General Tso’s Chicken

There was a time when Chinese food was a weekly adventure.  Now it is a rarity unless of course I make it.  I was inspired to make this dish the other night.  General Tso's Chicken from Saveur.  It isn't that hard to make just prepare before you start to cook.  It is a winner and I will be making it again.  Serves 4.

1 cup chicken stock
7 tbsp. cornstarch
6 tbsp. rice vinegar
6 tbsp. tomato paste
5 tbsp. light soy sauce
4 tsp. sweet soy sauce
2 whole boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 ½″ cubes
3 tbsp. peanut oil and more for frying
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp. minced ginger
5 red dried chilis
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
Thinly sliced scallions, to garnish

Whisk stock, 1 tbsp. cornstarch, vinegar, tomato paste, 3 tbsp. light
soy sauce, 1 tbsp. sweet soy sauce, and 3 tbsp. water in a bowl; set
sauce aside.  Make this first.

Place remaining cornstarch and both soy sauces, chicken, 3 tbsp. peanut oil, and egg yolks in a bowl.  Really mix this so all the chicken pieces are covered. 

I used a large non-stick frying pan with a 2 inch side.  Pour about vegetable oil in until it is about 1/2" high.  Heat until really hot.  Add the chicken and basically fry.  I let is sit in the heated oil for about 3 minutes before flipping each piece.  They kind of stuck together but I just broke them up.  Take out with a slotted spoon when done (total about 5 minutes) and put in a bowl.

Get rid of the oil, wipe dry with a paper towel.  Add a little more vegetable oil to the pan and quickly stir fry the ginger and chilis for about 30 seconds. 

Put the stock mixture in and let reduce for 5 minutes.  Then add in the chicken and mix until completely covered.

Pull this off the heat and add in the sesame oil and transfer to a plate.  Scatter the scallions over the top.

Serve with rice.

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    You do love making food and the passion comes through.Makes me think of the last scene of my favorite movie, Big Night, where cooking the eggs is a family healing process and binds everything together.Big NIght and Mostly Martha are top two food movies of all time. Julia & Julia creeps up below them.

  2. AG

    Intrigued. We rarely ever buy Chinese food, and it never occurred to me to make it. But this looks like a really fun dish. Where did you buy the sweet soy sauce? Never realized there was such a thing.

    1. Gotham Gal

      i got it in an asian cooking store. honestly it isn’t the end of the world if you just use soy sauce for the entire ingredients.

  3. BB

    rasa malaysia is my go to for easy chinese food recipes. similar pared down simplicity like yours above. and if you don’t already have it in that well stocked pantry of yours – get yourself a stash of sichuan peppercorns!

  4. LE

    That looks really good. I’m going to see if I can get my wife to use that recipe.

  5. Wavelengths

    Thanks for the inside info.Of all things, in Buena Vista, Colorado, just to the east of the main road through town, there is an extraordinary Chinese restaurant. Some of the best I’ve had — and I’ve traveled far! (Ask Shana about my comments on the tempura-fried cricket!)I’m amazed that reasonable Chinese cuisine has spread throughout the US, including some of the most remote backwaters of the country.As I sat in that restaurant in BV, CO, I listened to the VHS tapes of the Chinese soaps that obviously a relative had sent to give the family a sense of home, and ate some food that rivaled or exceeded any I had had in the US. Incredible that in the shadow of 14-thousand foot mountains (ask Brad Feld?!) I was eating food with spices surely shipped from the family back home.Thanks again. I’m sending people here who just can’t find “real food” in the neighborhood. At least, through you, they can “eat” some cyberfood.And with your help, we now have a great recipe!

    1. JLM

      .Small world — on the “backway” up from Texas through Minturn up to Steamboat lies Buena Vista. Only during March too dicey earlier.I have eaten at that restaurant in the shadow of the “university” peaks.Road trip.Pretty country.Well played.JLM.

      1. Wavelengths

        Who’da thunk such tasty food in such an unlikely spot — just down the road from the annual rotten tomato toss, if I’m not mistaken! LOL

        1. JLM

          .Now you’ve got me. I don’t know anything about the rotten tomato toss.JLM.

          1. Wavelengths

            Wow! I thought you knew EVERYTHING!Here’s an article that pretty much covers the territory. Twin Lakes is the eastern end of Independence pass, which is the “short route” to Aspen, if you’re coming from Texas. (And NEVER in the winter, unless you’re on skis!) Note particularly the article’s reference to the Tomalamo.

    2. Gotham Gal

      that is impressive. it is amazing that in almost every town in america there is not only a local deli or 7-11 but also a chinese restaurant.

      1. Wavelengths

        Pecos, TX, does not have a McDonalds, a Taco Bell, a Wendy’s, or even anything remotely like a Chilis or Applebees, but it does have a fairly reasonable Chinese Buffet, run by people who use their own native language when they write the orders and chat in the kitchen.Yes, Chinese food in small towns may be more easily found than good old apple pie! 🙂

  6. Adrian Bye


  7. JLM

    .The picture alone tastes good.Well played.Real talent. Great story telling..

  8. kevinmurphy

    What would you best advise on using as a replacement for peanut oil as we have an allergy in the family? It looks really good and we order it often from the local Chinese/asian restaurants and have never thought to attempt to make it. You have inspired the effort…

    1. Gotham Gal

      I use vegetable oil always.

      1. kevinmurphy

        Made the General Tso’s the other night- very good! Thanks for the recipe.

        1. Gotham Gal


  9. Seriously_Please

    Looks good, you should make it a video.

    1. Gotham Gal

      i should

  10. caitlin

    love how there is no garlic in this recipe!