America’s most favorite Chinese dish, General TSO’s chicken got its spicy makeover in my kitchen and turned out to be truly sensational! Spicy, tangy, salty & sweet – the combination of flavors is truly sensational!
I am sure you all have had your fair share of General TSO’s chicken at your favorite Chinese restaurant and I am no exception as well! General TSO’s chicken has been at the top of all Chinese diners’ menu since a long time because of all the love it garners from us all!
The reason that General TSO’s chicken has become so prominent among many other Chinese delicacies by beating its counterparts is primarily its flavors. My recipe of General TSO’s chicken is in no way the authentic version, but it’s my take on this favorite dish of mine, with a spicy kick!
If you are in the US and are familiar with the American version of General TSO’s chicken, then chances are that you are accustomed to the sweeter style of this dish. We, the spice-loving-Indians, tend to add a little kick of heat along with the sweetness into our life as well as our food!
My General TSO’s chicken has minimal sweetness as neither I nor my hub likes too much sweetness in savory dishes. But this General TSO’s chicken recipe is totally customizable and can be adapted to your liking – make it sweeter, spicier or even tangier as per your choice!
During my very first trip to America, I was quite surprised when I found that American Chinese is mostly on the sweeter side than salty. It took me a while to get adjusted to this discovery during my short stay as I wasn’t much fond of overtly sweet chicken dishes.
When I make General TSO’s chicken, I do keep an element of sweetness by adding little amount of honey to balance the flavors with other salty & tangy condiments like soy sauce, Shaoshing wine and Hoisin sauce, which by the way is my own secret ingredient for my version of TSO’s chicken.
I know that Hoisin sauce too has its own sweetness but it also has multi-dimensional flavors; by that I simply mean that it adds smokiness & pungency along with sweetness which enhances the overall depth of flavor of General TSO’s chicken which is the USP of this dish!
I believe that traditionally Chinese black vinegar is used in this recipe as mentioned by Marion in her recipe of General TSO’s chicken; but I could not get my hands on that classic Chinese condiment and hence entered Hoisin sauce which turned out to be the perfect substitute!
Now you may be wondering where is the “spicy quotient” in Flavor Quotient’s General TSO’s chicken! I have claimed it to be the spicier version of classic General TSO’s chicken & that spiciness comes from the bunch of dry red chilies which are stir-fried along with ginger & garlic before the sauce is poured in!
These dry red chilies add beautiful spicy kick without being too overpowering. It complements the epic sauce which is a mind-blowing combination of sauces like soy sauce, Hoisin sauce, vinegar and honey along with aromatics like ginger & garlic. The balance of flavors in the sauce is simply perfect!
The crispy fried chicken pieces, which have a crispy coating of corn flour & all-purpose flour, soak up the sauce beautifully and transform into the most incredible version of General TSO’s chicken ever! Trust me guys, this recipe is a must-try! Especially when the trip to our favorite restaurants has become more infrequent that ever!
Thankfully this recipe of General TSO’s chicken is absolutely easy & simple to make; only hard work involved is gathering all ingredients and you are sorted. Serve it up with plain white rice, sprinkle freshly chopped green onion and to add the gourmet look, scatter white sesame seeds on top! Best of fine dining at home! Enjoy!
- Chicken thighs – 500 gms, boneless & skinless
- Egg – 1
- Soy sauce – 1 tsp
- Baking soda – 1 tsp
- Salt – ¼ tsp
- Corn flour – 1 cup
- All-purpose flour – ½ cup
- Chicken stock/water – ½ cup
- Dark soy sauce – 2 tbsp
- Shaoshing wine – 1 tbsp
- White vinegar – 2 tbsp
- Hoisin sauce – 2 tbsp
- Red chilli sauce/any hot sauce – 2 tbsp
- Honey – 1 tbsp
- Corn flour – 1 tbsp
- Dry red chili – 8
- Garlic – 10 to 12 cloves, coarsely chopped
- Ginger – 2-inch piece, julienned
- Spring onion – 5 stalks, finely chopped
- Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp for sauce + enough for deep frying the chicken
- Cut the chicken thighs into small bite-sized pieces. Take them in a bowl and add egg, soy sauce, baking soda and salt. Give a good mix and let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes while you prepare other ingredients.
- Prepare the sauce by mixing all the ingredients listed under sauce in a bowl – Chicken stock/water, soy sauce, Shaoshing wine, vinegar, Hoisin sauce, hot sauce, honey and corn flour. Make sure all items are mixed well to make an even sauce.
- Now heat oil for deep frying the chicken in a deep wok. Mix the corn flour and all-purpose flour in a shallow bowl by giving a good mix using a fork.
- Transfer the marinated chicken along with all the liquid to the flour & corn flour mixture. Toss the chicken pieces into the flour mixture to coat each piece with flour on all side.
- Now drop the chicken into hot oil and fry them until they become golden brown & crispy and completely cooked through. It would take about 6 to 8 minutes on medium flame. Do not overcrowd the wok while frying; you may have to fry the chicken in batches.
- Once the chicken pieces turn golden brown, take them out and place on a plate lined with absorbent kitchen towel.
- Now heat a wok and add about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Once the oil is very hot, add chopped garlic, ginger juliennes, dry red chillies and stir fry them on high for a minute or until they are fragrant.
- Now pour the prepared sauce into the wok; make sure to stir the sauce before pouring into the wok as cornflour tends to settle down at the bottom of the bowl when left to rest.
- Stir in the sauce to mix well with ginger, garlic and red chillies. As soon as the sauce starts to bubble, throw in the fried chicken pieces and stir to mix them well with the sauce. Make sure each chicken is evenly coated with the sauce on all side.
- Sprinkle freshly chopped green onions on top and give a final stir. Your spicy General TSO's chicken is ready to serve! Enjoy!