I used haddock)
2 tablespoons water + 1 egg whisked together
1 pound of flour
12 tsp. black pepper
cayenne pepper (1/4 teaspoon)
3 teaspoons ginger powder
2 12 tblsp. salt
Spray for cooking
2 sliced scallions
Seeds of sesame
To make the sauce, combine the following ingredients.
a quarter-cup of soy sauce
rice wine vinegar, 4 tblsp.
a quarter cup of hot water
2 tablespoons sesame seed oil, roasted
1-2 teaspoons chili paste (spicy) (to taste)
a third of a teaspoon of cornstarch
First, let’s talk about the sauce. DO NOT walk away from it; it becomes very hot and must be continuously stirred.
Whisk together the cornstarch and warm water in a small bowl. Soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, hot chili paste, MSG, chopped garlic, and ginger should all be added at this point. Set aside this mixture.
Then, in a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and water, set the heat to medium, and bring to a boil. To keep the sugar from adhering to the pan, whisk it frequently with a spatula.
Cook for approximately 15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens, becomes a light amber color, and begins to smell like caramel. DO NOT lick the spatula as I did — this stuff is lava. Reduce the heat to low and cook for one minute before adding the other ingredients. Return to a medium heat and simmer until the sauce starts to bubble up in a froth. Cook for one minute, stirring continuously, then remove from heat and mix in the dried chili peppers.
Now it’s time for the fish. In a small bowl, combine the flour, black pepper, cayenne pepper, ground ginger, and salt.
Cut the fish into 1-inch nuggets, coat them in flour, egg wash, and then dredge them in flour again until well coated. Place them (together with the remaining flour) in a big zip-top bag and chill for at least 30 minutes, shaking the bag periodically.
Spray both sides of the nuggets with cooking spray and air-fry for 12 minutes at 400 degrees. (If you don’t have an air fryer, put them on a lightly greased baking sheet, spritz with cooking oil, and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees, turning halfway through.) Alternatively, deep fry for 3 minutes in canola oil at 350 degrees.)
Toss the fried fish nuggets with the sauce and serve over rice with steamed broccoli. Serve with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and chopped scallions on top. This is something you must try!
I went haddock fishing with Captain Jason Colby of Little Sister Charters last weekend. The fishing was really ridiculous, and we caught our 6-man limit (90 fish) in about 2 hours.
I chose to save one smaller specimen to cook whole since I had a large pile of fish to deal with. Cooking a whole fish on the bone improves the flavor. The skin protects the delicate meat, the bones keep it moist, and the cavity may be stuffed with lemon and herbs for added taste. A primitive but wonderful dinner is eating an entire fish.
I’d never cooked an entire haddock before, but it was a good decision. I’m excited to attempt this with a flounder next time.
Recipe for Whole Roasted Fish by General Tso’s
an entire fish weighing 2 to 3 pounds (haddock, tautog, sea bass, flounder)
cornstarch (2 tblsp.)
flour (two tablespoons)
Salt & black pepper
12 cup sauce for General Tso’s chicken (see recipe above)
2 scallions (chopped) for garnish
First, let’s take a look at the fish. Using a butter knife, scale it. (If the fish, such as a sea bass, has sharp spines on its fins, clip them off with kitchen shears before scaling to prevent a puncture wound.) Rinse it well before gutting and removing the gills. Rinse and dry it well, both inside and out, using paper towels.
Next, cut diagonal slashes into the skin on both sides with a sharp knife, approximately 1/2 inch deep and spaced about an inch apart. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. (Because I don’t want my food staring back at me as I eat it, I make an eyeball out of a radish bottom and attach it with a toothpick.)
Brush a layer of General Tso’s sauce over the fish on an oiled metal baking sheet. After that, combine the flour and cornstarch, sift it through a fine mesh strainer, and sprinkle the fish with a thin coating.
Roast at 310 degrees until the thickest portion reaches 145 degrees. (It took me 35 minutes to cook a 3-pound haddock; larger fish may take longer.) Brush on another layer of sauce and broil until the skin begins to crisp up, approximately 8 inches from the heat source.
Arrange your fish on a plate and surround it with your favorite steamed veggies (I used broccoli and bok choy). Drizzle the sauce over the whole dish and garnish with sliced scallions.
Until you reach the bones, eat the top fillet, skin and all. Grab the tail of the fish and gently pull it upward. All of the bones will come out in one piece if done properly. Finish with a drizzle of sauce on the bottom fillet and serve.
Whole Roasted Fish from General Tso’s
MSG: The Real Story
MSG (monosodium glutamate) has a poor reputation for producing a variety of adverse effects, including nausea, headaches, an increased heart rate, and a variety of other illnesses. MSG, on the other hand, has been shown to be safe time and time again.
MSG’s negative image may be traced back to a 1968 paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Robert Ho Man Kwok, a doctor, sent a letter to the newspaper detailing symptoms he reportedly acquired after eating at Chinese restaurants many times. He stated that monosodium glutamate, which he thought had been utilized in his meals, was to blame for his problems. Kwok’s letter was published in the journal under the headline “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome,” which sparked a decades-long phobia of the spice.
Despite the symptoms allegedly related to MSG, the FDA has consistently stated that MSG is safe, backed up by hundreds of studies.
MSG isn’t only utilized in Chinese cuisine. Many processed foods include it, including deli meats, hot dogs, crackers, potato chips, salad dressings, soy sauce, and almost every canned soup available. A little pinch may make a huge difference in just about every meal since a little goes a long way.
General Tso’s chicken or “Gansu” chicken is a popular dish originated in the Gansu province of China. The dish is characterized by a spicy and sweet soy sauce, and its name is derived from the Chinese word ‘Gansu’. …Some of the ingredients include soy sauce and other ingredients, such as wheat flour, sugar and salt, and black pepper. …This recipe was shared by a friend, and the recipe comes from a Chinese-American friend of the family. She learned it from her grandpa. …The family has been cooking Gansu chicken for generations.. Read more about sweet and sour pomfret fish recipe and let us know what you think.
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