Recipe Review

This Deep-Fried Sandwich Is the Creative Spin on Chinese Takeout You Never Saw Coming

published Jan 21, 2022
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fried chicken on sandwich bun with lettuce
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell
Crispy, Juicy Air Fryer Chicken Sandwich

In my opinion, some classic dishes are not to be messed with. From grilled cheese sandwiches (this recent deep dive on grilled cheese says it all) to the world’s best gingerbread, it’s just better not to touch certain recipes. That said, I’m not opposed to creative spins on takeout favorites. After all, I’ve never met an upgraded ramen I didn’t love, and I recently tried a tahini milkshake that made me nostalgic for a Wendy’s Frosty. If you feel the same way, you’re definitely going to want to get in on this unconventional take on General Tso’s chicken.

The recipe comes to us from Eitan Bernath, a young gun in the culinary world who’s already making big moves with a cookbook and gig as the Principal Culinary Creator for The Drew Barrymore Show. His version of the Chinese-American classic is a crispy, saucy, deep-fried sandwich, which he demos for his 638k-strong Instagram audience in a high-energy Reel.

The dish starts with a thick batter made from soy sauce, cornstarch, and an egg. After dredging a boneless chicken breast in the mixture, the chicken gets deep-fried until glossy and deeply golden-brown. Now, any fan of General Tso’s chicken knows that the most iconic part of the order is the sticky, syrupy sauce, and Eitan does not disappoint here. His version is a mixture of sugar, soy sauce, Sriracha, rice wine vinegar, chicken broth, sesame oil, chiles, garlic and ginger, and — the key ingredient — cornstarch for thickening.

After a quick simmer in a wok, Eitan dunks the fried chicken breast into the sauce until it’s coated with flavor. He uses a toasted bun for the bread element and a crunchy broccoli slaw to bring it all together.

Eitan describes the General Tso sammie as “one of the most delicious sandwiches you’ll ever eat in your entire life,” and if his Insta audience’s reaction is any indication, that’s no exaggeration. Commenters flooded the post with high praises like, “This is damn yummy,” and “My mouth is watering.” There was also a not-so-small number of flame emojis.

This would make a fun weekend cooking project for any fan of General Tso’s chicken, but if you’re a vegetarian, you can also play along with this recipe for General Tso’s Cauliflower. No matter which take on the General you choose though, one thing is for sure: You’re going to want to have plenty of napkins at the ready.