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Easy Chinese Restaurant General Tso Chicken Recipe

Mastering the Art of Chinese Restaurant General Tso Chicken Recipe

Craving that perfect blend of sweet sauce, spicy, and savory flavors that only a Chinese food restaurant General Tso chicken recipe can provide? You’re not alone. This iconic dish has captured the hearts and taste buds of food enthusiasts worldwide. But fear not because I have good news – we’re diving into the secrets of crafting this delectable dish right in your own kitchen. 

Chinese Restaurant General Tso Chicken Recipe Easy Preparation

This is a beyond cravable dish that I make at least once a month – because it’s way too good (and easy) not to. It’s fast on the weekdays when time is short, and when my nieces come over, they always ask for it. Of course, I am happy to oblige.  I’ve tried all the recipes for the best crisp, sweet, tangy sauce and perfect texture, so I know you can’t go wrong with my recipe below. Serve this with a bowl of steamed white rice! Just rinse the kernels for a cleaner, more effortless finish, or serve with fresh broccoli cooked in a tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet with chili flakes and diced garlic. You can store leftovers for delicious leftovers in an airtight container to keep the deliciousness going long after dinner. 

The Origin Story of the General Tso Chicken Recipe

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Before we delve into the cooking process, let’s take a moment to appreciate the history behind this tangy sauce and its beloved dish. Contrary to popular belief, General Tso chicken did not originate in China but rather in the United States. Its namesake, General Tso Tsung-tang, was a Qing dynasty military leader, but he had no direct association with the dish.

Legend has it that General Tso chicken was created by a Hunanese chef, Chef Peng Chang-Kuei, who fled to Taiwan during the Chinese Civil War. He later brought his culinary expertise to New York City, where he adapted traditional Hunanese flavors to suit American palates. Thus, General Tso chicken was born—a tantalizing fusion of Chinese and American cuisines.

Essential Ingredients for Chinese Restaurant General Tso Chicken Recipe

Chinese Restaurant General Tso Chicken Recipe coating

To recreate the magic of Chinese restaurant General Tso chicken in your own kitchen, you’ll need the following ingredients:

– 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breast cut into bite-sized pieces

– 1/2 cup corn starch

– 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, for deep frying with hot oil (you can sub for peanut oil)

– 3 cloves garlic, minced; you can use garlic powder as well

– 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

– 1/2 cup chicken broth

– 3 tablespoons soy sauce

– 3 tablespoons of my favorite hoisin sauce

– 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

– 2 tablespoons brown sugar

– 1 tablespoon chili paste or the best sriracha (adjust to taste)

– 1 teaspoon sesame oil

– 2 green onions, thinly sliced

– Sesame seeds, for garnish

Step-by-Step Instructions for this chinese-american dish

Chinese Restaurant General Tso Chicken Recipe sauce

Now that we have our ingredients for Chinese restaurant general tso chicken recipe ready, let’s dive into the cooking process:

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1. Coat the Chicken:

Hot tip alert! Start by patting the chicken pieces dry with paper towels. In a shallow bowl, coat the chicken evenly with cornstarch, shaking off any excess. This will give the chicken its signature crispy texture.

Frying Chinese Restaurant General Tso Chicken Recipe

2. Chinese Restaurant General Tso Chicken Recipe Fry the Juicy Chicken:

In a large skillet or wok, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the coated chicken pieces in batches, ensuring not to overcrowd the pan. Fry until golden brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.

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3. Prepare the Sauce Ingredients:

In the same skillet or wok, remove any excess oil, leaving about a tablespoon behind. Add minced garlic and grated ginger, and sauté for about 1 minute until fragrant. Then, pour in the chicken broth, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and chili paste or sriracha. Stir well to combine and bring the sweet and spicy sauce to a simmer.

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4. Thicken the Sticky Sauce For a Traditional Chinese Restaurant General Tso Chicken Recipe:

In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water to create a slurry. Gradually pour the slurry into the simmering sauce, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens to your desired consistency.

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5. Add Chicken and Finish:

Once the sauce has thickened, return the fried chicken pieces to the skillet or wok. Toss the chicken in the sauce until evenly coated and heated through. Drizzle with sesame oil and garnish with sliced green onions and sesame seeds.

6. Serve and Enjoy:

Transfer the General Tso chicken to a serving platter and serve hot, preferably with steamed rice or noodles on the side. Enjoy the explosion of flavors with every bite!

Chinese Restaurant General Tso Chicken Recipe

Can I use chicken breast instead of thighs in a Chinese Restaurant General Tso Chicken Recipe?

   Absolutely! While chicken thighs are traditionally used for their juiciness, you can substitute them with chicken breast if you prefer. Just be mindful not to overcook the breast meat, as it tends to dry out more easily.

Is there a substitute for hoisin sauce?

Chinese Restaurant General Tso Chicken Recipe

If you don’t have hoisin sauce on hand, you can substitute it with oyster sauce or a combination of soy sauce, molasses, and Chinese five-spice powder. However, keep in mind that the flavor profile may vary slightly. Either way you will be able to create this chinese-american classic similar to general tso’s chicken recipe 

How can I make Chinese Restaurant general Tso Chicken Recipe less spicy?

   If you prefer a milder version of General Tso chicken, simply reduce the amount of chili paste or sriracha in the sauce. You can also omit it altogether and adjust the other seasonings to taste.

Can I make General Tso chicken ahead of time?

   While General Tso chicken is best enjoyed fresh, you can prepare the components ahead of time and assemble them just before serving. Fry the chicken and make the sauce separately, then combine them and reheat before serving.

Is General Tso chicken gluten-free?

   The traditional recipe for General Tso chicken contains soy sauce, which is not gluten-free. However, you can use gluten-free soy sauce or tamari to make a gluten-free version of this dish.

What is Chinese General Tso sauce made of?

It’s a few things. The sauce is made with common pantry ingredients: rice vinegar, dark soy sauce, hoisin sauce, water, sugar, and cornstarch to thicken it. Add the ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine.

What is General Tso’s chicken batter made of?

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Traditional General Tso’s chicken uses cornstarch batter for crispy chicken pieces with a golden-brown coating. Expert tip: Frying the chicken twice makes it extra crispy. A spicy, sweet soy sauce mixture with ginger and garlic adds incredible flavor.

What is the difference between General Tso chicken and General Tao chicken?

There is no difference. General Tso’s chicken (also known as General Tao’s or Tsao’s) is an easy recipe made in small batches and is one of the most popular Chinese takeout dishes featuring deep-fried chicken coated in a thick sweet sauce. You can also make it spicy for those who like a little kick.

By following these simple steps and tips, you can recreate the magic of Chinese restaurant General Tso chicken right in your own kitchen. So gather your ingredients, unleash your inner chef, and prepare to embark on a culinary adventure that’s sure to impress! Want other delicious easy dinner recipes? Check out my Spaghetti Sauce Recipe with Fresh Tomatoes or these insanely delicious Juicy Tacos de Trompo.

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