I have a confession to make. This General Tso’s Shrimp with Broccolini recipe almost didn’t make the cut because of the “fried” shrimp. But Russ convinced me to at least give it a try—and I’m really glad I did because they were delightfully crunchy, but not at all greasy!
The directions indicate to fry each batch of seven-to-eight shrimp for three minutes, but we found no more than two minutes did the trick. And we covered the wok after adding the water to the broccolini to make sure it got tender enough. Initially the two bunches seemed like overkill for two people (the recipe serves 4), but in the end it was the proper ratio to the other ingredients, and we enjoyed leftovers for lunch the next day.
There is a certain fear that exists around cornstarch (um, hello), an assumption that it was created in a lab and is nothing short of some mysterious white powder. No need to fear—it’s a pure starch made from finely ground corn flour. And it makes fried shrimp (or chicken) 10 times better.
Coating small pieces such as shrimp that will be stir-fried in some straight-up cornstarch, gives you a crispy coating after a super short time sizzling in oil. They’re not battered (like fried chicken), but texturally they’re not far off.
General Tso's Shrimp with Broccolini
- 1 large egg white
- 3 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine, mirin or dry sherry
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch, plus more for coating (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails intact)
- 1/3 cup Thai-style sweet chili sauce
- 3 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil, plus more for deep-frying
- 2 bunches broccolini, trimmed
- 1 bunch scallions, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 cups cooked white rice, for serving
- Whisk the egg white with 1 tablespoon each rice wine, soy sauce and cornstarch in a large bowl. Add the shrimp and toss; refrigerate until ready to fry.
- Whisk the chili sauce, the remaining 2 tablespoons each rice wine and soy sauce, 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 cup water in a bowl; set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok or large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the broccolini; stir-fry until charred in spots, 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and stir-fry until crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes; transfer to a plate.
- Reduce the heat to medium; add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the scallions, garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir-fry until tender, 2 minutes. Add the chili sauce mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 1 minute. Cover and set aside.
- Heat 1 inch of oil in a deep saucepan over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 365 degrees F. Working in batches, toss the shrimp in cornstarch to coat, then fry until crisp and golden, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
- Return the wok to medium heat and reheat the sauce if needed. Add the broccolini and shrimp and cook, tossing, until warmed through, 2 minutes. (Add up to 1/2 cup water if the sauce is too thick.) Serve with the rice.
Courtesy of Food Network Magazine