General Tso’s Chicken

Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 35 min
Serves: 4

One of the most requested dishes in North American Chinese restaurants, this addictive dish of battered and deep fried chicken is richly coated with an intensely spicy, sweet and sour sauce. My usual modus operandi with any Asian dish involving deep frying, is to buy it. But my husband recently became seduced by the dish (frying and fat are always winners in his books) and since we spend part of the year in a small town about an hour from a Chinese restaurant, I became intrigued with creating a recipe that was not too arduous and did not need 4 cups of cooking oil or ingredients one could not find in any small town supermarket. Here’s the result. It worked for my partner who has been known to eat the entire recipe at one sitting.


8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 boneless skinless breasts


1 cup (250 mL) chicken broth
3 tbsp (45 mL) minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup (60 mL) sherry
1/4 cup (60 mL) vinegar, preferably rice-wine vinegar
3 tbsp (45 mL) soy sauce
1 tbsp (15 mL) hot-garlic chili sauce
1/4 cup (60 mL) tomato paste
2 tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch


1/2 cup (125 mL) cornstarch
2 tbsp (30 mL) soy sauce
2 tbsp (30 mL) sesame oil
3 egg whites
canola oil for frying
toasted white sesame seeds and thinly sliced green onions for garnish (optional)


1 Cut chicken into small bite-size pieces. They should measure about 2 ½ cups (625 mL). Set aside.
2 For sauce, heat broth in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add ginger (It must be very finely chopped), sherry, vinegar, soy sauce and hot garlic chili sauce. Boil gently for 10 minutes to develop flavor, then reduce heat to low and add tomato paste. Stir 2 Tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch with the same amount of water. Add to the sauce and stir fairly constantly until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
3 For chicken coating, in a medium size bowl, whisk ½ cup (125 mL) cornstarch with soya, sesame oil and egg whites. Cover the bottom of a wide deep frying pan or flat bottomed wok with about ½ inch (1 cm) canola oil. Place over medium heat. Add about a quarter of the chicken pieces to the cornstarch coating. When oil is hot enough to quickly brown a little cube of bread (375°F/190°C), remove a few chicken pieces from the cornstarch coating, draining off excess coating and place in the hot oil. Repeat until all pieces in the coating are added to the oil. Fry, turning chicken pieces often, until beautifully browned, 3 to 4 min. As soon as pieces are browned, remove to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat process with remaining chicken.
4 Return sauce to medium heat and stir gently until hot. Then add all the coated chicken and stir gently and constantly until chicken is hot, about 2 min. If sauce seems too thick, add water to sauce, a tablespoon (15 mL) at a time, until the right consistency for evenly coating chicken. Serve on rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions.