General Tso’s Chicken
This homemade version of General Tso’s Chicken is the closest recreation I’ve ever found! If this is one of your favorites when you order Chinese takeout, you HAVE to try it at home!
It wasn’t until I started dating my husband that I really started to fall in love with Asian cuisine. He introduced me to Thai, sushi, and amazing Chinese takeout. Most college kids rely on Chinese take out to get them through cram sessions and heartache, but I was always more of a pizza girl. I leaned on Domino’s and the local favorites.
I, of course, had tried Chinese before, but was never crazy about it. All of that changed when I started spending time at my husband’s place on the weekends. When he first mentioned ordering Chinese and I said that I had never found something I really liked, he said I had to get General Tso’s, and that I would love it. He knows me all too well, because I absolutely adored it. Between the crunchy, battered chicken, the thick sauce, and the generous amount of spice, I was completely smitten. It soon became my favorite take out option, and I found myself craving it.
We had talked about trying to make it at home, but it took me a long time to find a recipe that I thought sounded authentic enough. This one absolutely nails it, and we both love, love, love it.
I was most worried about the chicken breading having that characteristic thick, crunchy coating that is so typical of General Tso’s. That was definitely achieved, thanks to including just a little bit of the marinade in the dry batter ingredients. Genius! Everything else came together perfectly. As I cooked the sauce, I couldn’t believe how absolutely identical it smelled to the General Tso’s sauce I have come to know and love. Once everything was finished and we dug in, we hardly spoke a word, except to grunt and groan about how phenomenal the food was. And how much it really did taste like General Tso’s chicken.
I like to serve this with simple white jasmine rice and steamed broccoli to replicate the takeout experience, and it’s absolutely delicious. If you’ve never used jasmine rice, you have to give it a try! The first time I made it, my husband asked what I did differently to the rice (nothing!) because it tasted so much better than “regular” rice.
This is significantly easier than you might think and doesn’t involve too much prep time, so if you have a hankering for General Tso’s chicken and want to give it a try yourself, you cannot go wrong with this recipe!
General Tso's Chicken
For the Marinade & Sauce:
- ½ cup (137.5 ml) hoisin sauce
- ¼ cup (63.75 ml) white vinegar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1½ cups (375 ml) water
- 1½ pounds (680.39 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) crushed red pepper flakes
For Coating & Frying:
- 3 egg whites
- 1½ cups (192 g) cornstarch
- ½ cup (62.5 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) baking soda
- 4 cups (872 ml) vegetable oil
- 1-2 (1) green onions, thinly sliced (optional, garnish)
- Make the Marinade: Whisk the hoisin sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, and water in a bowl. Of this mixture, place 6 tablespoons into a zip lock storage bag and add the chicken; seal and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Set aside the remaining marinade in the bowl.
- Make the Sauce: While the chicken is chilling in the marinade, heat the 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Sauté the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes until fragrant. Add 2 cups of the hoisin marinade to the skillet and simmer, whisking constantly, until the mixture is dark brown and thickened. Remove from heat and cover to keep the sauce warm.
- Prepare the Coatings: Whisk the egg whites in a shallow dish until foamy; set aside. Combine the cornstarch, flour, baking soda, and remaining hoisin marinade in a second shallow dish; mix until it resembles coarse meal.
- Prepare the Chicken: Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and from the marinade. Pat the marinated chicken dry with paper towels. Toss half the chicken into the foamy egg whites until well coated, then dredge the chicken in the cornstarch mixture, pressing to adhere. Transfer the coated chicken to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.
- Cook the Chicken: Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat until the oil registers 350 degrees. Fry half the chicken until golden brown, about 3 minutes, turning each piece halfway through cooking. Transfer the cooked chicken onto a paper towel lined plate to drain. Return the oil to 350 degrees before frying again. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
- Finish: Warm the sauce over medium heat until simmering. Turn off the heat and add the fried chicken pieces. Toss to coat and serve with sliced green onions to garnish, as well. White jasmine rice and steamed broccoli are favorite sides here!
This recipe was originally published on April 16, 2012.