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General Tso Recipe

Old 06-06-18, 09:20 AM
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General Tso Recipe

I have been trying, for more than few years, to find a good at-home General Tso recipe. I love the stuff more than words can describe. I have failed over and over again. The recipes are either very time & ingredient intensive or produce an end product that sucks.

Last night I finally came up with a good receipe. It produces a perfect, quick, General Tso.

The basics are: coat the chicken with cornstarch and fry, then add Tso & Sambal Sauce.


1) 3# boneless chicken thighs, cubed. I make the butcher do this, since I am lazy. Buying boneless thighs and cubing them is pretty easy also. Important: buy boneless or have the butcher do it, unless you're an expert.

2) 2 cups cornstarch with a healthy dose of pepper and salt and a couple of tablespoons of sugar. Dump the 3# of cubes in and stir till coated. I add enough pepper so that it looks dirty. I also use a fine salt and pepper grind, but, whatever you got.

3) Add some veg oil to a deep pot. I use a pasta pot, with a lid, cover the bottom with about an inch to two of oil and heat it very hot. Add the chicken and cook 3 minutes. Remove and allow to drain. I do this in four batches so as to not overcrowd the pot. This is by far the most time intensive part. I do this with the lid on to reduce the mess. A spider or deep-fryer helps, but I just use tongs and a pasta pot. Cause this is the lazy mans version.

4) (Optional) Refry the chicken. Take the first batch and refry it for a minute. This gets it super crispy. Then do the second, third and fourth batch. IE: doing the most cooled batch first.

5) You steamed some broccoli, right? A half cup of water, lid on a skillet with some cut up brocolli for a minute or so. Drain it and add the chicken chunks.

6) MAGIC. Add a jar of commercial General Tso Sauce. I use House of Tsang. Whatever. Doesn't matter. Cause then you are going to add a jar of Sambal sauce. This is a hot & sour sauce. I got mine at Aldi. It's labeled Hot & Sour Vietnamese style Sambal sauce. Cook this mixture on high until heated through. It will thicken up.



If I had time I would marinate the chicken the night before in soy, vinegar, lime juice, garlic, and gin. Whatever, it's not life changing either way.


Commercial Tso sauces tend to be too sweet and I like mine a little spicier. The Sambal is the magic. Hot, and a little sour. It's a good add on to kick things up.


My personal odyssey is now over. I may now rest, having accomplished my life goal of fast, easy, good General Tso at home.


Look upon my works ye mortals and despair.

Last edited by bryce0lynch; 06-06-18 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 06-06-18, 09:53 AM
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Re: General Tso Recipe

Thanks for sharing. I don't cook, but I do love me some General Tso!
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Old 06-06-18, 10:26 AM
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Re: General Tso Recipe

Well done. I imagine clean up is a bit of a bitch.
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Old 06-06-18, 10:29 AM
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Re: General Tso Recipe

Listen, pal. I'm not going to just 'go on the Internet' to get a recipe from some rando I've never even met.

Looks good, though, and I will try it.

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Old 06-06-18, 10:55 AM
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Re: General Tso Recipe

Looks good, even though I prefer building my own sauces for Asian foods just because everything tends to contain shellfish and I'm allergic.
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Old 06-06-18, 10:58 AM
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Re: General Tso Recipe

Sounds delicious! I love cooking Chinese food at home; will have to try this. You hit on something with the double frying--that's how you get korean wings extra crispy, too.
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Old 06-06-18, 11:16 AM
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Re: General Tso Recipe

The problem with General Tso is that it usually very different from one restaurant to the next (in my experience), so what you expect it to taste like might be very different from what someone else expects it to taste like.
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Old 06-06-18, 11:36 AM
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Re: General Tso Recipe

Yeah, the issues you folks listed is why it's taken me more than a few years. I want it easy to do/cleanup, not fiddly, and tasting good. Not easy to accomplish.

This isn't Christmas Dinner Tso, but Monday night I got home 20 minutes ago Tso.

The "build up the sauce" stuff is interesting but it takes forever, is fiddly, and typically requires a zillion niche ingredients. "Buy fresh tamarand pods picked within the last 6 hours."

I'm not going to debone thighs or even mince garlic for this. I wanted Tso that was almost as trivial as opening a bag.

Cleanup is good. By frying in a deep pasta pot with a lid on the messiest part is resolved. All skillets should be, of course, non stick.

The quality of Tso from the various places is an issue, as you point out. It's like of like chili. Chili is what your mom made you and everything else is an imposter. At least this way I get the sweetness from the commercial sauce and the spicyness from the Sambal. The strip mall places only rarely get it spicy enough for me.

Easy chicken. Easy coating. Easy Frying. Easy Sauce.
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Old 06-06-18, 12:21 PM
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Re: General Tso Recipe

Even easier if you just buy takeout, slight inconsistencies aside.
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Old 06-06-18, 12:26 PM
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Re: General Tso Recipe

General Tso's Chicken is my favorite. In fact, I just literally had it for lunch from a take-out place and it's nice and crispy. I'd bet they do the double-frying because nowhere else does it this crispy.

I've made GTC from time to time at home and follow pretty much all you do, though the Sambal is new to me. I'll have to try that. We moved about 4 blocks from an Aldi so it's right there. It's weird, but my spouse gets all weird about frying foods at home and thinks nothing of it if it comes from a restaurant so she's not a fan of me making it at home, even though I can control the ingredients better. That said, it's been years so maybe this will change if I give it another try this summer. May be fun to make with our kids.
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Old 06-06-18, 12:50 PM
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Re: General Tso Recipe

Originally Posted by TomOpus View Post
Even easier if you just buy takeout, slight inconsistencies aside.
I've done this before. Get two orders of Pad Pede Nir and eat half of one for lunch each day. Heaven!
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Old 06-06-18, 08:22 PM
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Re: General Tso Recipe

I thought Generals were tough, how do you get them tender and crispy?
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Old 06-06-18, 08:26 PM
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Re: General Tso Recipe

The real General Tso was anything but.
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Old 06-06-18, 09:20 PM
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Re: General Tso Recipe

Originally Posted by Obi-Wan Jabroni View Post
The problem with General Tso is that it usually very different from one restaurant to the next (in my experience), so what you expect it to taste like might be very different from what someone else expects it to taste like.
Yeah, it really is.

It's generally a sweet and spicy sauce, but some tend to be more tangy/vinegary, some seem to have more savory/soy sauce flavor.

I notice that a lot with Chinese food. There's a ton of variation in the sauces and ingredients. I also don't think I've ever had two restaurants sweet and sour chicken taste the same either.
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Old 06-07-18, 10:47 AM
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Re: General Tso Recipe

This is a wonderful thread. I never considered a pasta pot as a deep fryer.
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Old 06-07-18, 11:52 AM
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Re: General Tso Recipe

Originally Posted by The Bus View Post
This is a wonderful thread. I never considered a pasta pot as a deep fryer.

Yup, for some of the Blue Apron stuff I cook that is splatteriffic I have wondered if I would be better served using a real deep pot and putting a lid on it (putting a lid on a skillet just makes a god-awful mess and does not really tamp down on the splatter because when I lift the lid I realize I made things worse with all of the condensed water from the lid making tons more splatter and a mess than I intended, even covering loosely with foil still makes a nasty mess).

I think I tried this with a medium/large pot but it was still not ideal. I suspect I need to use an almost comically deep pot so once I lift the lid any residual grease popping does not make its way out of the pot.

I would be happy to hand clean (it would probably not fit in my apartments provided but smallish dishwasher) that sucker multiple times a week if it saves me from the labor/time intensive task of having to clean up the stove top, floor along the oven, and nearest counter of grease/food splatter.

Also, I might give this recipe a try as it seems easy peasy to put together
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Old 06-08-18, 09:12 AM
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Re: General Tso Recipe

I love cooking Asian food. But when it comes to dishes that require breading/frying the meat, I'd rather just order delivery. When you factor in the cost of the ingredients, plus the time and effort spent on preparing, cooking and cleaning everything, it's just not worth it.

When I want quick and simple Tso's/Sesame/Teriyaki/Orange/etc, I'll use frozen popcorn chicken (baked until crispy) and a jar of sauce. Sometimes I'll jazz it up with large chunks of onion, peppers and pineapple.
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Old 06-08-18, 12:12 PM
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Re: General Tso Recipe

Hmmm, I may try "overdone" popcorn chicken with my 1/2 and 1/2 sauce mixture.
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Old 06-08-18, 12:33 PM
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Re: General Tso Recipe

Originally Posted by TheBigDave View Post
I love cooking Asian food. But when it comes to dishes that require breading/frying the meat, I'd rather just order delivery. When you factor in the cost of the ingredients, plus the time and effort spent on preparing, cooking and cleaning everything, it's just not worth it.

When I want quick and simple Tso's/Sesame/Teriyaki/Orange/etc, I'll use frozen popcorn chicken (baked until crispy) and a jar of sauce. Sometimes I'll jazz it up with large chunks of onion, peppers and pineapple.
The Trader Joe's frozen Tso's is actually not half bad.
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Old 06-08-18, 07:46 PM
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Re: General Tso Recipe

Originally Posted by The Bus View Post
The Trader Joe's frozen Tso's is actually not half bad.
Came here to say this. TJís frozen shit is restaurant quality and way better than any fast food Chinese Iíve had.
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Old 06-10-18, 06:20 PM
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Re: General Tso Recipe

Interesting history of that dish, in this documentary:

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