Delicious bites of chicken in my version of General Tso sauce. Enjoy the chicken battered and fried or opt for the lighter, quicker and easier un-breaded chicken version.
There are a lot of different recipes of General Tso Chicken around and even though I had a recipe that we all seemed to like, I’ve tried quite a few others over the years. A lot of them used hoisin in the sauce, which I like, but I don’t tend to associate with General Tso sauce for some reason (but that could be just a factor of where I’ve been getting my General Tso take-out over the years :).
And so it is that I always return to my faithful, no hoisin General Tso version, which is just a simple sweet and sour and as spicy as you want it to to be version. I have no idea how authentic it is or if an “authentic” General Tso recipe even exists :) Suffice it to say, this is a deliciously saucy, Asian-inspired, pleasantly spicy chicken dish, that we have enjoyed here for many years. Serve with rice and enjoy!
Ingredients and Substitutions
Chicken – you’ll need boneless/skinless chicken, either boneless chicken breasts or boneless chicken thighs.
White Sugar – When I first started making this recipe many, many years ago, it started with 3/4 of a cup of white sugar in the sauce. But tastes change and over the years, I have gradually reduced it. Somewhere between 1/3-1/2 cup is the sweet spot for us (pun intended), but you may find you can go even lower. Feel free to experiment to find your own sweet spot :)
Vinegar – Rice (or Rice Wine) vinegar is the best choice here, though white wine vinegar is a decent substitution. Straight up white distilled vinegar would probably work, though it is a bit more forward, so I would reduce the amount slightly.
Asian Chili Garlic Sauce – This sauce is easily available in the Asian sauce section of most grocery stores these days. Adjust the amount added to your taste.
Chicken Broth – You could substitute vegetable broth here, if you like. If you don’t any broth on hand, you can substitute hot water, though you will be sacrificing some flavour with this substitution.
You will also need – Soy sauce, sesame oil (optional), cornstarch (for the batter and for thickening the sauce), one egg, if battering the chicken and finally, cooking oil, if frying. For garnish, sesame seeds and sliced green onion are nice.
I enjoy this dish both traditionally batter and fried and sauced up, but when I don’t feel like frying up the chicken, I just pan sauté without battering it and then simmer it in the sauce, for a lighter, quicker and easier version.
Make sure your carrots are sliced paper thin, or they won’t cook up in the sauce.
Keep your fried, crispy chicken and your sauce apart until right ready to serve, so the chicken stays crispy. As long as your sauce is very hot, simply tossing the chicken in the hot sauce will be sufficient to re-warm the chicken.
Get the Recipe: General Tso Chicken
General Tso's Sauce:
- 1/3 - 1/2 cup white sugar, adjust to taste
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 cup hot chicken broth
- 1 - 2 Tablespoons Asian Chili Garlic Sauce, adjust to taste, for spiciness
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup hot water
Chicken Batter (if frying):
- 2 large skinless boneless chicken breasts, or 4-5 boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
For frying (if frying):
- 1 cup canola or vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 cup carrots, very thinly sliced into diagonal slices
- Sesame seeds
- Sliced green onion or chopped parsley
- Prepare the Sauce: In a small bowl combine white sugar, 1/4 cup soy sauce and rice vinegar. Add the hot chicken broth, 2 Tbsp. cornstarch and hot water and stir until the sugar and cornstarch dissolves. Set aside.
- *For a lighter dish, you can skip the battering and frying of the chicken and simply sauté the chicken pieces in a skillet with a bit of oil. Then add the carrot slices and cook with the chicken a couple of minutes. Then add the sauce and cook until warmed and thickened.
- To Prepare Chicken (if frying): In a separate bowl, combine chicken, 1 Tbsp. soy sauce and pepper. Stir in egg. Add 1/4 cup cornstarch and stir until chicken is evenly coated.
- Heat vegetable oil in skillet over medium high heat. Place chicken pieces into skillet, letting excess coating drip off before adding. Cook until crispy the remove to a cooling rack.
- Remove most of the oil from the skillet and return the skillet to the stove over medium high heat. Add carrots and cook for one minute. Add prepared sauce and cook until boiling and thickened.
- Return chicken to sauce and cook with sauce briefly, just until re-warmed. Transfer to serving plate and sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds, to garnish.
Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!