Archives for September 2013

Blogging what I am cooking…

I started this 36 Pans blog to document the recipes that I made into dinner as a place to organize and store my own recipe.  I have an awful time with paper organization, yet on my computer I can find anything.  Every time I went to make something I could never find the recipe from the last time I made it.  Now I like to be creative and rarely make something the same way twice, but I wanted to at least be able to if I wanted to. Sometimes I made something really well but I could never keep track of it so each time I made something that special recipe was lost forever.

So my New Years Resolution for 2013 was to blog about my recipes so I could keep them and organize them and share them with my friends and family. For a few weeks, like any good New Years Resolution, I did it diligently.  But I found it very difficult to write the recipe down, photo document the steps and the process and then to blog about it.

It is often times hard enough to put a nice balanced, healthy meal on the table each night, let alone to do it with the added steps of keep track of the recipe and taking all the pictures and the edit the pictures and then blog it.  It went from the sometimes barely manageable job of getting the groceries and prepping and cooking to completely unmanageable. I am so behind, but I have lots to catch up on.


General Tso’s Chicken

general-tso-chicken-recipe-photoI love this meal.  It has always been my favorite meal when we order Chinese or eat out.  The chicken coating is so different it can even be easily made gluten free.  I have tweaked this recipe several times and I think that I have a version worth repeating.

There are four elements to making home made General Tso’s Chicken. In order that they be ready at the same time I prep the broccoli and the rice so all I have to do is cook the rice and steam the broccoli with 30 minutes before serving time. Once I steamed the broccoli over the cooking rice to save energy.  I ended us with green rice. Now I cook them separately.



1. The Sauce

2. The Chicken Bites

3. The Broccoli

4. The Rice

Here is my recipe.  Let me know how you tweak it.


Step 1. Start by mixing the following ingredients in a sauce pan without the burner being on:

3/4 cup Hoisin Sauce

1/3 cup white vinegar

5 T soy sauce

3/4 cup water

3 T corn starch

( I place the water and corn starch in a small ball jar and premix it but I have been told you don’t have to)

Whisk everything together nicely.

Step 2. Remove about 1/4 cup  of the sauce and place it in a big zip lock baggie.  To this mixture add:

1.5 Lbs Chicken Meat cut into 2 inch or bite size pieces.  They should all be about the same size so they cook at the same rate.  I have started with chicken breasts or butcher cut chicken strips and they all work about the same so I just get the best chicken I can find.  The important thing is to get it into bite size pieces.

Place the chicken pieces in the baggie with the sauce and get all the chicken coated.  Squeeze the air out of the bag and roll it up, zip it up and place it in the fridge for an hour to marinate.

Step 3. While the chicken is marinating, add to the sauce:

5-7 T honey (they use Corn Syrup in store sauces) most recipes use sugar, I love it with honey

1/4 cup Apricot or Peach Jam – I love making jam so I use whatever I have open

4-6 garlic cloves, minced

3 T diced fresh ginger

3 t Ginger Powder

2 t granulated garlic

2 t Red Pepper Flakes

2 T Toasted Seasame Oil

3 t Chinese Chili Oil

Whisk all of these things in individually and simmer over low heat stirring (whisking) often.  It will thicken nicely in 10 – 20 minutes.  I keep mine going for 30-60 minutes sometimes – just over the lowest of heat.

Step 4. Prep your hot vegetable oil for frying your chicken bites.  While it is getting hot, get your chicken ready.

Step 5. Remove the chicken from the bag and let the excess marinade drain off.  You will now need two small bowls and a plate to prep your chicken bites.

BOWL 1: Egg Whites to bath the chicken pieces in.  I use the egg white of three eggs.

BOWL 2:     1 1/2 Cups Cornstarch and 1/4 cup flour (unless you are making gluten free) and 1 t baking soda

Dip each chicken piece into the egg wash then into the cornstarch then place it on the plate.  Once you have all the pieces coated then

Step 6. Fry them in the hot oil in small batches for 5 minutes or so until they are fully cooked.

Step 7. Add the cooked pieces into the sauce.

Step 8. Place the cooked rice on a platter, surround the rice with the broccoli and then place the chicken over the rice and garnish with scallions.