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.
Makes a lot of gravy for two chicken breasts. Maybe serve 4 instead. Don't forget chopped scallions, makes all the difference.
The salt and the sherry is a marinade for the chicken. "Sprinkle chicken with salt and sherry and marinate for 15 minutes." I know it's not much liquid but that's the deal. It's explained in a somewhat similar recipe here: http://www.americanfoodroots.com/50-states/abcs-michigan-almond-boneless-chicken/ The best ABC in my city is only 5 minutes away so I don't have much motivation to make my own. Mean Chef's, General Tso's Chicken, on this site is better than what I can buy so I do make that.
I'm really looking forward to trying this recipe. I've been looking for a recipe for wor su gai for a long time. This is also a staple in Ohio. I've never been able to duplicate the wonderful brown gravy. Here in northern OH it's also served with ice cold lettuce to enhance the hot chicken. It's covered in a brown sauce & topped with chopped peanuts & sliced green onion. Sauce sounds just what I'm looking for, this was always served with fried rice at our restaurants here. Since I've moved I'm still finding wor su gai but it's served over bean sprouts and with a gelatinous yellow sauce that reminds me of lemon pudding. Can't wait to try this! Thanks Tonkats! Left 4 stars in anticipation!!
Tonkat: just thought I'd let you know that over in Seattle, where I used to live in a suburb called Ravenna/Lake City, there's a fantastic blast from the past called Ying's Chinese Food Drive In. When I lived there, they delivered THE best Almond Chicken with brown gravy you have ever tasted! I crave Ying's Almond Chicken from here in Honolulu some 20 years later! And more awesome is the fact they've not changed a thing since back then: same signage, chairs, menu on the wall and polaroids of each dish, it's all like a time warp! Check out the picture from yelp: http://m.yelp.com/biz_photos/yings-drive-in-seattle?select=jly1qsp2YXJIs70_ds11Ng I know there are some bad reviews there, lol. But that chicken was tender white meat with the lightest dark brown crispy coating, covered with their ruch, saviry
dredge ckn in pancake mix . found that recipe on bob allison site he is a detroiter who worked at local am radio stations . he has many old detroit restaurant recipes from back in the day . the sauce recipe here is better than the one he has listed . watch the size of ckn pces as it will double or triple in size .
I also grew up in Detroit enjoying this dish. And it is true, you cannot find it out of state. This is a recipe I have been hoping for since I moved away from Ann Arbor. Thanks for taking me home again! Hope Bill Woo's is still open! He would be proud.
I had no idea that this was a regional recipe either. Our whole family just loves it when we go out to eat. I made it last night and it was absolutely fabulous!!! I too left out the sherry and mushrooms. The sauce is dead on, but I can't quite figure out how to fix the batter so it's more like the restaurant version. I was thinking maybe it should have salt in it and omit the baking powder so it crisps up more like a fried chicken batter????