We don't normally do anything to celebrate Chinese New Year in our house. Partially because it falls along the same time we have 3 important family birthdays over 2 days. Makes that time a bit busy.
And partially because, until recently, the only Asian foods my children would eat were chicken balls and fortune cookies. One of them would also eat egg rolls. Which does not a healthy, filling, Chinese food feast make.
Now that they are willing to try a few more things, I had been keeping my eyes out for something that I wanted to try, that I thought they might eat, and an excuse to make it. Coincidentally, while this was happening, Cate of Sweetnicks had a Chinese New Year celebration with her family. What good timing! I liked her recipe choices and menu, so printed off all 3 recipes and then needed an excuse, since all 3 dishes would make alot of food.
Then we had company for a weekend, including one very tall, hungry, teenager.
My excuse was set!
As I said, this feast consisted of 3 dishes, plus some rice. The first, for Garlic Scallion Noodles, or Garlic Sugar Noodles, was easily doubled and came together very quickly. The hardest part was finding the egg noodles. Tasty, but simple. The only change I will make next time is to soak the noodles a bit longer and they were a bit too firm.
Now I said that Tyler Florence was a "guest" at this feast, or at least Tyler Florence Fridays was, with one dish, the General Tso's Chicken being a Tyler recipe. Which is why this feast, with Tyler's chicken, is my entry for this week's TFF.
This recipe made alot of sauce. Alot. And the soy sauce was a touch too strong, but that could have been because I ran out of my usual sauce part way through and ended up using a different, stronger, brand part way through. There was still too much sauce for the chicken, even with spooning it over rice, so when I make this again, I will increase the chicken in the sauce (and stick with one kind of soy.) Too much sauce is only a bad thing when it goes to waste, hence, add more chicken!
While everything was tasty and well received, the "star" of this dinner was the Happy Shrimp. Despite my not so good choice of an orange bowl for pink shrimp in an orangish sauce, this still looks good. Oh it was good. And it was the absolute favorite of my youngest, who kept asking for more and more and more and more. He liked the sauce on rice too, of which we again had plenty of. So again, I will just make more shrimp when make this again. (I should add, while writing this, he just came to look over my shoulder and wanted to see all the pictures. He grinned at the picture of the shrimp and was quite happy to hear I would make it again sometime.)
Since this is my TFF for the week, I'm including the recipe for Tyler's chicken. Be sure to follow the links, however, for the Garlic Scallion noodles and the Happy Shrimp. (Oh Happy Shrimp, you made my boy so happy!)
General Tso's Chicken
from Tyler Florence, as found on The Food Network
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, thinly sliced (I will increase this mount by about 1 pound next time)
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon peanut oil (I used canola)
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 slices fresh ginger, smashed (I used some frozen minced ginger)
1 handful fresh cilantro leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Peanut oil, for frying (again, canola)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup cornstarch, plus 2 tablespoons for slurry
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
4 dried red Thai chilies (need to make a trip to China town as I have never seen these! Wish I could remember what I used, I think I made a note somewhere)
4 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped (again, the frozen minced)
3 thick strips orange zest (I can't remember if I used this - heck I don't even remember it being in the recipe, must check those notes!)
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
Steamed white rice, for serving
Put the chicken into a bowl with the remaining marinade ingredients. Stir well to combine all the flavors, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Heat 2 inches of peanut oil in a wok or deep skillet to 375 degrees F. Mix the egg, cornstarch, water, and sesame oil in a large bowl until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Add the marinated chicken and coat it well with the batter. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken pieces in batches until they are browned and crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels. When you have fried all the chicken, pour off all but 2 tablespoons of oil. Over high heat, add the chilies, scallion, garlic, ginger, and orange zest. Stir-fry for 1 minute then pour in the soy sauce, chicken stock, vinegar, and honey and bring it to a boil. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water until smooth. Pour the slurry into the boiling sauce, in 2 additions, until the sauce thickens. Add the chicken pieces and cook until they are heated through, about 2 more minutes. Garnish with scallions and cilantro leaves. Serve with white rice.