The Origins of Sesame Chicken and General Tso’s Chicken
Chinese cuisine has become a staple in the American diet over the last few decades, with dishes like sesame chicken and General Tso’s chicken gaining popularity. These dishes are often found at Chinese takeout restaurants, and while they might seem similar, they actually have distinct differences in their origins and preparation.
Sesame chicken is believed to have originated in the Hunan province of China, where it was served as a sweet and savory dish made with chicken, soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar. The dish was then coated in sesame seeds and deep-fried to create a crispy texture.
General Tso’s chicken, on the other hand, was first created in Taiwan in the 1950s by a chef named Peng Chang-kuei. The dish was named after General Tso, a famous military leader from the Qing dynasty, and is made with chicken that is fried and then coated in a sweet and spicy sauce made with chili peppers, garlic, and ginger.
The Differences in Flavor and Preparation
While both dishes are made with chicken and have a sweet and savory flavor profile, there are distinct differences in their preparation and ingredients.
Sesame chicken is typically made with boneless, skinless chicken breast that is cut into bite-sized pieces and coated in a batter made from flour, cornstarch, and egg. The chicken is then deep-fried until crispy and golden brown and then tossed in a sauce made from soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil. The dish is then sprinkled with sesame seeds and served with steamed rice.
General Tso’s chicken, on the other hand, is made with boneless, skinless chicken thighs that are cut into bite-sized pieces and coated in a batter made from cornstarch and egg. The chicken is then deep-fried until crispy and then tossed in a sauce made from soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chili peppers, garlic, and ginger. The dish is then garnished with scallions and served with steamed rice.
The Nutritional Value of Sesame Chicken and General Tso’s Chicken
While both dishes are delicious, they are not the healthiest options on a Chinese takeout menu. Sesame chicken typically has around 1,200 calories and 90 grams of fat per serving, while General Tso’s chicken has around 1,300 calories and 80 grams of fat per serving.
These dishes are also high in sodium, with sesame chicken containing around 2,000 milligrams of sodium per serving and General Tso’s chicken containing around 1,800 milligrams of sodium per serving.
Tips for Making Sesame Chicken and General Tso’s Chicken at Home
If you want to try making these dishes at home, there are a few tips to keep in mind. For sesame chicken, make sure to coat the chicken in a thin layer of batter to prevent the chicken from becoming too heavy and greasy. You can also use a combination of honey and soy sauce to create a sweet and savory sauce.
For General Tso’s chicken, make sure to marinate the chicken in a mixture of soy sauce, rice wine, and cornstarch to keep the chicken tender and moist. You can also adjust the amount of chili peppers and garlic in the sauce to your taste preference.
So, which dish is better: sesame chicken or General Tso’s chicken? It really depends on your personal taste preferences. Sesame chicken has a nutty and sweet flavor, while General Tso’s chicken has a spicy and savory flavor. Both dishes are delicious, but they are not the healthiest options on a Chinese takeout menu.
Whether you prefer sesame chicken or General Tso’s chicken, it’s important to enjoy these dishes in moderation and balance them with plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet.