An authentic General Tso’s Chicken recipe straight from a Chinese native and culinary expert. Skip the sweetened Americanized versions and try the real deal!
I am so excited to introduce you to a friend of mine, Kian Lam Kho, a cookbook author, fellow blogger, and Chinese cuisine expert.
Kian wrote the handbook on all things Chinese cuisine in his debut cookbook, Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees. Today, I’m sharing his fantastic recipe for General Tso’s Chicken.
Unlike the super-sweet General Tso’s you’ll find at your local Panda Express, the real deal is garlicky, spicy, and oh-so-good.
And, thanks to Kian, you can easily make it in your own home kitchen, just in time for China’s Mid-Autumn Festival.
Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival
The Mid-Autumn Festival is a very important holiday in China (second only to the Chinese New Year). Family members share a feast and enjoy the Harvest moon. This year, the holiday falls on September 15th, the perfect time to try Kian’s General Tso’s Chicken recipe. (The traditional dessert for the festival is Moon Cakes. Try Kian’s recipe here.)
If you don’t cook a lot of authentic Chinese recipes, your pantry may be lacking certain crucial ingredients. Luckily, I’ve tracked down some options on Amazon to at least show you what to look for.
Here are the ingredients least likely to be in your pantry, from left to right.
- Chinese dried red chiles
- Hoisin sauce
- Chinkiang black vinegar
- Tapioca flour (AKA Tapioca starch)
- Shaoxing (Shaohsing) cooking wine
- Toasted sesame oil
Once you have your ingredients, the very best kitchen tool you can invest in for authentic Chinese cooking is a wok. Unless you own a crazy professional Blue Star range with the removable burners that can accommodate a round-bottom wok, you’ll want a flat-bottom wok.
Be sure to pick up a copy of Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees to learn everything you ever wanted to know about Chinese cooking, techniques, regional cuisines, ingredients, and more. Kian is a true expert!
Authentic General Tso's Chicken Recipe
For the marinade:
- 2 tablespoons Shaoxing cooking wine
- 1 large egg white
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 3/4-inch cubes
For the sauce:
- 3/4 cup chicken stock or water
- 1/4 cup Shaoxing cooking wine
- 2 tablespoons Chinkiang black vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons tapioca flour (tapioca starch)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
To make the chicken:
- 4 cups vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup tapioca flour
- 3 tablespoons garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced
- 1/4 cup dried red chiles
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons scallions thinly sliced
- Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add the chicken cubes, toss to combine, and marinate for 20 minutes.
- Whisk together all sauce ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Heat vegetable oil in a wok over high heat until shimmering around 375 degrees F. Put the tapioca flour in a large bowl, add marinated chicken, and toss to coat. Be sure to coat each piece generously.
- Fry the chicken in the hot oil in two batches until they are golden brown, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
- Remove all about 2 tablespoons of the oil from the wok. Add garlic and ginger to the wok and stir-fry for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add chiles and stir-fry for another 30 seconds.
- Whisk the sauce mixture to recombine and add to the wok. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute.
- Transfer chicken to the wok and toss to coat. Stir in sesame oil. Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions.