A good general Gao's chicken must have a sweet, vinegary tang and heat from the dried peppers used in the dish. Everything in the right amount, of course. It is different from your regular sweet and sour as no ketchup or tomato paste/puree is used in the dish, although there are some variations which called for it.
No one can pinpoint exactly where the dish originated from but in this case, who really cares. As long as the dish continues on to serve millions of its fans. Long live the General!
General Gao's Chicken
2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
1/2 onion, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1/2 inch ginger, chopped fine
12 dried hot peppers, leave whole or cut into small sections to increase spiciness
1/2 cup cornstarch for dredging
Oil for frying
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry
2 Tbsp cornstarch
A few dashes of white pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
1 egg white, beaten (optional)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1 Tbsp Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup sugar, more if you like it sweeter
2 Tbsp cornstarch plus 3 Tbsp cold water
Dredge chicken chunks in cornstarch. Dust away excess.
Step 3: Fry chicken chunks till cooked and golden brown in color. Drained on a dish lined with paper towel.
Step 4: In a clean wok, heat 1 Tbsp of oil over medium high heat. Saute onion and hot peppers till onion has softened slightly. Add in ginger and garlic. Continue to stir for a minute.
Step 5: Add in the sauce mix. Let it come to a boil. As soon as sauce mix has come to a boil, reduce heat to low and add in the cornstarch slurry to thicken sauce. Stir to combine. Turn heat up to medium. Let sauce comes up to a simmer. Once sauce is thick enough, toss chicken chunks into sauce mix to coat.