This version of General Tso’s Chicken resembles the original created by Peng Chang-Kuei in Taiwan. Strictly speaking it is not a traditional Hunan dish, but the technique and flavors are inspired by the chef’s Hunan background. It is not as sweet as the standard American version, and is laced with lots of garlic.
Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add the chicken cubes and stir well. Let marinate for 20 minutes.
Combine all the sauce ingredients in another bowl and mix well.
Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over high heat until it is shimmering, about 375°F. Put the tapioca starch in a large bowl and roll the marinated chicken cubes in the starch. Be sure to coat each piece generously.
Fry the chicken cubes in the hot oil in two batches until they are golden brown, about 4 minutes. Drain the chicken cubes and set them aside on a double layer of paper towels.
Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil from the wok. Add the garlic and ginger to the wok and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Add the chiles and stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Stir the sauce mixture so the starch is blended completely and pour it into the wok. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Return the chicken to the wok and quickly toss the pieces in the sauce. Add the sesame oil and stir it into the chicken.
Garnish with the toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallion greens.
Reprinted from Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees: Essential Techniques of Authentic Chinese Cooking by Kian Lam Kho. Photographs copyright © 2015 by Jody Horton. Courtesy of Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.