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Warr Shu Gai or Almond Boneless Chicken, like chop suey, is a Chinese-inspired American dish. So far as I have been able to determine, it originated in Detroit. It was a favorite dish of my childhood there. Every Cantonese restaurant in the area serves it, but I've never been able to find it outside of Michigan. Descriptions of it to Chinese restaurant personnel elsewhere have been met with blank stares.
- 2 whole skinless chicken breasts, boned and cut in half
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons water
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 1⁄2 cups Chopped mushrooms (optional)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 3 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 egg, Beaten
- 1 tablespoon water
- vegetable oil, for frying
- Prepare sauce: In a small saucepan, stir together cornstarch and water until smooth.
- Gradually stir in chicken broth, mushrooms (if desired), butter, soy sauce and bouillon granules.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Let boil 1 minute. Keep warm.
- Prepare batter: Beat together cornstarch, flour, baking powder, egg and water until smooth.
- Coat each piece of chicken with batter.
- Pour vegetable oil into a large skillet or wok to the depth of 1/2 inch; heat to 375 degrees.
- Cook coated chicken pieces in oil, turning once, until golden -- 5 to 7 minutes.
- Drain on pa per towels.
- Cut chicken diagonally into strips.
- Reassemble strips in chicken breast shapes and place on a bed of shredded lettuce. Sprinkle with almonds and green onion.
- Spoon sauce over chicken and serve immediately.
- Makes four to six servings.
- It's been some time since I last made this, but I recall that the batter seemed not quite the same, but the rest is authentic. This can also be made with duck, in which case it becomes Warr Shu Opp.
This is definitely not something you can get in south Florida where I now live. I used to order this every week at my local Chinese restaurant, and still do whenever I visit Michigan.
This recipe is good. The sauce is right on but the batter is wrong. First of all, forget the baking powder. Instead of using water, try clubsoda. It will give your chicken a crispier tempura like texture.Make sure the batter is on the thin side so that it dredges off easily. Use peanut oil or don't make this dish! Regular veg or corn oil cannot get hot enough to really crisp the chicken without setting off smoke alarms!
Also, the sauce does require 1/4 teaspoon of real Almond Extract to give it the authentic restaurant flavor we Michiganders know and love. Forget the mushrooms. They just water down the gravy. Use Iceberg Lettuce. It is the coldest, crunchiest to offset the warmth of the chicken and gravy.
I know this works because I experimented with this recipe until it was just like my favorite Chinese haunts in suburban Detroit.
Also, change out the chicken for duck and make it Wor Su Opp!
When I was a boy in Detroit I worked as a bus boy in Wing Hong's Chinese American Restaurant. I'm sure Wingy is either very old or dead by this time but the cries of "War Sho GAI" still ring in my ears (along with our american response "wash your OWN guy!!") My first attempt at this receipe was ok but not completely successful, never the less the taste was what I remembered and that earns it a five. Be sure to use THIN cuts of boneless chicken so it fries up crisp. Too thick a piece makes the coating soggy and therefore less edible. This sauce will work best with rendered chicken fat. I save what renders out when I broil chicken for other receipes for just this kind of dish. Thanks for posting this Tonkcats. It was a wonderful addition to my cookbook.
Not 100% like I remember, but wasn't bad. After reading reviews I didn't use the baking powder. Also left out the mushrooms. Also, put 1/4 teaspoon of Almond Extract in the sauce. I used 2 TBS clubsoda in the batter (1 was not enough). Used peanut oil for frying. The directions didn't mention when to add the dry sherry, so I just included it in the peanut oil. Took about 7 mins each side to cook through. Was easy to put together, but will try other recipes.