The tangy, spicy, and slightly sweet flavor of General Tso chicken has made it one of the favorite Chicken-America takeout foods since the 1970s. I especially love it because the meal is a perfect combination of juicy and crispy, and plenty of side dishes complement it wonderfully.
Throughout this text, I will explain each combination of flavors in detail to help you decide on the perfect General Tso Chicken side dish. So, let’s dive into the sea of possibilities!
Steamed Bao Buns
Steamed Bao buns are slightly more complicated to prepare but make a lovely side dish to General Tso chicken. Combined with this meal, Bao buns filled with vegetables make a better option than those filled with meat.
To make these buns, you will need flour, yeast, sugar, and warm water for the dough, as well as sesame oil, stick leek, cabbage, carrot, bell pepper garlic, tofu, tamari sauce, chili paste, and salt for filling. They take more than two hours to prepare. However, you may also find them in the frozen section in some stores, making the preparation process significantly shorter.
Vegetable Stir-Fried Noodles
Another common and easy-to-make addition to Chinese takeout, vegetable noodles make a delicious side dish for General Tso chicken. The meal takes 15-25 minutes to prepare. It includes noodles, oil, seasoning, bell peppers, carrots, green onion, cabbage, zucchini, green chilies, or any other vegetable of your choosing.
I usually cook the noodles in a saucepan and stir-fry vegetables in a skillet or wok for 2 or 3 minutes. Then I add noodles to the vegetables, season, and toss it all for 2 minutes. It’s best served warm with your General Tso chicken.
If you wish to have an extra crunch with your General Tso chicken, try serving it with spring rolls. This deep-fried meal is a Chinese classic that is inexpensive and simple to make.
Though it takes 40 minutes to 1 hour to prepare, it will reward you with a delicious, savory flavor. The basic filling contains carrots, Chinese chives, bean sprouts, and mushrooms, such as shitake, but you can also add bamboo shoots, baby Bok Choy, cabbage, or any other vegetables of your choosing. Aside from that, you will need oyster sauce, sesame oil, pepper, salt, and eggs.
If classic spring rolls are a bit too much, I suggest a lighter option — fresh vegetable rolls. Simply chop the vegetables, season them, and wrap them in rice wrappers. There are also amazing options in the frozen sections of supermarkets, so if you don’t want to spend so much time on them, this is a great “plan B”!
Served with General Tso chicken, this Chinese breakfast meal is a great alternative to rice or noodles. Flaky and crispy, with a mild taste, scallion pancakes match well with the juicy and spicy flavor of the chicken.
Ingredients for this meal are flour, water, chopped scallions or green onions, sesame oil, and seasoning. First, mix flour with warm water to make the dough. Divide and roll out the dough, and sprinkle it with salt, pepper oil, and chopped scallions. Roll in the pancake with all ingredients, then roll it out to make it round and flat and pan-fry until golden brown. Delicious!
Steamed rice is the most common side dish to any Chinese food. It is a simple meal that takes no more than 15 minutes to make. You can use any rice you like — long, medium, short grain, African, Asian, or basmati rice. However, if you lean more toward traditional variants, Jasmine rice is the best choice.
Place the amount of rice you wish to cook into a bowl, fill it with water, and wash it 3 or 4 times. Drain the rice in the colander, transfer it to the saucepan, pour in the water, and bring it to a simmer at high heat. Once the water starts to boil, turn the heat low, and cook it for another 10 to 12 minutes.
The herbal aroma and soft texture of mustard greens make a lovely contrast to juicy, spicy, and crunchy General Tso chicken. It is a simple and healthy meal. Aside from mustard greens, it contains minced garlic, pepper, salt, olive oil, and water.
Preparation of this meal takes about 25 minutes, and all you need is to wash mustard greens, chop them to a bitesize, and toss them with sauteed garlic in a skillet with olive oil. Pour in the water, bring it to a simmer, then cover the skillet for 10-15 minutes.
Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts
Kung Pao Brussels sprouts are a healthy and flavorful side dish that makes a perfect pair to any chicken meat. You can make it easily at home by slicing Brussels sprouts in half and frying them in vegetable oil with minced garlic, ginger, red chilis, a sauce containing cornstarch, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, water, and roasted peanuts.
Preparation of this spicy and slightly sweet dish takes up to 40 minutes. Trust me; it’s worth it.
Stir-fried Bok Choy
If you prefer a quick and warm meal on the side of General Tso chicken, consider combining it with stir-fried bok choy. Ingredients for this meal are baby bok choy, minced garlic and ginger, vegetable oil, oyster sauce, soy sauce, vegetable oil, salt, and pepper.
Thoroughly wash bok choy, slice it into bite-sized pieces, preheat vegetable oil in a wok, and toss in minced garlic and ginger. Whisk salt, pepper, soy, and oyster sauce and set it aside. Add Bok Choy leaves to wok and stir-fry for 1 or 2 minutes, pour in the sauce, and continue stir-frying until greens are tender.
In case you would rather serve General Tso chicken with crunchier greens, try stir-fried broccoli. As with bok choy, this is another healthy and quick dish you can prepare with vegetable oil, minced garlic and ginger, salt, pepper, oyster sauce, and soy sauce.
It is also one of the most common sides served with General Tso chicken, so you will definitely not be disappointed.
Eggplant is a vegetable that pairs well with almost anything because of its neutral taste. It soaks up and intensifies the flavors of other ingredients mixed with it, which leaves plenty of space to get creative.
Since General Tso chicken already has a complex flavor, you don’t want to go over the top with a side dish. So plain stir-fried eggplant can make a good pair with it.
To prepare it, chop eggplant into cubes, sprinkle it with salt, and let it sit for 20 minutes until it loses traces of bitterness. Heat vegetable oil in a wok and toss in minced ginger and garlic. Add chopped onions, fry until glossy, throw in eggplant, and once it becomes tender, pour in the mix of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and brown sugar.
Stir-fried Green Beans
As one of the favorite greens in Chinese cuisine, stir-fried green beans are another dish that would work well with General Tso chicken. Fibrous, crunchy, and grassy meal, aside from green beans, includes minced garlic, vegetable oil, sesame seeds, soy sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar, and salt.
To make it, before frying, blanch the green beans. Heat the oil in the skillet or wok, add minced or finely chopped garlic and blanched green beans, stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, and pour in a mix of sauces and brown sugar.
Smashed Cucumber Salad
In case you find General Tso chicken is best combined with fresh sides, consider serving it with smashed cucumber salad. It is easy to make a dish that contains English cucumbers, garlic, rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, toasted sesame seed, and finely chopped scallions or green onions.
All you need is to slice cucumber, chop green onions, and mix it with the rest of the ingredients. That’s how easy it is!
Asian coleslaw is an easy-to-make salad that makes another delicious match to General Tso chicken. A combination of shredded zucchini, snap peas, broccoli stems, red and bell pepper, red onions, sweetcorns, and roasted peanuts will also make a healthy addition to Chinese-American favorite takeout.
Aside from being packed with vitamins, this salad allows you to create your own variation by adding other ingredients to it, such as apple, Chinese cabbage, red or green chili, cilantro, mint, or any other herb of your choosing.
It usually comes with sesame oil dressing, giving this salad a slightly nutty undertone.
Okra salad is a delicious side dish that pairs well with various meals. It is a simple meal favored in Asian cuisine that takes no more than 10 minutes to make.
Ingredients for this salad include okra pods chopped to a bitesize, white vinegar, tomatoes, onion, garlic, salt, vegetable oil, and pepper. Before combining all of the ingredients, blanch and drain the okra pods. Consider also adding chilies, tofu, and white cheese or seasoning the salad with oregano, cilantro, parsley or fresh basil.
Light and refreshing, zucchini salad is a delightful addition to any meal containing chicken meat. It contains chopped zucchini, red onion, olive oil, crumbled feta cheese, parsley, cilantro or basil, salt, black pepper, and lemon juice.
Try adding blanched chickpeas or black beans to make the texture more interesting. Also, consider adding a small amount of honey to create a contrasting flavor. It’s all about the balance of flavors.
If you are not in the mood to experiment, plain garden salad is the safest combination with any type of meal. All you should do is combine Iceberg salad, cucumbers, carrots, grape tomatoes, onion, herbs, and seasoning. In just 10 minutes, you will have a healthy and colorful side dish for your General Tso chicken.
If you find General Tso chicken is not crunchy enough, serving it with shrimp chips may be a quick fix. These crackers are deep-fried meals made from starch and shrimp. They are salty, light, and crisp, similar to potato chips, with an additional seafood aroma that combines well with General Tso chicken.
I love to make it at home with shrimp, tapioca powder, baking powder, white pepper, starch, and sea salt. Adding onion or garlic powder for flavoring is completely up to you and your taste. The textures and flavors are the perfect match for your General Tso!
Mustard Greens: the Perfect Side for General Tso Chicken
- 2 cups mustard greens
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- ⅓ cup water
- First, wash mustard greens, and chop them to a bitesize.
- Take a skillet, put the olive oil in, and saute the garlic.
- Toss the mustard greens with sauteed garlic in the skillet.
- Pour in the water, bring it to a simmer, then cover the skillet for 10-15 minutes.
- Serve with your General Tso chicken and enjoy the flavors!