Chicken ala General Tso

Creating meals outside my Italian American cuisine is a challenge for me as I’ve mentioned before. For the sake of variety (and a hubby who is not Italian), I do try to broaden my cooking skills beyond Italian focused dishes. Asian dishes are my biggest challenge. I love to eat them, I just don’t feel in-sync in the kitchen while preparing them. I try to put myself at ease with the concept of Asian cooking by remembering that supposedly pasta was brought to Italy from China by Marco Polo during the 13th century. 

I’ve made Salad Rolls, Cashew Chicken, Wontons & Whiskey, and Chicken Fried Rice, with some success. Hubby loves General Tso’s Chicken and always orders it when we are eating at Chinese restaurants. Since we haven’t been able to eat in restaurants for a while due to COVID, I thought I’d try my hand at making this treasured Chinese dish. 

Before I got started, I had to look up who General Tso was and why there is a chicken dish named after him. MyRecipes says: 

“Zuo Zongtang (General Tso) was a respected Chinese statesman and military leader of the late Qing dynasty, which ruled the country from 1644 until 1912. He played an important role in the Taiping Rebellion, a civil war that was waged in China in the mid-19th century. Zuo is roughly equivalent to General Sherman in U.S. culture, according to HuffPost.”

According to Mash

“General Tso’s chicken is the most popular Chinese food item ordered in America, and it’s the fourth most popular dish overall ordered on food delivery app GrubHub (via NBC). But is General Tso’s chicken real Chinese food? And if not, where did it come from, and why is it so popular? 

General Tso’s chicken was actually invented in Taiwan (via Smithsonian Magazine). It was first cooked by chef Peng Chang-kuei, a Chinese chef who fled to Taiwan during Mao Zedong’s communist reign. He was inspired by traditional Hunanese cooking when he first made the dish in Taiwan. This original iteration of General Tso’s chicken is a lot different than what we see today, …. it was sour, hot, and salty.”

Well, I decided to make my own version of General Tso’s Chicken (did you expect anything else)? It turned out quite tasty and hubby approved – so it’s a keeper. 

Served on a bed of rice – Yum!

Chicken ala General Tso

Yields 2

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  • 1 extra large chicken breast (or 2 small), cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas (can substitute broccoli, zucchini, or your favorite veg), chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds


  1. Place chicken and cornstarch in a plastic bag. Season with salt and pepper and shake to coat.
  2. Heat oils in a fry pan over medium high heat. Cook chicken in batches until golden (about 7 minutes). Remove from the pan and drain on a plate covered with paper towel.
  3. Add garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Pour in chicken broth and stir around, scraping up bits from the pan.
  4. Whisk hoisin sauce, honey, soy sauce, lime juice with a little cornstarch. Add to skillet and simmer until slightly thickened.
  5. Add sugar snap peas, carrots, onions, and celery to the sauce in the frypan and cook until tender-crisp. Return chicken to the pan and stir to coat with sauce. Simmer for about a minute.
  6. Serve over rice or noodles.

An alternative General Tso sauce:
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

In a small mixing bowl whisk ingredients together. Mix with chicken.

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