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General Tso's Chicken


Spicy, crunchy, chili-sauce glazed chicken fingers with tender crisp broccoli and sweetly perfumed jasmine rice is my idea of a Sunday delight.

Over the past 2 weeks, I have had the honor of hosting 49 students of my voice studio from ages 8 to 60, singing in 3 recitals for a total of 5 hours of music. Each of those wonderful singers worked incredibly hard with me to perform online via Zoom; they practiced with their backing tracks, perfected lighting, camera angles and mic balance, and achieved beautiful and moving performances. I am over the moon proud.

But I also want a treat. I want to lose myself in the kitchen for a moment, sipping a glass of wine, making a floury mess, and fry up some gloriously and sweetly spiced chicken. Nothing smells better than jasmine rice cooking in my Zojirushi (my single best kitchen appliance purchase ever- and since I own every single kitchen appliance ever, that is an achievement!), and I think I could subsist on a steady diet of broccoli everyday. My ideal meal after an intensely labor intensive but wonderfully rewarding 2 weeks.

Bravi tutti!

Ingredients:
1/2 ounce tamari
1/3 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 head broccoli, chopped into florets
1 cup jasmine rice
Salt and pepper, to taste
oil for frying
1/4 cup flour, plus extra for dusting
1 3/4 cup water, divided

Method:
Cook the rice. I use my Zojirushi rice cooker, which I love more than life. I have never had better rice; it is idiot proof and perfect. If a rice cooker is not for you, combine the rice, 1 1/2 cups water and a pinch of salt in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 15-20 minutes until the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked. Fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, add a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the broccoli, a pinch of salt and pepper, and saute until the broccoli is tender crisp and brown in areas. Remove to a plate.

Slice the chicken breast into 1 inch strips. Dredge chicken in flour in a shallow bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup flour in a bowl into a thick paste. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the batter and toss to coat.

Heat 1/4 inch of oil in the skillet over medium high heat until shimmering. Fry the chicken in batches, cooking for 3 minutes a side until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to dry.

In a large bowl, combine the Thai sweet chili sauce and tamari. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Serve with broccoli, rice and drizzle over the extra sauce. Enjoy!

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