Ironically, you probably think it’s unamerican that I don’t like Chinese take-out or Asian food in general. I’m not talking authentic stuff; I’ve never had that. I’m talking chain restaurants and sushi joints that churn out the Americanized versions of Asian cuisine.
It seems like everybody I know loves some good sushi or Chinese in a little white take-out box. But as for me, if I’m getting take-out, I’d much prefer pizza or a big fat pile of cheese fries.
So imagine my surprise when my mother made a lightened version of General Tso’s Chicken last week from the cookbook Eat More of What You Love, and it smelled intoxicatingly good to my nostrils. I couldn’t believe a dish I would normally turn my nose up at was now enticing me, but I could not ignore the urges. Unfortunately, I couldn’t try any actual chicken, being vegetarian and all, but I did sample some of the broccoli coated in flavorful sauce.
Dang, was that stuff good! It didn’t taste light at all; in fact, it tasted and smelled like it was straight out of a restaurant.
Immediately, I felt compelled to develop a vegetarian-friendly version, but when I suggested the idea to Mother Cookie, she replied, “How do you make a vegetarian version of General Tso’s CHICKEN?” Okay, so that was a roadblock, but a small one indeed. I played around with protein-replacements for the chicken, and then it hit me: little protein-packed patties made with chickpeas, brown rice, scallions, water chestnuts, and more good stuff.
I never thought I’d find a Chinese take-out-inspired meal so delicious, but General Tso’s Chickpea Patties proved me wrong. It is so flavorful and filling, plus the tantalizing smell while it’s cooking will convince you that you’re sitting and waiting for dinner at your favorite Chinese restaurant. The best part is that it’s light, low-calorie, and good for you, something you will not believe when you taste it. Don’t tell whoever you’re feeding this to that it’s healthy. I swear to ganache they’ll never know.
Loaded with tender, fresh broccoli and covered in a complex, sweet and savory sauce, this meal will make you slap somebody out of excitement. And those chickpea burgers are even better than chicken. No, I’m not just saying that because I’m a vegetarian. They’re hearty, golden brown, and delectable, plus they’re perfectly complimented by the sauce.
This is a meal you can’t miss. Put down the take-out menu, put away your fat pants, and get in the kitchen.
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- If you’ve just got to have this dish with chicken, you can find the original recipe in Eat More of What You Love.
- This dish comfortably serves 2 or 3, so if you’re looking to feed more, you can easily double it.
- The chickpea patties in this are versatile. You can make them on their own, add some cheese, and gobble ‘em up!
- There’s a lot of directions here, but this is actually an easy recipe you can make quickly.
General Tso’s Chickpea Patties
Adapted from Eat More of What You Love
Yield – 2-3 servings
For the Patties
- 1 15.5-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 8-oz. can water chestnuts, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup Egg Beaters
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- 3 tbsp. chopped fresh scallions
For the sauce and broccoli
- 3 cups broccoli small florets
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth or vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 6 teaspoons cornstarch
- 6 packets no-calorie Sweetener (I used Splenda)
- 1 ½ tbsp. dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 ½ tsp. ketchup
- ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
- ½ cup sliced onion
- Place the broccoli in a microwave safe bowl. Add ¼ cup water then cover and cook in microwave on high for 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Place chickpeas and water chestnuts in a food processor. Pulse until they are finely chopped, but still textured.
- Pour chickpea mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add all the other patty ingredients and mix well until everything is evenly distributed and well-combined. It will be pretty wet and goopy, but if you think it’s too much so, add a tablespoon more of flour.
- Bring a large skillet to medium-low heat and spray with nonstick spray. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop out a ball of the chickpea patty mixture (it should be about a ¼ cup’s worth) and drop it only the skillet. It should sizzle (if not, wait a few minutes before adding more). Push the ball down slightly with the back of a spatula so it flattens out to the size and thickness of a slider.
- Let cook on each side until golden brown, about 4 patties at a time, flipping in between. Transfer to a plate and cover with tinfoil to keep them warm.
- While the patties cook, start on the sauce. Bring a large skillet or wok to medium heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk together all sauce ingredients (minus the broccoli) in a medium bowl. Pour the sauce into skillet and let cook until thickened and clear, whisking every now and then. Ladle about a quarter of the sauce out and into a separate bowl.
- Fold in the broccoli until evenly coated then let cook until broccoli is hot and tender, another two minutes. Place the chickpea patties on top and drizzle with remaining sauce. Serve immediately.