I’ve always seen that little spicy icon next to General Tso’s Chicken on a menu, and it scared me away from trying it. I don’t get along with spicy foods, but when Justin found this recipe he wanted to try, I figured I would give it a chance.
Making recipes like this at home gives me the opportunity to modify it so that it works well for our family. I knew the boys wouldn’t want this with the spicy sauce on it, so after I cooked the chicken, I saved set aside a few pieces for them before putting all of the chicken in the sauce.
Funny story about this recipe: I tried to make it one night, and didn’t realize that I only took out one chicken breast instead of two. It let us get a taste of the recipe, and we both liked it, but it was nowhere near enough to make a meal out of it. And I forgot to cook the rice. And Justin wanted green pepper in it that I forgot as well.
Since we knew we liked the flavor, we said we would try again in a few nights when Justin didn’t have meetings, and the boys didn’t have their swim lessons. This time, once we made it with everything we wanted, and made enough of it, we were extremely pleased with the recipe!
The original recipe doesn’t say to make it with rice, but it’s a little plain without it as we learned the first night. Also, the photos show the chicken on a bed of white rice, but I always cook with brown rice, so I made that instead. The recipe doesn’t have green pepper in it either, but Justin wanted that, and it did add a lot to the flavor of the dish (not to mention gave us a bit of veggies in the dinner).
Step by Step
I started by preparing the rice in my rice steamer, then cutting the chicken breasts into bite-sized chunks and coating them with cornstarch. It took about 1/4 cup of cornstarch. This was the first time I had ever used cornstarch as a breading, and I liked the texture that the chicken had much better than breading with flour or breadcrumbs.
Add some oil to a frying pan and cook chicken, turning a few times, until it is cooked through. This took about 10-15 minutes for me, and I had the oil at a medium temperature. I hate when the oil splatters, so I prefer to slowly fry foods instead of turning the heat up quickly.
As the chicken cooks, whisk together the rice vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, water, sugar, and cornstarch to form the sauce. I found that it settled a bit as it sat waiting, so made sure to stir it every so often. The hoisin sauce can be found in the same aisle as the soy sauce, and rice vinegar will either be near those foods as well or near the other kinds of vinegar in the store.
After the chicken has cooked, remove it from the pan and put it on a cooling rack so the oil can drip off of it while you finish the rest of the meal. Hint: place a towel or paper towels under the rack to help catch the oil for easier cleanup later.
Either drain the oil or use a different pan if you don’t want to move the hot oil. If you remove it, leave about a tablespoon to cook the garlic in. If you use a new pan, add one tablespoon of oil to the pan and warm the oil. Add the cayenne, ginger, and garlic to the oil and stir for about 30 seconds.
Add the diced green peppers to the pan and cook for a minute or two to soften slightly. Then add the chicken as well as the sauce (after giving it a quick stir) and cook, continually stirring, for about a minute, so the chicken gets coated with the sauce and it warms everything together.
Serve the meal warm over rice and add a few sesame seeds to garnish.
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Quick & Easy General Tso’s Chicken
- 2 cups rice (cooked)
- 2 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- oil for frying
- 1 tbsp ginger (minced)
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 green bell pepper (diced)
- 1 tsp sesame seeds (for garnish)
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp hoisin sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- Prepare rice according to directions
- Cut chicken into bite-sized chunks and coat with cornstarch
- In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat
- Once oil is warm, add chicken and cook until done, turning occasionally
- Meanwhile, whisk together sauce ingredients
- After chicken is cooked, remove from the pan and place on a wire cooling rack to let oil drip off
- Drain oil (except for about 1 tablespoon) and add the cayenne pepper, garlic, and ginger
- Cook for about 30 seconds then add diced green pepper
- Once pepper has softened slightly, add the chicken and sauce to the pan, stirring to coat
- Serve chicken warm over rice and garnish with sesame seeds