There are a lot of things that I’ve experienced over the years that I thought would be amazing but wound up being terrible ideas, like pregaming open bars, volunteering to do favors that I can’t possibly fit into my schedule, or watching Juan Pablo be this season’s Bachelor. (Seriously, by the end of the Finale After-Show, I was ready to throw my TV out the window. Anyone with me there?)
There are also things that sounded questionable at first but surprised me with how perfectly they turned out, like Crock Pot General Tso’s Chicken. When I first thought to do it, I was pretty positive that it was going to result in disaster, but figured I’d give it a go anyway. I mean, Chinese food (American-Chinese takeout and authentic Chinese food alike) usually calls for quick cooking methods, like a fast stir fry or a dip in bubbling peanut oil. The total opposite of slow cooking.
But when I first lightly pan-fried the chicken and THEN added it to the slow cooker, where the sauce thickened and soaked into the crisp pieces, it was heavenly. I served it over microwavable steamed rice and broccoli, and the meal was simple, delicious, and enjoyed by my whole family. I’d absolutely make this again, many times over!
Did I mention, by the way, that this is a lot better for you than the take-out version? Instead of being deep fried, the chicken is lightly pan fried in only 2 tablespoons of oil total. It also contains WAY less sodium! Did I also mention that it tastes better than the take-out version? Because it does. It really, truly does. But don’t just take my word for it, try it for yourself and see! (And then tag #hostthetoast in an Instagram photo and show me how you serve yours!)
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1” pieces)
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup low sodium soy sauce
- ½ cup unsweetened pineapple juice
- ⅓ cup vinegar (white distilled or apple cider)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried ginger
- Green onions, chopped, to top
- Rice and broccoli, to serve
- Combine ¾ cups cornstarch, the salt, and the pepper in a shallow dish. Dip the chicken pieces in the cornstarch mixture to coat, shake off excess, and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken pieces. It should take less than 2 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and set aside.
- In the slow cooker, combine the sugar, soy sauce, pineapple juice, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and cayenne. Stir to mix well.
- Add the chicken to the crock pot and cook on low for 4 hours. Check 20 minutes before serving and make sure your sauce is thick enough. If not, take the remaining 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and mix it with 2 tablespoons cold water until a slurry forms. Then, gently mix a bit into the chicken and sauce, being careful not to scrape the cornstarch coating off of the chicken. If it's very thin, you'll need more, if it's not too thin, use is sparingly. It thickens significantly as it cooks, so you may not need the whole ¼ cup. Cook for another 20 minutes, and then serve over broccoli and rice. Top with chopped green onion.
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