Everyone’s favorite Chinese takeout made at home! You control the quality of ingredients for a much better version than any restaurant. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I have been obsessing over my chicken and broccoli recipe. I’ve made it so often that I could probably make it in my sleep. That’s saying something since I rarely make the same thing twice. I’m constantly experimenting and testing new ideas that I just don’t have time to go back and make my old favorites very often.
Weekends are usually when I will make my go-to meals, but those are constantly changing too! Anyway, after eating the chicken and broccoli almost daily I decided that I needed to change it up. I decided to tackle another takeout favorite – General Tso’s Chicken. Up until a few years ago, I had never tried or even heard of general tso’s chicken. This dish happens to be Kyle’s favorite, so he’s the one that introduced me to it. I’m not a huge fan of the takeout version – it’s just so inconsistent from restaurant to restaurant. Some are too sweet, have too much soy sauce, not enough spice, etc.
Have you ever eaten at P.F. Chang’s? They have “Chang’s Spicy Chicken” on the menu, which is basically their version of general tso’s. It has the perfect balance of sweet and spicy, and the sauce is light in color, which indicates it’s not overloaded with soy sauce.
My version is somewhere in the middle of the common takeout version and chang’s spicy chicken, which in my opinion is perfect! I would absolutely prefer this version over takeout, plus this recipe is gluten-free and has no other weird additives like MSG!When I first thought about making this classic takeout dish, I had a feeling it was going to be difficult to make and take a long time. I’m actually surprised to say that it’s pretty quick! The sauce comes together in minutes, while the chicken does take a little more time, but overall you can have dinner together in under an hour.
To keep the authenticity of the dish, I wanted to coat the chicken and fry it. I rarely fry anything, but I just didn’t think it would have the same effect if I didn’t. Plus, Kyle really wanted it fried!
The coating for the chicken is simple – egg white, cornstarch, and a little chicken broth. It has a pretty weird consistency so don’t be put off by it. Once you mix it together it will be sort of pasty, but still runny in texture – this is so that it will coat the chicken lightly, but not be too thick. I like to do this step while the oil is heating up and then drop the chicken pieces right into the pan.
I should also mention that I don’t actually deep fry the chicken. I pour some peanut oil into my wok until there is about an inch of oil in the pan. Then, once it’s hot I drop in the chicken pieces as I’m coating them – you don’t want to add it all into the pan at once. Otherwise the chicken won’t cook evenly and crisp up. When they are ready, they will be very lightly golden in color. Pull the chicken pieces out of the oil and drain on paper towels while you continue with the rest.
Once all of the chicken is done, I discard the oil, wipe out the pan and then use the same pan to make the sauce. Once your sauce is done you just toss the chicken in and you’re done! We enjoyed this over white rice for a fun weeknight treat. If you want to lighten things up and not have the extra step of frying, you can easily just stir-fry the chicken and then toss it with the sauce. The same flavors will be there and you’ll have a healthier version. I plan on trying this very soon!
You can even add in some vegetables or serve it over cauliflower rice to really lighten things up. That’s the best part of making your own takeout – you can make it exactly how you want to!
When I first started testing the sauce for this recipe, I originally used a lot more chili paste. I figured the sugar would balance the heat out nicely. Well, it was so spicy that I burned my mouth and couldn’t comfortable eat anything for a few hours. Needless to say, chili paste is hot stuff and a little goes a long way! We like things spicy here and even 2 tablespoons was too much for us, so start with less and you can always add more if you want things spicier!
If you’re trying to cut down on eating out to save money, calories, or any other reason, then it’s time to start making your own takeout! You’ll know exactly what you’re putting into it and can modify it however you like – plus, it’s fun! This general tso chicken recipe will definitely scratch the Chinese takeout itch.
- Peanut Oil, for frying
- 1 lb. Boneless Chicken Breasts, cut into cubes
- 1 Egg White
- 2 Tablespoons Chicken Broth
- ¼ Cup Cornstarch
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Peanut Oil
- 3 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
- 1 Teaspoon Freshly Grated Ginger
- 2 Teaspoons Gluten-Free Soy Sauce, or regular soy sauce
- 1- ½ Tablespoons Chili Paste*
- 2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
- 6 Tablespoons Sugar*
- 2 Teaspoon Cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoon Chicken Broth
- Hot Cooked White Rice
- Fresh Scallions, chopped
- Pour the peanut oil into a large skillet or wok until you have about an inch up the sides. Turn the heat on to medium-high and let the oil heat up while you prepare the chicken.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg white, chicken broth, and cornstarch until smooth. The mixture will be somewhat pasty, but still runny in texture.
- Coat each chicken piece in the cornstarch mixture, letting the excess drain off before adding it to the hot oil.
- Cook the chicken pieces in 2 batches, until cooked through and very lightly golden in color, about 3-5 minutes. Flip the chicken pieces about halfway through cooking.
- Drain the chicken pieces on paper towels and set aside while you make the sauce.
- Discard the oil and wipe the pan out. Heat a teaspoon of peanut oil over medium-high heat and add in the garlic and ginger. Sauté for 1 minute.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, chili paste, vinegar, and sugar.
- Add the sauce mixture to the pan and bring to a simmer.
- Whisk together the cornstarch and chicken broth and then add it into the pan. Bring to a boil and cook until thick, about 30 seconds. Toss in the chicken to coat with the sauce.
- Serve the chicken over rice and top each portion with scallions.
- *This amount of chili paste make for a spicy sauce. Start with 1 teaspoons and work your way up if you don't want it too spicy. Just add more in at the end if you need more spice. I find 1 tablespoon to be the perfect amount of heat for us.
- *I tried this sauce with honey instead of sugar and did not like the result. You could really taste the flavor of the honey and it was just too overpowering to the other flavors. I recommend using regular white sugar.