General Tso’s chicken-not quite



picture courtesy of pickled plum



This is the  second post in my Chinese food recipe trials.  My first attempt was for Egg Foo Young.   I wasn’t all that impressed with that recipe, and I wasn’t impressed with this one for General Tso’s chicken.  Both recipes can be found at Pickled plum.

I’m no expert on Chinese food and how it’s made.  Like most of us, I just ate the takeout Lo Mein, Chow Mein or Egg Foo Young and didn’t think much about it.  In fact, Chinese people don’t eat “Chinese Food”.  The Chinese food we know is a westernized concoction made for Western palates.

I had a friend in High School whose parents were of Chinese descent.  Her father would make wonderful fried rice and egg rolls, but he made them for us.  They did not eat these things.   His food brings back wonderful memories.  Unfortunately, Chinese takeout is just a memory for me.  Trying to recreate it is beginning to look futile.  And like most ethnic dishes, everyone has a different take on it, according to individual taste.  There is no “authentic” recipe for Chinese food, as real Chinese food is nothing like what we are used to.

This recipe is unusual for a couple of reasons.  The chicken is baked, and the sauce contains tomato paste.

Here is the recipe for General Tso’s chicken:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour   I used gluten free flour
  • 2 large egg, beaten
  • 2 cups crushed Corn Flakes  I used gluten free Erewhon corn flakes*
  • For the sauce:
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • ½ tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce*
  • 1½ tsp sriracha sauce I left this out
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1½ tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp corn starch mixed with 2 tbsp water
  • Optional:
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil or regular sesame oil  left it out
  • 2 Chinese dried red chiles, finely sliced (optional)  left it out
  • sesame seeds  left it out
  1. Move one of the oven racks to the upper-middle part and preheat oven to 450ºF.
  2. Cover a large baking tray with parchment paper.
  3. Place three large bowls one next to another and fill the first one with flour, the second with eggs and the last one with crushed corn flakes. I crushed the cornflakes in a large zip lock bag using my hands
  4. Dip each piece of chicken in flour and egg and cover with crushed cornflakes, while gently pressing to coat. Place on baking tray.
  5. Bake in the oven for about 13 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and cornflakes are golden brown.
  6. Meanwhile,  put all the ingredients for the sauce- except for cornstarch – in a medium size pot and bring to a gentle boil. Give the cornstarch and water a quick stir and slow add to the sauce while stirring. Cook for a minute until sauce thickens and turn the heat off.
  7. Take chicken out of the oven and transfer to a large pan. Turn the heat on to low and pour sauce over the chicken, coating each piece evenly while tossing. *If you are adding sesame seeds, sesame oil and dried red chiles, this is the time to add them.
  8. Turn the heat off, transfer to a plate and serve immediately.

* Kellogs corn flakes are NOT gluten free-they use barley malt.  The Erewhon corn flakes are just corn and salt

Wok Mei Hoisin sauce is Gluten free.  You can buy it here:

Wok Mei Gluten Free Hoisin Sauce, 8 Oz.

Joyce Chen soy sauce is gluten free.  You can buy it here.

Here is my take on this recipe:

  • The cornflakes worked well in this recipe.  Make sure you dip in flour, then egg, then the cornflakes so they stick.  Chicken was very crunchy.
  • I did not like the tomato paste in this sauce.
  • My husband is the General Tso’s expert and he said it tasted nothing like the real thing
  • I did not make this spicy.  This might have been the problem, but I don’t think so.  The problem here is that the sauce is not typical of the dish

If you would like to try this recipe, please share your experience, or any questions.

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