General Tso’s Chicken is a Chinese-American favorite! Lightly battered crispy chicken covered in a sweet, tangy and spicy sauce. Skip the takeout and make it at home tonight!
It wasn’t until I moved to the United States that I had heard of General Tso’s Chicken. After seeing it on the menu in various Chinese restaurants all over town, I decided to give it a try and it quickly became one of my favorite Chinese-American dishes. General Tso’s Chicken features lightly battered chicken covered in a sweet and tangy sauce.
It reminds me of Sweet and Sour Chicken but the hoisin sauce (which is like a Chinese version of barbeque sauce) gives General Tso’s Chicken a unique and flavorful twist.
General Tso’s Chicken is typically served with broccoli on the side or as a garnish. Of course, this is totally optional, but I really do love the contrast of flavors between the chicken and the broccoli.
Stir-frying instead of deep-frying the chicken is a fantastic healthy alternative. I tend to stir-fry the chicken when preparing General Tso’s Chicken at home; especially on weeknights. It’s faster, healthier, and just as delicious.
How to Make General Tso’s Chicken
Blanch broccoli florets (from 1 head of broccoli) in boiling water for about 1 minute. They will turn a bright green when ready. Scoop them up using a spider skimmer, then set them aside until the dish is ready to be served.
Tip: Keep the broccoli under tin foil to prevent it from getting cold when served.
Cut 1 lb of chicken thighs into small bite-sized pieces. Marinade the chicken for about 15 minutes in 1 teaspoon of salt, a dash of pepper, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, and egg white from 1 egg.
If you choose to stir-fry instead of deep-frying your chicken, marinade the chicken in 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 2 teaspoons of cornstarch.
Prepare the sauce by combining 1/2 cup water, 3 tablespoons of ketchup, 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 3 teaspoons hoisin sauce, 3 teaspoons of soy sauce, 3 teaspoons brown sugar, and 2 teaspoons cornstarch.
(Skip these next few steps if you are stir-frying your chicken instead of deep-frying)
Add enough oil to your wok or pot to deep-fry the chicken (in small batches) then heat the oil over medium-high heat. To test the oil to ensure that it is hot enough for deep-frying, dip a wooden chopstick into the oil – it should bubble rapidly almost immediately when immersed in the hot oil.
Pour 1 1/2 cups of cornstarch on to a plate or a shallow dish.
When you are ready to fry the chicken, lightly coat each piece of chicken in the cornstarch. Shake off any excess cornstarch.
Carefully place the dredged chicken in the hot oil. Don’t put too many pieces of chicken in the wok at one time.
When the chicken turns a very light golden brown, remove the chicken from the oil using a spider skimmer.
Continue deep-frying the chicken in small batches until all of the pieces are cooked.
Carefully pour all of the oil from the wok into a bowl (make sure the bowl can withstand the heat; oven-safe, preferably) and wipe off any cornstarch residue from the deep-frying.
Pour about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil back into the wok, followed by 2 cloves of garlic (minced), 1 tablespoon of finely julienned ginger, and 1 cup of dried red chili. Stir-fry until aromatic; about 30 seconds. Hint: if you love your General Tso’s Chicken really spicy, cut the dried chili into halves or even quarters.
Give the sauce a good stir as the cornstarch would have settled at the bottom by now.
Pour all of the sauce into the wok, then use your wok spatula to stir until the sauce starts to thicken.
Return the chicken into the wok. Toss until all of the chicken is evenly coated in the sauce.
Serve immediately with steamed white rice and the broccoli.
General Tso's Chicken
- 1 head broccoli cut into small florets
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger finely julienned
- 1 cup dried red chili
For the chicken
- 1 lb chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch plus 1 1/2 cups for dredging
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 dash pepper
- 1 egg white
- cooking oil for deep frying
- Blanch the broccoli florets in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove from water and set aside until the rest of the dish is ready. (Put tin foil over the bowl to keep the broccoli warm).
- Marinate the chicken in 1 tablespoon cornstarch, salt, pepper and egg white for 15 minutes at room temperature.
- Heat up cooking oil for deep frying in a wok or pot over medium-high heat.
- Dredge the chicken in the remaining cornstarch, then deep fry in small batches.
- Pour all of the oil from the wok into a heat-proof bowl. Wipe the wok clean.
- Pour about 2 tablespoons of oil back into the wok. Add garlic, ginger and dried red chili. Fry until aromatic; about 30 seconds.
- Give the sauce a good stir, then pour it into the wok. Stir until slightly thickened.
- Add the chicken to the wok. Toss until all of the chicken is evenly coated in the sauce.
- Serve immediately with broccoli and steamed white rice.