General Tso’s Chicken Recipe

Known for its sweet, slightly spicy, and savory flavor, General Tso's Chicken is a beloved Chinese-American dish. This recipe breaks down the process into simple steps, making it easy for you to recreate this restaurant staple at home.

General Tso’s Chicken Recipe

While most ingredients for General Tso's Chicken are easily accessible at local supermarkets, hoisin sauce might not be as common. This sweet and tangy sauce is a key ingredient to achieve the iconic taste of the dish. If it's not available in your local store, Asian supermarkets should carry it.

Ingredients for General Tso's Chicken

Chicken thighs: The main protein of the dish, preferred for their juiciness and flavor over chicken breasts.

Cornstarch: Gives the chicken its crispy coating and also used to thicken the sauce.

Oil: Used for frying the chicken to achieve the perfect crispiness.

Ginger: Adds a warm and spicy flavor to the dish.

Red chili flakes: Gives the dish its characteristic kick.

Garlic cloves: Provides a base flavor for the sauce.

Rice vinegar: Gives the sauce a tangy flavor.

Soy sauce: Adds a salty umami flavor to the sauce.

Hoisin sauce: A key ingredient that gives the sauce its sweet and tangy flavor.

Water: Used to dilute the sauce ingredients.

Sugar: Balances out the saltiness and acidity of the other sauce ingredients.

One reader, Guillema Royster says:

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This General Tso's chicken recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are perfectly balanced, and the chicken turns out crispy and delicious every time. The sauce is the real star - it's sweet, tangy, and just the right amount of spicy. I highly recommend trying it out!

Guillema Royster

Essential Techniques for Making General Tso's Chicken

How to prepare the chicken: Toss the chicken thighs with the cornstarch and let them sit while you mix the sauce ingredients.

How to make the sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, water, sugar, and cornstarch until well combined.

How to fry the chicken: Add oil to a pan and fry the chicken thighs until crispy.

How to sauté the aromatics: Remove the chicken from the pan, leaving a tablespoon of oil. Add the red chili flakes, ginger, and garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

How to thicken the sauce: Add the chicken back to the pan and toss, then pour in the prepared sauce. Stir for about 30 seconds until the sauce thickens.

How to serve: Serve the General Tso's chicken immediately.

How To Make General Tso’s Chicken

Serve a flavorful Asian cuisine on your weeknights with this General Tso’s chicken recipe, a favorite takeout Chinese dish with a sweet and sour flavor.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

  • 1 lbchicken thighs cut into 1 inch chunks
  • ¼cupcornstarch
  • oil
  • 1tbspgingerminced
  • ½tspred chili flakes
  • 2garlic clovesminced

For The Sauce:

  • 3tbsprice vinegar
  • 3tbspsoy sauce
  • 2tsphoisin sauce
  • ¼cupwater
  • 3tbspsugar
  • 1tbspcornstarch

Instructions

  1. Toss the chicken thighs with the quarter cup of cornstarch and let sit while you mix the sauce ingredients.

  2. Add the rice vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, water, sugar, and a tablespoon of cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk together.

  3. Add the chicken to a pan with the oil and fry until crispy.

  4. Remove chicken from the pan and drain all but a tablespoon of the oil and add the chili flakes, ginger, and garlic.

  5. Cook until you smell the garlic for about 30 seconds.

  6. Add in the chicken and toss, then add in the sauce.

  7. Stir for about 30 seconds until thickened.

  8. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 1157.35kcal
  • Fat: 82.59g
  • Saturated Fat: 21.07g
  • Trans Fat: 0.41g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 35.97g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 17.81g
  • Carbohydrates: 22.30g
  • Fiber: 0.38g
  • Sugar: 10.20g
  • Protein: 76.17g
  • Cholesterol: 444.60mg
  • Sodium: 1071.96mg
  • Calcium: 41.26mg
  • Potassium: 998.18mg
  • Iron: 3.39mg
  • Vitamin A: 109.01µg
  • Vitamin C: 0.73mg

Crucial Technique for Achieving Crispy Chicken

When frying the chicken, ensure that the oil is hot enough before adding the chicken. This will help to achieve a crispy exterior while keeping the inside tender and juicy. You can test the oil by dropping a small piece of chicken into it. If it sizzles immediately, the oil is ready. If it sinks to the bottom without any sizzle, the oil is not hot enough. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan as this can lower the temperature of the oil and result in soggy, rather than crispy, chicken.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing General Tso's Chicken

Prep ahead: Prepare the sauce and cut the chicken in advance to streamline the cooking process. Organize ingredients: Arrange all the ingredients and utensils in order to easily access them while cooking. Multi-task: While the chicken is frying, start preparing the sauce to save time in the kitchen. Use a non-stick pan: This will help prevent the chicken from sticking and reduce the need for excessive oil. Quick cleanup: Clean as you go to minimize the post-cooking cleanup time. Efficient chopping: Practice efficient knife skills to speed up the preparation process.

Substitute Ingredients For General Tso’s Chicken Recipe

  • chicken thighs - Substitute with chicken breast: Chicken breast can be used as a leaner alternative to chicken thighs, and it cooks relatively quickly, making it a suitable substitute for this recipe.

  • cornstarch - Substitute with all-purpose flour: All-purpose flour can be used as a thickening agent in place of cornstarch, providing a similar consistency to the dish.

  • rice vinegar - Substitute with apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar can be used as a substitute for rice vinegar, providing a slightly different flavor profile but still adding the necessary acidity to the dish.

  • soy sauce - Substitute with tamari: Tamari, a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce, can be used for those with dietary restrictions or preferences.

  • hoisin sauce - Substitute with plum sauce: Plum sauce can be used as a substitute for hoisin sauce, providing a similar sweet and tangy flavor to the dish.

  • sugar - Substitute with honey: Honey can be used as a natural sweetener in place of sugar, adding a different depth of sweetness to the dish.

  • cornstarch - Substitute with arrowroot powder: Arrowroot powder can be used as a substitute for cornstarch to thicken the sauce, providing a similar texture and consistency.

Best Way to Present This Delicious Dish

  1. Elevate the plating: Arrange the General Tso's chicken in a visually appealing manner, ensuring that each element is showcased beautifully on the plate.

  2. Incorporate contrasting colors and textures: Introduce vibrant garnishes such as thinly sliced scallions and vibrant red chili peppers to add visual interest and contrast to the dish.

  3. Utilize negative space: Allow the dish to breathe by strategically leaving areas of the plate empty, creating a sense of balance and elegance.

  4. Employ precision in sauce application: Drizzle the General Tso's sauce with precision, ensuring that it enhances the dish without overwhelming it.

  5. Garnish with fresh herbs: Sprinkle the dish with fresh cilantro or Thai basil to add a pop of color and a hint of freshness.

  6. Consider the plate shape and size: Choose a plate that complements the dish, allowing the General Tso's chicken to be the focal point while enhancing its overall presentation.

  7. Add a touch of edible flowers: Introduce delicate, edible flowers such as microgreens or nasturtiums to elevate the visual appeal and add a touch of sophistication.

  8. Incorporate elegant serving utensils: Select refined utensils that complement the dish and elevate the overall dining experience for the judges.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making General Tso's Chicken

  • Cutting board: A flat board used for cutting and preparing ingredients.

  • Chef's knife: A versatile kitchen knife used for slicing, chopping, and dicing various ingredients.

  • Mixing bowl: A bowl used for combining ingredients and mixing them together.

  • Skillet: A frying pan with a flat bottom and sloping sides, used for frying, searing, and sautéing.

  • Tongs: A kitchen utensil with two arms and a pivot near the handle, used for gripping and lifting items.

  • Measuring cups and spoons: Utensils used to measure precise amounts of ingredients for recipes.

  • Whisk: A kitchen utensil used for whipping and mixing ingredients together.

  • Saucepan: A deep cooking pan with a long handle and a lid, used for making sauces and heating liquids.

  • Wooden spoon: A spoon made of wood, used for stirring and mixing ingredients.

  • Deep fryer: A kitchen appliance used for deep-frying foods.

  • Slotted spoon: A spoon with slots or holes, used for draining liquids from solid foods.

  • Spatula: A kitchen tool with a broad, flat, flexible blade, used for lifting and flipping foods.

  • Wok: A versatile round-bottomed cooking vessel used in various Chinese cooking techniques, including stir-frying, steaming, and deep-frying.

  • Plates and serving platter: Used for serving and presenting the finished dish.

Storing and Freezing Leftover General Tso's Chicken

  • To store leftover general tso's chicken, allow it to cool completely to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.

  • When reheating, for best results, place the chicken in a single layer on a baking sheet and reheat in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for about 10-15 minutes, or until heated through and crispy. Alternatively, you can reheat in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed through.

  • For longer storage, you can freeze general tso's chicken. Place the cooled chicken pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze until solid, about 2 hours. Once frozen, transfer the chicken to a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Label the container with the date and freeze for up to 3 months.

  • To reheat frozen general tso's chicken, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the frozen chicken pieces on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through and crispy. Note that the sauce may lose some of its consistency after freezing and reheating, but the flavor will still be delicious.

  • If you want to freeze the sauce separately, allow it to cool completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the sauce in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed through. You may need to add a little water or chicken broth to thin the sauce if it has thickened too much during storage.

How To Reheat Leftover General Tso's Chicken

  • The best way to reheat leftover general tso's chicken is in a skillet or wok over medium-high heat. This method allows you to quickly reheat the chicken while maintaining its crispy exterior and tender, juicy interior. Add a small amount of oil to the pan and stir-fry the chicken for 2-3 minutes, or until it's heated through and the sauce is bubbling.

  • Another option is to use an oven or toaster oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and place the leftover chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through and the sauce is sizzling. This method is ideal if you want to reheat a larger portion of chicken without losing its crispy texture.

  • If you're short on time, you can also use a microwave to reheat your leftover general tso's chicken. Place the chicken in a microwave-safe dish and heat it on high power for 1-2 minutes, or until it's heated through. However, keep in mind that the microwave may cause the chicken to lose some of its crispiness and the sauce may become watery.

  • For a more unconventional approach, try repurposing your leftover general tso's chicken by incorporating it into a new dish. Shred the chicken and use it as a filling for tacos, burritos, or lettuce wraps. You can also add it to a stir-fry with fresh vegetables and rice for a quick and easy meal.

  • Lastly, if you want to maintain the quality and flavor of your leftover general tso's chicken, be sure to store it properly in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Consume it within 3-4 days for the best taste and texture. When reheating, always ensure that the chicken is heated through to a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to prevent foodborne illness.

Interesting Trivia About General Tso's Chicken

The General Tso's Chicken recipe is named after General Tso Tsung-tang, a Qing dynasty military leader. The dish is not traditionally found in China, but rather was created in the United States by Chinese immigrants. It is a popular dish in American Chinese cuisine and is known for its sweet, spicy, and tangy flavors. The dish is often served with steamed broccoli or rice.

Is Making General Tso's Chicken at Home Cost-Effective?

This General Tso's chicken recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The main ingredients, such as chicken thighs, cornstarch, ginger, and garlic, are affordable and readily available. The sauce ingredients, including rice vinegar, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce, are also reasonably priced and can be used in various other dishes. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $15-$20, making it a budget-friendly option. Overall Verdict: 9/10

Is General Tso's Chicken Healthy or Unhealthy?

The general tso's chicken recipe, while delicious, is not particularly healthy. Here's why:

  • The chicken is deep-fried, which adds a significant amount of oil and calories to the dish.
  • The sauce contains sugar and hoisin sauce, which are high in calories and can contribute to weight gain if consumed in excess.
  • The recipe lacks vegetables, which are essential for a balanced and nutritious meal.

However, there are several ways to make this recipe healthier without sacrificing taste:

  • Instead of deep-frying the chicken, try baking or air frying it. This will significantly reduce the amount of oil used and lower the calorie count.
  • Reduce the amount of sugar in the sauce or replace it with a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup.
  • Add some vegetables to the dish, such as broccoli, bell peppers, or carrots. This will increase the fiber content and provide additional vitamins and minerals.
  • Use low-sodium soy sauce to reduce the overall sodium content of the dish.
  • Serve the general tso's chicken with brown rice instead of white rice for added fiber and nutrients.
  • Adjust the portion size to maintain a balanced meal and avoid overeating.

By making these simple modifications, you can enjoy a healthier version of general tso's chicken that still satisfies your cravings for this classic Chinese-American dish.

Editor's Opinion on This Popular Chinese-American Dish

The General Tso's chicken recipe you provided is a classic and flavorful dish. The combination of crispy chicken, aromatic ginger, and garlic, and the sweet and tangy sauce creates a perfect balance of flavors and textures. However, to elevate this dish, consider adding some vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, or snap peas for added color and nutrition. Additionally, a garnish of sesame seeds and green onions can provide a beautiful finishing touch. Overall, this recipe is a great starting point, and with a few personal touches, it can be truly exceptional.

Why trust this General Tso’s Chicken Recipe:

This recipe for General Tso's Chicken is a tried and tested favorite, guaranteed to satisfy your craving for a delicious and authentic Chinese cuisine. The combination of crispy chicken, savory sauce, and aromatic spices creates a mouthwatering experience that will transport your taste buds to the streets of Beijing. With carefully selected soy sauce, rice vinegar, and ginger, this recipe captures the essence of traditional Asian cooking. Trust in the expertise behind this recipe to deliver a delightful dining experience that will leave you craving more.

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FAQ:
How can I make the chicken extra crispy?
To make the chicken extra crispy, ensure that the oil is hot enough before adding the chicken. Also, make sure to coat the chicken thoroughly with cornstarch before frying.
Can I use chicken breast instead of chicken thighs?
Yes, you can use chicken breast if you prefer. However, chicken thighs tend to be juicier and more flavorful in this recipe.
Is there a substitute for hoisin sauce?
If you don't have hoisin sauce, you can use oyster sauce or a combination of soy sauce and honey as a substitute.
Can I make this dish less spicy?
Absolutely! You can reduce or omit the red chili flakes to make the dish less spicy according to your preference.
How do I store leftovers?
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a pan or the oven to maintain the crispiness of the chicken.

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