Whether you know this as General Tso, Tao, Tso’s, or even Tse, this spicy sauce a popular across the U.S. in Chinese restaurants. While there was indeed a General Tso (sort of) and he was from the Hunan province of China neither he nor China have anything to do with this sauce. It is a completely American creation, and no one can honestly say exactly how it started.
All that being said, it is delicious. Slightly sweet and spicy it is most commonly served with chicken. I personally enjoy it with almost any stir fry from Tofu to veggies. While Becca loves to get Bourbon Chicken at the food court, I’m all in on the General Tso’s. You might also want to whip up some homemade egg rolls to serve alongside.
You can watch me make the sauce in the video below – it is the first recipe I demonstrate in my stir fry 101.
Let’s start with the sauce recipe (that’s probably why you are here), and then I will share some thoughts on what to put it on after the recipe.
General Tso’s Sauce
With this copycat recipe you can skip the drive to the food court and make delicious General Tso’s chicken (or anything else) at home.
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 Cup vegetable stock
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 6 dried red chilis
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp water
- Heat oil in small sauce pan on med-high heat
- Add dried peppers, garlic and ginger. Stir and cook until you can smell the spices started to open up, about 1 min
- Add stock, tomato paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, Hoisin sauce, and sugar.
- Whisk or stir well to combine all ingredients. Bring to a low boil, stirring continuously, about 3 min.
- Dissolve cornstarch in 2 Tbsp water and stir into sauce. Keep stirring until the sauce becomes clear again and thickens, abut 1 min.
1) If you don’t have vegetable broth you can use chicken broth or 1 cube of bullion dissolved in one cup of hot water. 2) If you can’t find the dried red chilies where you live, substitute about 1 tsp of red pepper flakes 3) If you don’t have rice vinegar, substitute white vinegar
If you want to make traditional General Tso’s chicken you will need 1-2 lbs of chicken thighs or breast. Cut into small pieces. Dust the chicken in a 50/50 mixture of cornstarch and flour, then stir fry in a wok or deep skillet. Med high heat, about 1/3 of cup of oil. Fry until golden brown and crispy and juices run clear.
Remove the chicken from the pan and drain off any excess oil. Toss the chicken with the General Tso’s sauce to coat completely. Garnish with sesame seeds and chopped green onion.
Don’t limit yourself to just chicken with this sauce. It is excellent on tofu and vegetables as well.
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