Chinese Soul Food - Hsiao-Ching Chou

For years, with envy, I have studied photos on social media of friends attending dumpling workshops with Hsiao-Ching Chou in Seattle. I wanted to be there learning to pleat pillows of deliciousness into perfection. Traveling to Seattle for a dumpling class was out of the realm of possibility for me, so I resorted to wishing Hsiao-Ching would write a cookbook. Sometimes wishes come true. Chinese Soul Food: A Friendly Guide for Homemade Dumplings, Stir-Fries, Soups, and More was published a few weeks ago.

This title is everything I thought it would be and more. I love that that it focuses on food that the author makes for her family and not overly complicated or pretentious dishes. Nearly every recipe here is tagged to be made including the Orange beef, Stir-fried fresh rice noodles, and Red-braised pork belly pot stickers. A week back, I made the General Tso's that we are sharing here today, and it was wonderful and far better than any I have had from take-out.

This weekend Darcie covered the Denver Post piece on this title along with the news of the special app that the author is testing. In addition, this April one of our main selections in the Eat Your Books Cookbook Club is Chinese Soul Food, it will be a delicious month. Hsiao-Ching is a member of our group and will be available to answer questions should they arise. Join the group and cook this book with us. 

Special thanks to Sasquatch Books for sharing the recipe below and for providing five copies of this book in our contest open to US members; Eat Your Books will choose one additional winner from members outside the US. Scroll to the bottom of this post to enter! 

General Tso's chicken
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I always say that there's nothing inherently wrong with crispy chicken cutlets in a thick, spicy, sticky-sweet, and salty sauce, but General Tso's chicken isn't Chinese. (There is a documentary about this topic called The Search for General Tso.) It does have the spirit of Chinese cooking, in that it combines textures and balances flavors, which is why it works. While it may not be authentic to Chinese cuisine, this dish is delicious. Because customers demanded General Tso's chicken, we had to figure out how to make it. My father, who loved strawberry jam, decided on a whim to add it to the sauce. We also served a mild version of this dish called Strawberry Chicken. Customers loved it.

Makes 4 servings

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 stalk green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless chicken thighs
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • About 2 cups cornstarch

For the sauce:

  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons water, divided
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

1. In a large bowl, put the soy sauce, onions, sugar, and garlic, and stir to combine. Set aside.

2. Cut the chicken into pieces about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide. Add the chicken to the soy sauce marinade and stir to coat. Cover or transfer to a ziplock bag and marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.

3. Line a plate with several layers of paper towels. Set aside.

4. Place about 1½ inches of vegetable oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Heat the oil until it registers 350 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Dredge the marinated chicken pieces in the cornstarch. Fry the chicken in batches, stirring carefully to ensure even frying, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer the chicken to the prepared paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.

5. To make the sauce, in a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of the water with the cornstarch. Set aside.

6. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil and pepper flakes. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, jam, sugar, and the remaining ¼ cup water, and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the jam and sugar. Gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. You may not need all of the slurry. Let the sauce simmer for about 1 minute, or until the sauce darkens and starts to glisten. Remove the pan from the heat.

7. Add the chicken pieces to the sauce, and toss to combine. Serve with rice.

©2018 by Hsiao-Ching Chou. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Chinese Soul Food by permission of Sasquatch Books.

 

The publisher is offering five copies of this book to EYB Members in the US and EYB will choose one additional winner from members outside the US. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on March 28th, 2018.

138 Comments

  • Kerreydp  on  2/20/2018 at 5:23 PM

    I’d make my favorite, Mu Shu Pork.

  • contest718  on  2/20/2018 at 5:38 PM

    Basil, chicken, and shrimp dumplings. I was addicted to dumplings when I was pregnant and now that we are trying for our rainbow baby, I seem to be addicted to them again lol.

  • BookWorm53  on  2/20/2018 at 5:39 PM

    Menu solved. General Tsao on the menu tomorrow. Thanks

  • Kristjudy  on  2/20/2018 at 5:50 PM

    Shrimp and pork noodles in broth.

  • amyz218  on  2/20/2018 at 6:15 PM

    Love the idea of Ginger-Onion Whole Steames Fish!

  • ravensfan  on  2/20/2018 at 7:13 PM

    Basil, chicken, and shrimp dumplings

  • davisesq212  on  2/20/2018 at 7:25 PM

    Oh my...so many yummy choices but I would try spicy clams with Chinese sausage. Or, maybe the orange beef. Or, maybe both at the same time. YUMMY.

  • infotrop  on  2/20/2018 at 7:47 PM

    Corn and Dungeness crab soup ; Dungeness crabs are in season right now in Oregon, and they are huge and sweet!

  • icicle  on  2/20/2018 at 9:00 PM

    Simple Congee -- it just might get my breakfast ambivalent but rice loving kid a reason to eat in the morning.

  • cheftina888  on  2/20/2018 at 9:09 PM

    so much to choose from. I'll definitely make the three cup chicken and the basil, chicken and shrimp dumplings. after I perfect making the skin and filling, that I would like to make the soup dumplings for my family.

  • matag  on  2/20/2018 at 9:43 PM

    Dumpling knots aoup

  • jmay42066  on  2/20/2018 at 10:16 PM

    Pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings

  • JJWong  on  2/20/2018 at 11:53 PM

    So many recipes I want to try! I grew up eating so many of these foods. I'd make the soy sauce marbled eggs first!

  • Execchef1225  on  2/21/2018 at 1:33 AM

    Smacked cucumber

  • heyjude  on  2/21/2018 at 2:47 AM

    Sesame Flatbread

  • wester  on  2/21/2018 at 2:53 AM

    I'm still looking for a way to get duck breast really crisp, so Fragrant crispy duck breast is the recipe for me.

  • EmilyR  on  2/21/2018 at 3:51 AM

    Soup dumplings (Xiao long bao)

  • Joyceeong  on  2/21/2018 at 5:24 AM

    Chinese Barbecued Pork

  • lapsapchung  on  2/21/2018 at 7:50 AM

    I'd choose Smacked Cucumber because I've heard it mentioned so often recently and I'm curious - during my years of living in various parts of South East Asia I never came across it at all so I'm assuming it is a relatively new idea.

  • chawkins  on  2/21/2018 at 7:52 AM

    Any of the dumplings other than the soup dumplings.

  • lgroom  on  2/21/2018 at 10:05 AM

    I love Kung Pao anything so I'll do Kung Pao chicken.

  • annmartina  on  2/21/2018 at 10:48 AM

    The General Tso's chicken had me at strawberry jam

  • kmn4  on  2/21/2018 at 11:51 AM

    Dry-fried green beans

  • Siegal  on  2/21/2018 at 1:13 PM

    I want to make marbled soy sauce eggs

  • janv  on  2/21/2018 at 1:17 PM

    Mu shu pork

  • lebarron2001  on  2/21/2018 at 1:50 PM

    Red-braised pork belly pot stickers

  • abihamm  on  2/21/2018 at 2:22 PM

    Pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings

  • lpatterson412  on  2/21/2018 at 4:33 PM

    Wonton soup!!! This is always my favorite soup!

  • rchesser  on  2/21/2018 at 6:02 PM

    Red-braised pork belly pot stickers

  • Scotsman61  on  2/21/2018 at 8:12 PM

    General Tso's Chicken for me!

  • MaryCunningham86  on  2/21/2018 at 11:37 PM

    I have some fermented tofu in the fridge and not sure what to do with it, so I would try the fermented bean curd sauce!

  • jezpurr  on  2/22/2018 at 12:17 AM

    General Two and more!!!^_^

  • AnnaZed  on  2/22/2018 at 12:33 AM

    Spinach, egg, and shiitake dumplings (

  • JenJoLa  on  2/22/2018 at 4:21 PM

    Vegetable fried rice with curry

  • Frogcake  on  2/22/2018 at 5:49 PM

    Pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings. And without a doubt General Tsao chicken!

  • BookWorm53  on  2/22/2018 at 8:03 PM

    Made the recipe for General Tso chicken you posted. Thanks again. Very tasty and a very good version of what has become part of what people call Chinese comfort food. I would cut the cornstarch for the sauce in half. Make it more silky. But loved the taste. Look forward to trying other recipes from this book.

  • jmizu  on  2/23/2018 at 9:52 AM

    Sweet-and-Sour Spare Ribs and then the Pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings.

  • Steben  on  2/23/2018 at 12:21 PM

    Chicken chow mein

  • sgump  on  2/23/2018 at 3:02 PM

    Ma po tofu for me!

  • Betterlife1  on  2/24/2018 at 4:04 AM

    Definitely the General Tso’s Chicken that you’ve shared.

  • mpdeb98  on  2/24/2018 at 7:42 AM

    Orange beef

  • sweetchefgirl  on  2/24/2018 at 8:10 PM

    General Tso's Chicken, Yum!

  • clairew137  on  2/25/2018 at 3:35 AM

    Ma po tofu

  • Puguppy  on  2/25/2018 at 10:32 AM

    Spring rolls

  • jaelsne  on  2/25/2018 at 1:49 PM

    I love to order green onion pancakes when I'm in Chinese restaurants that serve them. It would be great to learn how to make them at home!

  • LaurenE  on  2/25/2018 at 2:08 PM

  • sarahawker  on  2/25/2018 at 2:27 PM

    Dumpling knots soup (Mian ge da tang)

  • PennyG  on  2/25/2018 at 3:38 PM

    Chinese noodles in meat sauce (Zha jiang mian) sounds great!

  • HermionieG  on  2/25/2018 at 4:27 PM

    General Tso's Chicken. The strawberry jam sounds interesting.

  • rachael_mc  on  2/25/2018 at 5:13 PM

    SOUP Dumpings! Yum!

  • acorgihouse  on  2/25/2018 at 6:55 PM

    Lion's Head Meatballs

  • littleminxgirl  on  2/25/2018 at 11:56 PM

    Pot Stickers! I love Pot Stickers!

  • Livia  on  2/26/2018 at 6:28 AM

    Definitely the wonton soup ! :)

  • parnassus  on  2/27/2018 at 10:56 PM

    the jian bings for sure! It's gaining popularity these days.

  • obbigttam  on  2/28/2018 at 12:19 AM

    Red-braised pork belly pot stickers - gotta love red pork

  • biro  on  2/28/2018 at 2:39 AM

    Steamed spare ribs with rice powder

  • lils74  on  2/28/2018 at 4:11 AM

    Three-cup chicken or Chicken with snow peas both sound good

  • Arinelle  on  2/28/2018 at 5:38 AM

    I guess it would be the spinach, egg, and shiitake dumplings.

  • LizyB  on  2/28/2018 at 5:56 AM

    General Tso's chicken

  • clappc  on  2/28/2018 at 7:42 AM

    Soy-ginger dipping sauce, for sure!

  • natashatheoharous  on  2/28/2018 at 9:22 AM

    The shao bing, hands down.

  • luccio  on  2/28/2018 at 3:26 PM

    Wontons - we love eating them, but have never tried making our own...

  • GregH  on  2/28/2018 at 4:38 PM

    Smacked cucumber

  • Sfgordon  on  2/28/2018 at 7:10 PM

    I'd like to try the homestyle hand-cut noodles.

  • fbrunetti  on  2/28/2018 at 7:39 PM

    Shao bing

  • curls  on  2/28/2018 at 10:10 PM

    Green onion pancakes

  • nadiam1000  on  3/1/2018 at 7:09 AM

    spring rolls

  • Cryambers  on  3/1/2018 at 10:21 AM

    Soup dumplings (Xiao long bao)

  • RecipesLost  on  3/1/2018 at 10:44 AM

    Tempted... Lion's head meatballs

  • jd5761  on  3/1/2018 at 4:25 PM

    Pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings would be my first choice

  • madelainelc  on  3/1/2018 at 8:02 PM

    Wonton Soup. I showed my partner this General Tso's recipe and we're going to try it this week.

  • akrupnick  on  3/1/2018 at 10:44 PM

    Soup dumplings. Yum.

  • kennethjohngilmour  on  3/2/2018 at 5:54 AM

    Green onion pancakes

  • maggie_moo  on  3/2/2018 at 8:45 AM

    Yum - shu mai "Pork and shrimp shao mai"

  • choppergirl  on  3/2/2018 at 8:53 AM

    Vegetable fried rice with curry

  • ejsimpson  on  3/2/2018 at 5:46 PM

    Mongolian Beef

  • sunset34  on  3/2/2018 at 7:22 PM

    saucy dungeness crab - thanks

  • BMeyer  on  3/2/2018 at 10:03 PM

    general tso's chicken

  • t.t  on  3/3/2018 at 1:51 AM

    Soup dumplings (Xiao long bao)

  • lindaeatsherbooks  on  3/4/2018 at 6:54 AM

    I would like to first make the Red-braised pork belly pot stickers.

  • RSW  on  3/4/2018 at 10:24 AM

    Dumpling dough

  • Ishtar  on  3/4/2018 at 2:56 PM

    Orange beef. Sounds amazing.

  • sstyles  on  3/4/2018 at 4:33 PM

    Pork and cabbage dumplings definitely.

  • Dannausc  on  3/4/2018 at 5:40 PM

    Smacked cucumber

  • Kimberly78  on  3/5/2018 at 2:39 AM

    Pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings

  • antpantsii  on  3/5/2018 at 1:19 PM

    Basil, chicken, and shrimp dumplings would be wonderful

  • Larkspur  on  3/5/2018 at 7:04 PM

    Orange beef

  • HeatherLynn  on  3/5/2018 at 7:33 PM

    I would love to check this cookbook out. I think the first thing I would make would be Beef with asparagus and shiitake mushrooms!

  • kitchenclimbers  on  3/6/2018 at 1:43 PM

    Green onion pancakes

  • PollySBA  on  3/7/2018 at 3:54 PM

    Is it too pedestrian of me to try the General Tso's first? oh well, pedestrian tastes

  • Jenamarie  on  3/8/2018 at 9:16 AM

    Chinese cabbage and tofu soup

  • Coffeebean  on  3/9/2018 at 11:04 PM

    Mongolian beef

  • trudys_person  on  3/10/2018 at 6:05 PM

    Chicken Chow Mein or Long Life Noodles - I love noodles!

  • sus1ecooks  on  3/11/2018 at 1:16 PM

    Ginger-onion whole steam fish I would give a try first.

  • hc_bailey  on  3/11/2018 at 9:31 PM

    Red-braised pork belly pot stickers

  • kbennall  on  3/12/2018 at 1:11 AM

    Any of the fish dumplings; any of the beef dumplings, especially the one with celery hearts; and ALL the chili sauces.

  • NaomiH  on  3/12/2018 at 1:06 PM

    Salt-and-Sichuan pepper shrimp

  • LaraM  on  3/12/2018 at 8:19 PM

    Green onion pancakes

  • cellenly  on  3/13/2018 at 8:10 AM

    Green onion pancakes

  • cake17uk  on  3/15/2018 at 1:22 AM

    I'd make Hot-and-sour soup, remember having a wonderful bowl of this before, would love to recreate it

  • Moniquelfp  on  3/15/2018 at 1:55 PM

    Mu Shu pork! Yum.

  • lauriesk  on  3/15/2018 at 1:59 PM

    I would try the Orange Beef first.

  • sallansd  on  3/16/2018 at 6:03 PM

    Basil, chicken, and shrimp dumplings

  • PeavineBlues  on  3/16/2018 at 6:11 PM

    Scallion pancakes

  • Julia  on  3/16/2018 at 6:23 PM

    Lion’s head meatballs

  • BridgetL  on  3/16/2018 at 6:44 PM

    Orange Beef

  • vikingcook  on  3/16/2018 at 7:48 PM

    Right now the rice noodles sound like pure comfort food!

  • kitchen_chick  on  3/16/2018 at 9:34 PM

    Soup dumplings!

  • GillB  on  3/16/2018 at 11:09 PM

    Twice cooked pork

  • centraljersey  on  3/17/2018 at 6:46 AM

    Would like to be better at making dumplings

  • ohyoucook  on  3/17/2018 at 8:20 AM

    Wok seared corn and green onions.

  • circ2000  on  3/17/2018 at 4:14 PM

    General Tsao Chicken...

  • verorenee  on  3/17/2018 at 6:35 PM

    Basil chicken and shrimp dumpling

  • Karla123  on  3/17/2018 at 7:27 PM

    Vegetarian's delight would be a "delight" to eat.

  • kerrin1976  on  3/18/2018 at 5:45 AM

    Chicken chow mein and wonton soup

  • TanyaD  on  3/18/2018 at 5:58 PM

    Pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings

  • HomespunHouse  on  3/18/2018 at 10:01 PM

    Just a roasted sweet potato

  • Singleta417  on  3/18/2018 at 11:03 PM

    Spring rolls

  • robynsanyal  on  3/20/2018 at 9:30 AM

    Marbled soy sauce eggs

  • chimpbob  on  3/20/2018 at 9:37 AM

    Sesame Flatbread

  • munki  on  3/22/2018 at 2:39 PM

    Lion's head meatballs.

  • rosalee  on  3/22/2018 at 9:19 PM

    I'll never say no to ma po tofu!

  • RickPearson54  on  3/23/2018 at 9:21 AM

    general tso

  • Lmocooks  on  3/24/2018 at 10:42 AM

    Beef with pickled chinese mustard greens

  • MusicCityMissy  on  3/25/2018 at 11:32 AM

    Because I love noodles, Home Style Hand Cut Noodles.

  • Uhmandanicole  on  3/26/2018 at 4:16 AM

    Home Style Hand Cut Noodles

  • Foodycat  on  3/26/2018 at 8:09 AM

    I've never had General Tso's chicken because I am not American, and I am so horrified at the idea of strawberry jam in it that I'd have to try that first.

  • orchidlady01  on  3/27/2018 at 1:43 AM

    Pork and shrimp shao mai

  • mph993  on  3/27/2018 at 10:31 AM

    Red-braised pork belly pot stickers - always looking to add more kinds of dumplings to out rotation!

  • hungryinhouston  on  3/27/2018 at 10:55 AM

    Red-braised pork belly potstickers!

  • Sueskitchen  on  3/27/2018 at 11:12 AM

    orange beef

  • Maefleur  on  3/27/2018 at 4:41 PM

    Pork and cabbage dumplings to start!

  • hirsheys  on  3/27/2018 at 8:36 PM

    Pork, shrimp, and Chinese chives dumplings

  • eveaway  on  3/27/2018 at 10:14 PM

    Green onion pancakes (on page 90), would be the first recipe that I would try from Chinese Soul Food. Thanks!

  • PattiK47  on  3/28/2018 at 6:50 AM

    The dumplings first and then General Tsao's Chicken

  • mandaoverturf  on  3/28/2018 at 10:49 AM

    Dumplings.

  • monique.potel  on  3/28/2018 at 11:49 AM

    The General Tso's chicken looks yummy

  • Jostlori  on  3/28/2018 at 11:58 PM

    Marbled Soy Sauce Eggs

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