General Tso’s Chicken

A favorite of American and Canadian Chinese restaurants, General Tso’s chicken isn’t actually Chinese. But it is awfully tasty. I’ve been looking around for copycat recipes for a long time before actually attempting one. This one was the jumping off point for my crack at the dish. My version is below.

1/4 c white sugar
1/2 c soy sauce
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
1/4 c cornstarch
1/4 c white wine or sherry
2 c chicken or vegetable broth
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 in ginger, peeled and minced

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 egg, beaten
3 T soy sauce
1/4 c cornstarch
1/4-1/2 c oil for frying (1/2 inch deep in skillet)
1 small bunch (about 8) green onions, sliced
2-3 red Thai chilies, sliced (remove seeds to decrease heat)

To prepare sauce, put all ingredients into a large jar with a leakproof lid. BE CERTAIN to put the cornstarch somewhere in the middle, preferably between two layers of liquid. If you put it on the bottom or top of the ingredients, it won’t fully integrate and you’ll be choking down starch lumps. After all ingredients are in the jar, seal it and shake it until completely blended. Set aside.

Heat the oil to medium high. Combine the beaten egg with the soy sauce. Put the cornstarch in a large Ziploc. Dip the chicken pieces in the egg first, then drop several coated chicken pieces into the cornstarch bag and shake vigorously. Remove chicken from bag, shaking off excess cornstarch and fry until golden and crispy, turning once (this is horrifically messy – sorry). Set cooked chicken aside to drain on paper towels.

In another deep skillet, heat one tablespoon oil to medium high. Quickly stir-fry green onion and chili for 30 seconds to one minute – just until green onion starts to become tender. Shake sauce mixture again and add to onion and chili, stirring frequently until thickened. Lower heat and add chicken to sauce, stirring until chicken is well coated and heated through. Serve over rice with steamed broccoli.


You can use this recipe as a template for a Spicy Peanut sauce. When preparing the sauce jar, reduce the sugar to one tablespoon and the vinegar to 1.5 tablespoons, then add 1/3 cup of peanut butter. Instead of just shaking the jar, whisk the contents until there are no large lumps of peanut butter. Continue preparing as usual.

2 thoughts on “General Tso’s Chicken”

  1. Cliff


    I’m so glad we made this last night. It was a ton of work — especially for those of us without a dishwasher — but well worth it. “Real” fake Chinese food at last!

    My favorite part of the process: watching the sauce thicken right at the end there.

    liqu — whoa, Chinese pudding! Quick, add a little more water!

  2. Mom

    Remember making GOOP? It shouldn’t matter when you add the cornstarch; just drag a fork through it to mix well just before pouring it into the pan. Good for you guys both for experimenting. I can imagine the mess; I haven’t breaded and fried anything except zucchini for several years.
    It sounds delicious.

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