We started delving into the intricate and exotic cuisines of Asia this week in culinary school. The first day was India and Thailand. The second was China. There wasn’t enough time! I would happily spend a month learning each. I was so excited to get into the kitchen and see all of the varied ingredients we were going to use including kefir lime leaves, lemongrass, spices to make masalas, coconut milk, curry leaves, etc. I felt these lessons would open a whole new set of flavor profiles in my skill box and I couldn’t wait to use them!
I was especially excited to learn how to make Chinese food. I used to love eating it but, after the kids were diagnosed with peanut, nut and sesame allergies, I ate Chinese food less often. It became more of a treat for me on date nights with my husband or dinner with friends. Then, after I got diagnosed with celiac disease, it was pretty much off-limits due to the fact that soy sauce, a key ingredient in Chinese cooking, has wheat.
General Tso’s Chicken is a quintessential sweet and spicy North American Chinese restaurant dish. There is actually nothing really Chinese about it in that it is unknown in China and was created for us here in the United States. However, it’s a dish I remember eating since my parents used to take us out on our special family dinners at our favorite Chinese restaurant when I was growing up. I was happy to learn how to make it in school and then adapt it to be gluten-free at home! This one was tricky because a main ingredient in the original is Hoisin, a delicious Asian barbecue sauce which has wheat in it. I had to try to recreate the flavors and capture the richness of the Hoisin which adds depth and sweetness to the dish. My husband loved it and there is a bonus to the homemade version…it is not nearly as greasy as the one you may be used to!
- 3 boneless chicken breasts, cut in 1" cubes
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper to taste
- cornstarch, as needed for dredging
- canola oil, for frying
- 5 scallions, sliced ½" pieces from bottom up to about 1-2" from the top
- 2 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
- 1 head of broccoli florets, steamed or blanched in hot salted water, shocked in ice water and reserved
- 2 T gluten-free soy sauce (tamari)
- 1½ T sherry or Shoaxing wine
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 T ginger, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp molasses (or honey)
- 1 tsp almond butter (you can sub peanut or sunbutter)
- ¼-1/2 tsp crushed red chili peppers (adjust more or less for heat)
- Prep a large frying pot with canola oil (about ⅓ up) and heat to approximately 350 degrees
- Whisk egg in a bowl and add chicken, season with salt and pepper and refrigerate for about 15-20 minutes
- In the meantime, steam or blanch broccoli florets and prepare sauce
- Combine soy sauce, wine, vinegar, ginger, minced garlic, sugar, molasses, almond butter and crushed red chili peppers in a small bowl and whisk together
- Prep a bowl with cornstarch and dip chicken in to coat, shaking off any excess
- Place coated chicken in frying oil gently, in batches
- Cook, tossing frequently, until very lightly golden and just cooked through (about 5-7 minutes
- Remove chicken to a napkin-lined pan to drain excess oil
- Heat a large wok on high heat
- Add about 2-3 Tablespoons of canola oil and swirl to coat the sides of the wok
- Add scallions, smashed garlic cloves and toss in the wok until just starting to brown
- Add chicken, broccoli and sauce. Toss continuously until sauce starts to bubble, and reduce and chicken slightly caramelizes (you can add a bit of water if it reduces too fast)
- Plate and serve immediately. Enjoy!
This is Day 2 of being gluten free for me. It’s encouraging to find recipes and blogs like this. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you for reaching out and letting me know! Best of luck to you!
This could not poblissy have been more helpful!
I never seem to have all the ingredients I need for the sauce, so I improvise, and it has always been yummy!
Is there away you can think of that I could make this without the egg? Should I just skip that step or use and egg substitute? We’ve gone non- wheat, egg or milk recently and it’s killing me trying to find recipes for the foods we love.
Yes. You can definitely soak the chicken in rice milk before dredging in cornstarch. It should still be great and is a technique I use a lot for egg-free breaded dishes. I also sometimes marinate the meat in some vinegar, salt and garlic to season and moisten it before dredging into a coating and frying it.