If I ever met General Tso, I would thank him for his sweet, spicy sauce and share my deep respect for completely besting practically everything else on the Chinese takeout menu. I would, however, explain that I modified his genius creation to eliminate the greasy frying and replace it with equally crunchy oven-baked cutlets and broc that, in my opinion, deserve a place in his army. The sauce is tangy and sweet, thanks in part to two condiments you may get mixed up sometimes. So here’s what you need to know: Mirin is a thick, sweetened rice wine from Japan you can find right in the Asian aisle of the supermarket. Rice wine vinegar is tarter, thinner, and more puckery.
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 ½ cups panko
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 2 teaspoons white or black sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Four thin-cut chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons white or black sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large head broccoli, cut into florets, stems peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2/3 cup sweet Thai chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese rice wine)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
Bread the cutlets:
Arrange one rack on the top third of the oven and another in the bottom third. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Combine the flour with 1 teaspoon salt in a shallow baking dish. In another dish beat the eggs with the Sriracha, sesame oil, and another ½ teaspoon salt. In a third bowl combine the panko, canola oil, paprika, sesame seeds, and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and toss to coat. Season each cutlet generously with salt, then dip each piece of chicken in the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip each one into the egg mixture, letting the excess drip off, then press each side firmly into the panko mixture. Arrange on a large, parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chicken and coatings. Let them rest while you prep the broccoli.
Prep the broccoli and sauce:
Whisk the canola oil, sesame oil, sesame seeds, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, then add the broccoli and toss to coat. Dump the broccoli on a large rimmed baking sheet, slide it onto the bottom rack and roast until the edges are blackened and crisp, 20 minutes.
During the last 10 minutes of the broccoli roasting, slide the breaded cutlets into the upper rack and bake until they are cooked through and the tops are golden, 9 to 10 minutes.
While the cutlets are baking, combine the Thai chili sauce, soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, and Sriracha in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, 5 minutes. Remove the cutlets and broccoli from the oven, divide evenly among plates and spoon the Tso sauce over the cutlets and broccoli.