Pinch of Yum had a recipe for a healthier version of General Tso’s Chicken (my all-time favorite chinese take-out dish) that it got outta the new America’s Test Kitchen cookbook Comfort Food Makeovers.
I thought I had everything on hand to go ahead and make this dish.
Alas, I didn’t have any Hoisin Sauce. After speaking with my best friend Google, I attempted to make my own.
Yes, it was good.
Yes, there are no leftovers.
And YES, true to form, I made 4,370 substitutions to this entire recipe.
But still…it could’ve been BETTER if I’d had real Hoisin Sauce. And cornflakes. And Apricot Jam. And a better sauce-to-chicken ratio.
BTW – Grandma & Poppa weren’t planning on staying for dinner – but who can resist the allure of the faux-Chinese chicken?
No one in this family – from Grandparents down to Toddlers. This was enjoyed BY ALL.
Healthier General Tso’s Chicken adapted from Pinch of Yum
Dairy-FREE, 7 year old/Toddler/Grandparent approved!
Vegetable Oil Spray
1/4 cup Flour
3 large Egg Whites **I ended up needing 2 more.
5 cups Kellogg’s Corn Flakes cereal, finely crushed **I didn’t have any, so I opted for a Panko/Breadcrumb mix. GO INVEST IN THE CEREAL.
1 1/2 lb. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of all visible fat, cut into 1″ pieces **I used 4 quite thick breasts that I sliced thinly then cut into the 1″ chunks.
1 2/3 cups Water
1/3 cup low-sodium Soy Sauce
1/4 cup Apricot Jam **I used some leftover Orange Glaze. GO INVEST IN APRICOT JAM.
3 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce **I created my own (see recipe below). GO INVEST IN HOISIN SAUCE.
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
2 teaspoons Canola Oil
4 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon Grated Fresh Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes **I used 1/3 of a small dried chili as I was worried about overpowering the small children in this house.
1- Oven to 475ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, top with a wire rack and spray rack with oil spray. **I skipped the rack and baked the chicken straight on the oil-sprayed foil.
2- Spread flour in a shallow dish. Whisk egg whites until foamy in a 2d dish. Spread Cereal crumbs in a 3rd dish.
3- Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Working in batches, dredge the chicken in flour, dip in eggs, then coat with cereal, pressing gently to adhere. Lay pieces on sheet/rack.
4- Spray chicken with oil spray. Bake until chicken registers 160ºF and coating is brown and crisp, 12-15 minutes. **At 6 minutes I rotated the pans and they were PERFECT at 15 minutes.
5- Meanwhile, whisk water, soy sauce, apricot jam, hoisin, corn-starch and vinegar together in a bowl.
6- Heat oil in 12″ skillet over medium heat until shimmering. **I used my cast iron skillet. Add in garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
7- Whisk in soy sauce mixture, bring to a simmer, and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm.
8- When chicken is cooked, return sauce to simmer over medium-low heat. Add cooked chicken and toss to coat. Serve.
Homemade Hoisin Sauce by Judy on recipelink.com
4 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Black Bean Paste or Peanut Butter **YAY!! I got to use my JiangYang Fermented Black Beans!
1 Tablespoons Honey or Molasses **I used closer to 1 1/2 Tablespoons.
2 teaspoons White Wine Vinegar
1/8 teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 teaspoons Sesame Oil **I added 1 more.
20 drops Hot Sauce **I used Tabasco…maybe Sriracha woulda been a better choice.
1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
1- If you’re using the fermented black beans, rinse and drain them, then mash them well with a fork or spoon til you get a paste.
2- Combine everything in a bowl and stir, adjusting to your taste as you go. **It’s been a looooong time since I had any Hoisin sauce, so trying to remember what it tasted like was…tricky.
End Result for the Hoisin? GO INVEST IN HOISIN SAUCE.
Over dinner with Grandma and Poppa, I asked what everyone thought. After many full-mouths cheering this meal, E looked me dead in the eye and said, “I bet Nolan will really like this. I think his mommy should make this for him too.”
Batter up Mrs. Baker!