General Tso’s Chicken Recipe

General Tso's Chicken RecipeWhat is General Tso’s Chicken?

The General Tso’s Chicken Recipe is a Chinese dish that is made from chicken thighs that are breaded with cornflour and deep-fried before being coated in a spicy and sweet sauce. It was first made by a Chinese chef known as Peng Chang-kuei.

General Tso’s chicken is known by various names such General Tao’s chicken, House Chicken, General Chow’s chicken, Governor Tso’s chicken, General Joe’s Chicken, General Cho’s chicken, General Gao’s chicken, General Gau’s chicken, General Tong’s chicken, T.S.O. Chicken, General’s Chicken, General Ching’s chicken, General Tang’s chicken, or General Jong’s Chicken.

Other names for this Chinese recipe include General Mao’s chicken, General Tsao’s chicken, General T’s Chicken, General Chai’s chicken, or House Chicken.

This chicken recipe is very common in Chinese restaurants located in North America but not even known in the town from which the said, General Tso, was born. The dish might not have been eaten or known by the military leader, Zuo Zongtang (who is also called General Tso).

Traditional General Tso chicken recipe requires 3 main groups of ingredients: a sauce, breading mixture, and the chicken pieces. The General Tso chicken sauce is made with rice-wine vinegar, soy sauce, white granulated sugar, garlic, and dried whole red chili peppers. The chili pepper makes General Tso chicken spicy when the meat is eaten with the pepper. Cornstarch is added as a thickener to the General Tso chicken sauce.

The breading for this chicken recipe is made by combining cornflour (cornstarch) with some seasoning and spices such as black pepper and salt. The chicken cubes are then mixed with an egg wash before being dipped and coated with the breading prior to deep-frying.

Who is General Tso?

General Tso was a Chinese military man during the Qing dynasty who was also known as Zuo Zongtang; he was born in Xiangyin County of Hunan province. Though the House Chicken recipe was named after him, it was believed General Tso might not have tasted this chicken recipe or even known about it.

Ingredients 

  • 600 grams of boneless chicken thighs cut into cubes (bite-sizes).
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp of Salt
  • 2 cups of Olive oil or sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp of Black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of cornflour (Cornstarch)
  • 4 tbsp of low sodium Soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp of Hoisin sauce
  • 1 and a half tbsp of Rice-wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup of low sodium Chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp of grated Ginger
  • 5 red Chili peppers
  • 1 and a half tsp of finely minced Garlic

How to Make General Tso’s Chicken

  • First, season the cornstarch in a bowl with 1/4 tsp of black pepper and 1/4 tsp of salt. Stir to combine with a hand whisk or a fork and set aside.
  • Next, break two eggs into a bowl and season the egg with a pinch of salt and black pepper.
  • Now, whisk the egg with a fork until it is light.
  • Bring the chicken pieces into the egg wash and stir to coat the meat with the chicken.
  • Transfer the chicken pieces into the bowl containing the cornstarch and coat the chicken with the corn flour mixture; remove the chicken cubes when coated with flour and place them on a plate and keep them aside.

Frying the chicken

  • In a pan containing your frying oil – you can use olive oil or sesame oil. Add 2 cups of the frying oil (cooking oil or whatever oil you use for cooking or frying) to the pan.
  • Allow the oil to heat up and then transfer the coated chicken cubes into the oil. Deep-fry the chicken pieces until they are golden brown in color.
  • Drain off the oil from the deep-fried chicken pieces and set them aside.

Preparing General Tso’s Chicken Sauce

The General Tso’s chicken sauce is spicy and sweet mainly because of the sugar and dried red chili peppers added to it. You can adjust this to your taste; The recipe of General Tso’s chicken in North American restaurants differs from that of Taiwan mainly because of the ingredients used for making the sauce for this chicken recipe. To make a healthy General Tso chicken, we tried reducing the amount of sodium content by using the low sodium soy sauce and also low sodium meat broth. You can make it healthier by reducing the sugar added as well. However, note that the recipe calls for use of these ingredients, hence you can only reduce the amounts for health reasons but cannot omit them as that would not make the General Tso’s chicken.

How to Make the Sauce for General Tso chicken

  • In a bowl, add the Hoisin sauce, 1 tbsp of cornflour, 2 tbsp of sugar, and low sodium soy sauce; also add the rice wine vinegar and low sodium chicken broth.
  • Stir everything together using a hand whisk until all the ingredients have combined nicely.
  • Place a pan on the heat and add 1 tbsp of sesame oil.
  • To the pan, add the grated ginger and minced garlic and stir fry for a minute until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Add the dried red chili peppers and then add the prepared sauce; make sure the heat is on low and continuously stir the sauce until it thickens. The cornflour helps to thicken it. If yours is too thick, you can adjust the consistency by adding 2 tbsp of water and stir. The longer you keep heating, the water evaporates quickly and this makes the sauce thicken even after you add water. So ensure that you are making the General Tso’s chicken sauce on low heat.

Coating the chicken in the sauce

  • Once the sauce is cooked, add the chicken pieces and coat them with the prepared sauce.
  • You can garnish with some chopped spring onions and sesame seeds – a tablespoon each and enjoy your homemade General Tso’s chicken recipe.

It can be served with boiled rice or any recipe that calls for use of stew or sauce such as boiled potato, cooked pasta, etc.

General Tso Chicken Picture

General Tso's Chicken Recipe

Bongdap Nansel Nanzip
The General Tso's Chicken Recipe is a Chinese-American dish that is made from chicken thighs that are breaded with cornflour and deep-fried before being coated in a spicy and sweet sauce. It was first made by a Chinese chef known as Peng Chang-kuei.
General Tso's chicken is known by various names such General Tao’s chicken, House Chicken, General Chow's chicken, Governor Tso's chicken, General Joe's Chicken, General Cho's chicken, General Gao's chicken, General Gau's chicken, General Tong's chicken, T.S.O. Chicken, General's Chicken, General Ching's chicken, General Tang's chicken, or General Jong's Chicken.
Other names for this Chinese recipe include General Mao's chicken, General Tsao's chicken, General T's Chicken, General Chai's chicken, or House Chicken.
Prep Time 13 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese, Chinese-American
Servings 4 People
Calories 465 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 600 grams boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp Hoisin sauce
  • tbsp Rice-wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp Soy sauce (Low sodium)
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • ¼ cup Chicken broth (low sodium) for a healthy General Tso's Chicken.
  • ¼ tsp Black pepper powder
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 2 cups Sesame oil (or Olive Oil) - for deep frying the chicken pieces.
  • ½ cup Cornflour (Cornstarch)
  • 1 tbsp Ginger (grated)
  • 5 whole Chili peppers (dried)
  • tsp Garlic cloves (minced)

Instructions
 

  • First, season the cornstarch in a bowl with 1/4 tsp of black pepper and 1/4 tsp of salt. Stir to combine with a hand whisk or a fork and set aside.
  • Next, break two eggs into a bowl and season the egg with a pinch of salt and black pepper.
    Season the eggs with black pepper and salt
  • Now, whisk the egg with a fork until it is light and then bring the chicken pieces into the egg wash and stir to coat the meat with the chicken.
    Coat chicken with whisked eggs
  • Transfer the chicken pieces into the bowl containing the cornstarch and coat the chicken with the corn flour mixture.
    Coat the chicken with flour
  • Remove the chicken cubes when coated with flour and place them on a plate and keep them aside.
    Place coated chicken pieces on a plate
  • In a pan containing your frying oil - you can use olive oil or sesame oil. Add 2 cups of the frying oil (cooking oil or whatever oil you use for cooking or frying) to the pan. Allow the oil to heat up and then transfer the coated chicken cubes into the oil.
    Deep fry the chicken until golden brown in color
  • Deep-fry the chicken pieces until they are golden brown in color.
    Deep fry the chicken until you have a golden brown color
  • Drain off the oil from the deep-fried chicken pieces and set them aside.
    Drain the fried chicken

How to Make General Tso's chicken sauce

  • In a bowl, add the Hoisin sauce, 1 tbsp of cornflour, 2 tbsp of sugar, and low sodium soy sauce; also add the rice wine vinegar and low sodium chicken broth. Stir everything together using a hand whisk until all the ingredients have combined nicely.
    How to make General Tso's chicken sauce
  • Place a pan on the heat and add 1 tbsp of sesame oil. To the pan, add the grated ginger and minced garlic and stir fry for a minute until the garlic is fragrant.
    Place a pan on the heat and add 1 tbsp of sesame oil. To the pan, add the grated ginger and minced garlic and stir fry for a minute until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Add the dried red chili peppers
    Add some chili peppers for spiciness
  • Add the prepared General Tso chicken sauce; make sure the heat is on low and continuously stir the sauce until it thickens.
    Add the sauce for General Tso's chicken
  • Once the sauce is cooked, add the chicken pieces and coat them with the prepared sauce.
    Add the fried chicken
  • You can garnish with some chopped spring onions and sesame seeds - a tablespoon each and enjoy your homemade General Tso's chicken recipe.
    Coat the chicken with the sauce

Video

Notes

There are many Asian recipes that may be similar to the General Tso chicken but there are some differences. The differences and similarities of similar recipes are discussed below.
Keyword General Tso's Chicken, Recipe for General Tso Chicken

Variations

General Tso’s chicken recipe made in Taiwan is a little different from the one found in North American Restaurants. In Taiwan restaurants, General Tso’s chicken is not sweet, has more soy sauce, and the skin of the chicken is left intact; whereas in the American restaurants, General Tso’s chicken, the sauce is sweeter, less soy sauce and skin is removed.

Similar Asian Recipes

There are many Asian recipes that may be similar to the General Tso chicken but there are some differences. Each recipe will be discussed in comparison to the General Tso chicken.

General Tso Chicken Vs Sesame Chicken

Sesame chicken is similar to General Tso chicken in appearance but the only difference lies in the amount of sweetness. General Tso chicken is spicier than sesame chicken but in terms of sweetness, sesame chicken is sweeter than General Tso. This is because sesame chicken has more sugar and/or honey added to it but General Tso’s chicken uses only sugar but not honey.

Orange Chicken Vs General Tso

Orange chicken is similar to General Tso but there is an addition of orange juice and orange zest to the sauce used for coating the fried chicken. The orange chicken recipe is simply a variant of the General’s chicken. In terms of similarities, both the General’s chicken and orange chicken are westernized versions of the Chinese sweet and sour chicken recipes.

Kung Pao vs General Tso

  • Kung pao has peanuts added but General Tso does not have peanuts in it.
  • Eggs are used in coating the chicken with the cornstarch in General Tso while eggs are absent in Kung Pao.
  • Kung Pao is a spicy and savory chicken recipe whereas General Tso’s chicken is sweet and spicy.
  • Kung Pao is spicier than General Tso.
  • General Tso has a thicker and heavier batter or sauce coating it while the sauce for Kung Po is lighter.
  • The chicken in Kung Pao is stir-fried while that of General Tso is deep-fried.

Some Frequently Asked Questions about General Gau’s Chicken

Is General Tso chicken spicy?

General Tso chicken is spicy and sweet, thanks to the chili peppers and other spices such as black pepper.

What is General Tso’s sauce made of?

General Tso’s sauce is made of Hoisin sauce, cornflour, sugar, rice wine vinegar, low sodium chicken broth, and soy sauce. Together, these sauce ingredients give a sweet and spicy taste to General Tso’s chicken recipe.

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