General Tso. The mysterious enigma behind a dish that all too often features a sugary, gloopy sauce and batter coated sponges that may or may not contain actual poultry. We’re not gonna lie. The infamous General Tso’s Chicken recipe is usually the first dish that comes to mind when we chide, chastise, and otherwise berate the “Chinese” food that most people have come to know.
Take this as a peace offering to everyone out there who secretly–or not so secretly–loves this Chinese Chicken dish.
Our version, the way my father’s father cooked it in his restaurant, has a more intensely flavored, tangy sauce (as opposed to the usually one-note, sugary sweet neon orange stuff), large chunks of crisp, juicy chicken, and lots of fresh crunchy broccoli. We begrudgingly admit that when done right, it’s actually not half bad. Maybe old General Tso was on to something. (Translation: this was wayyyy tastier than some of us would care to admit). Try this once. Your local Hunan Garden will wonder if you skipped town.
Oh, and if you rather prefer or are looking for Orange chicken, then check out our most recent Orange Chicken recipe. It’s delicious in it’s own way and with the addition of nice aromatics, it is also not the same as takeout. They are both easy chicken recipes you can make at home – add a bowl of rice and you’ll feel like you’re at the restaurant!
Let’s get started. You’ll need:
For the chicken:
- 2 chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon shaoxing wine
- Pinch of fresh ground white pepper
- 1/3 cup flour
For the sauce:
- 1/2 tablespoon shaoxing wine
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce or seasoned soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
For the rest of the dish:
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoons water
- 2 cups peanut or canola oil, plus 1 tablespoon
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 4 to 5 whole dried red chili peppers
- 1/2 cup chicken stock or water
Cut the chicken into 1 1/2-inch chunks and throw it in a bowl. Add the sesame seeds…
Along with the cornstarch, salt, sesame oil, 1 teaspoon shaoxing wine, and white pepper.
Mix well and set aside.
Lightly dredge the chicken in the flour.
Stir together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl (1/2 tablespoon shaoxing wine, 2 kinds of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sugar). In another bowl, combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water.
Then heat 2 cups of oil to 325 degrees F in a small pot to fry the chicken. Just before it starts to smoke, drop the floured chicken pieces into the oil in small batches. Fry until golden brown (about 3-5 minutes).
While cooking the chicken, blanch the broccoli for 30 seconds to a minute depending on whether you like a softer or crunchier broccoli (we recommend crunchy ourselves). Rinse in cold water and set aside.
Once you have the chicken and the broccoli prepared, heat a clean wok over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Cook the dried hot chili peppers for about 10 seconds and add then add the chicken stock along with the sauce ingredients. Bring the liquid to a boil and stir in the cornstarch slurry until the sauce thickens. Give it a quick taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Add your crispy chicken and broccoli to the pan and toss the mixture until the broccoli and chicken are coated.
Plate and serve immediately with steamed rice!
Cut the chicken into 1 1/2-inch chunks and combine in a bowl with sesame seeds, cornstarch, salt, sesame oil, 1 teaspoon shaoxing wine, and white pepper. Dredge the chicken lightly in the flour and set aside.
Stir together all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. In another bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water.
In a large pot of boiling water, blanch the broccoli for 30 seconds to a minute. Dunk the broccoli into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
Heat 2 cups of oil in a small pot until just starting to smoke. Fry the chicken in small batches until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes per batch.
Heat a clean wok over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil along with the dried chilies. Cook the chili peppers for about 10 seconds and add your sauce ingredients along with the ½ cup of chicken stock or water. Bring the liquid to a boil and stir in the cornstarch slurry until it thickens to a sauce. Quickly check for seasoning and adjust if needed. Add the chicken and broccoli and toss the mixture until everything’s well-coated.
Plate and serve immediately with steamed rice.