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~Hot Stuff -- Deep-Fried General Tso's Chicken Wings~

IMG_5487If you are a fan of Chinese-American cuisine and have a place in your heart for deep-fried chicken wings, welcome to this party.  This is not so much a recipe as it is a semi-homemade way to show ya'll a new crowd-pleasing twist on Buffalo-style chicken wings.  I'm not gonna lie.  All I do "for real" is deep-fry the chicken wings.  Past that I sauce them with my favorite store-bought General Tso's sauce then serve them over chicken-fried rice from my favorite Chinese restaurant.

General Tso's chicken, a Chinese-American creation of the latter 1970s, traces its roots to Pang's restaurant in New York City.  This spicy dish has a great history, and I for one am grateful to its creator, a Taiwanese Hunan-cuisine chef, Peng Chang-Kuei.  The dish also has a fun (but debunked) legend that claims the dish is named after Zuo Zongtang (1812-1885), a Qing Dynasty military leader and statesman, who lived with his wife in Xiangyin County the province of Hunan.

The secret to any General Tso's dish really is in the sauce:

6a0120a8551282970b0282e15259b8200bThe basic ingredients of General Tso's Chicken are indeed basic: dark chicken meat, shallots, rice wine vinegar, hot peppers, garlic and ginger.  The chicken pieces are breaded then deep-fried, then coated with a thick-ish slightly-sweet and spicy sauce.  The sauce, a bit more complicated, contains, water, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugar, garlic and ginger.  The dish (mostly the sauce), varies depending on the cook or chef preparing it, meaning, creative license is usually taken to place the emphasis on sweet vs. spicy and vice versa.

Over time, inventive cooks and chefs have come up with creative variations on the original -- General Tso's meatballs, General Tso's chicken wings, and, General Tso's pork ribs (to name my favorites).  The secret to General Tso's  really is in the sauce, and, luckily, there are store-bought sauces and dry seasoning mixes and that turn a laborious task into a "walk in the park".

Three components + a deep-fryer  = dinner in 16 minutes.

IMG_54428  whole, unsectioned chicken wings

freshly-ground sea salt, for seasoning wings hot out of the fryer

1/2-3/4  cup store-bought General Tso's sauce, your favorite brand, for every batch of 8 whole, unsectioned chicken wings or 16-24 sectioned wings (flats and drumettes)

store-bought chicken fried rice, for accompaniment (optional)

IMG_5445 IMG_5445 IMG_5445 IMG_5445 IMG_5445 IMG_5445 ~Step 1.  Line any type of baking pan with several layers of paper towels.  Preheat oil in deep-fryer according to manufacturer's specs to 375º. Working in batches of 2-3 unsectioned wings or 4-6 sectioned wings (it's important not to overcrowd fryer basket), one-at-a-time lift each wing up and carefully lower it into the hot oil.  Close the lid on the fryer and fry wings for exactly 16 minutes.  Remove fryer basket to transfer wings to the baking pan that has been lined with paper towels.  Immediately season wings with a liberal grinding of sea salt.  Repeat this process until desired number of wings are deep-fried.

IMG_5473 IMG_5473 IMG_5473~ Step 2.  To sauce the wings, while the wings are still warm, use a pair of tongs to transfer them to a 1-gallon food-storage bag.  For every 8 whole, deep-fried unsectioned wings or 16-24 deep-fried sectioned wings (flats and drumettes), add 1/2-3/4 cup General Tso's sauce to the bag.  Seal the bag and toss the still-warm wings around in the sauce until wings are completely enrobed in the sauce.  Using the same pair of tongs, remove the wings from the bag.  Arrange wings on a serving platter or portion onto individual plates (atop a bed of optional chicken-fried rice) and serve immediately.  

Serve atop a bed of your favorite Chinese chicken-fried rice & turn General Tso's chicken wings into a full meal: 

IMG_5518Try My General Tso's Slow-Cooker Babyback Spareribs too:

IMG_5414Hot Stuff -- Deep-Fried General Tso's Chicken Wings:  Recipe yields instructions to make and serve as many chicken wings.

Special Equipment List:  deep-fryer preheated to 375° according to manufacturer's specification for preparing chicken wings; shallow baking pan; paper towels; 1 gallon food-storage bag; tongs

6a0120a8551282970b02942fa7050a200cCook's Note:  Chicken and waffles was a childhood favorite of mine.  Fast forward to adulthood -- it still is.  I love the Southern-style crispy-fried chicken kind and, the Yankee-style PA-Deutsch tender pulled-chicken w/gravy kind.  Cluck, cluck.  In my food world there's also a third variation:  Pub-grub-style deep-fried chicken wings and waffles.  On paper, this might sound like a rather strange duo, but, in reality, a steaming hot waffle with honey butter melting atop it is the ideal foil for some hot-out-of-the-deep-fryer RedHot-sauced Buffalo-style chicken wings.  Try my ~ RedHot & Honey Butter Chicken Wings & Waffles ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2022)


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