Sunday, March 24, 2013

General Tsao’s Vegetables

I learned how to make most Chinese take-out sauces from my Asian purveyor Kathy.  Whenever I wanted to make any Asian dish, she always had insight on how it should be done.  What’s more, one of my cooks was Chinese and had worked previously  in Hong Kong resulting in a firm grasp of how to make many Cantonese specialties.  There are many recipes on preparing General Tsao Sauce but I will give you my version based on what I’ve learned.  In an effort to cut back on the fat  often associated with stir fry, I recommend seasoning the vegetables with a small amount of oil, salt and pepper then roasting them in the oven until they are firm to the bight or simply steaming them.  Once your sauce is complete all you have to do is toss the vegetables in the desired amount of sauce.   I needed to clear out my refrigerator so these are the vegetables I used.  You are free to use what ever vegetables you like.

General Tsao’s Sauce


1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/3 cup slices shallots
¼ chopped ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
½ sherry or Chinese rice wine
½ cup sherry vinegar
1 cup hoisin sauce
1 cup oyster sauce
¼ cup mushroom soy
½ cup orange juice
1 cup water
¼ cup brown sugar
¼  cup cornstarch slurry
2 tablespoons sambal
2 teaspoons orange zest


Heat sesame oil in a medium sauce pot; add shallots and ginger; when shallot start to brown add garlic and simmer until garlic starts to brown.
Add vinegar and wine; reduce by half
Add hoisin, oyster, soy sauce, orange juice and water
Simmer for about 15 minutes
Whisk in slurry until sauce reaches desired consistency
Simmer for 5 minutes more
Strain; stir in sambal and zest.
Store in a jar; keep in the refrigerator.  Sauce will keep for at least two weeks

This is what I had in my refrigerator
I added a little tofu seasoned with five spice.  I recommend that you make your own five spice, if you have the time. You will never use the powdered stuff once your try this. Equal part of the five spices--Szechwan pepper corns, star anise, fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon sticks--toasted and ground
Toss prepared vegetables in the desired amount of sauce 
Gently heat and serve

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