You will rarely see me cooking something Chinese. I find it so intimidating because I’m used to ordering it from restaurants, and I am afraid I will fail big time. However, there is one dish that I simply cannot resist – General Tso’s chicken.
After years of ordering it from my local Chinese restaurant, I finally decided to take the plunge and try making it at home. And let me tell you, it was a game-changer! In this recipe, I’ll share with you my take on General Tso’s chicken and fried rice, which is sure to impress even the most discerning Chinese food enthusiasts.
How to Make General Tso’s Chicken with Fried Rice?
Let’s start with the basics. Here is the list of ingredients you will need for each part of the recipe:
Hoisin Sauce: soy sauce, rice vinegar, molasses or honey, smooth peanut butter, garlic clove (grated), hot sauce (such as chili sauce, tabasco, sriracha), water, cornstarch.
*Of course, you can use a store-bought one and save some time. In my opinion, it’s not that easy to taste the peanut butter in the bought ones, and that’s the second reason I prefer homemade hoisin sauce. The first one is that it’s hard to find at the stores.
General Tso’s Sauce/Marinade: soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, chili sauce or chili paste, brown sugar, cornstarch, chicken broth, grated ginger, garlic (grated).
Chicken: chicken thighs (cut into bite-size pieces), cornstarch.
Additional ingredients: frying oil (such as vegetable oil), red chili flakes, spring onion (chopped), sesame seeds.
Fried rice: rice, salt, vegetable oil, onion (diced), carrot (diced), bell pepper (diced), eggs (scrambled), soy sauce.
If you read all the necessary ingredients, you may think how complicated this recipe is. To be honest, I had the same fear. But, as it turned out, most of the ingredients are just mixed together, and that’s basically it. So, I encourage you to continue reading and find out how to successfully prepare General Tso’s chicken, even if it’s your first time!
Step 1: Cook the rice
First, cook the rice in salted water and let it cool. Adjust the cooking time according to the instructions on the packaging. You can also cook the rice the day before and let it cool in the refrigerator. Do not stir the rice while cooking to prevent it from breaking apart.
Step 2: Use store-bought hoisin sauce or make one
For this recipe, you can use store-bought hoisin sauce, but if you cannot find it in your local stores, you can make your own sauce. To make homemade hoisin sauce, simply mix all the required ingredients and cook over medium heat in a small saucepan. Stir constantly to prevent the sauce from burning on the bottom, and it’s done when it thickens. Let it cool because we will soon add it to the General Tso sauce.
Step 3: Prepare General Tso’s Sauce/Marinade
Next, cut the chicken into bite-size pieces, and then prepare the sauce, which will also serve as a marinade. Making the General Tso sauce/marinade is also a simple and quick process. Mix all the ingredients except for the cornstarch and chicken broth. Dissolve the cornstarch separately in warm chicken broth (not hot!) and then add it to the rest of the marinade.
Separate 1/3 of the sauce and pour it over the chicken. Leave it for about 30 minutes to absorb the flavors. After half an hour, take the chicken and sprinkle it with cornstarch. It may seem like a lot, but we have a large amount of chicken and many pieces, and all of them need to be sprinkled with cornstarch.
Step 4: Fry the chicken
Heat the frying oil, such as vegetable oil, over medium heat and let it heat well. Add the chicken pieces to the hot oil, but do not overcrowd the pan because we will turn each piece over after 3 minutes and cook for another 3 minutes on the other side. Place the cooked chicken pieces on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
When we have cooked the chicken, pour out the oil, but leave the greasy bottom of the saucepan and briefly fry the chili flakes. Now add the remaining 2/3 of the sauce and cook until it thickens. Stir occasionally to prevent lumps and to prevent the sauce from burning on the bottom.
When the sauce has cooked and thickened, remove it from the heat and add the cooked chicken. Stir and set aside while we prepare the fried rice.
Step 5: Cook the fried rice
In the same saucepan, sauté finely chopped onion in 2 tablespoons of oil for 3 minutes, then add finely chopped carrots and bell pepper. Sauté for about 10 minutes. When you feel like the vegetables are starting to burn, add a little water (about 3 tablespoons). It is important to add water gradually, so the vegetables do not float in the water and boil. We want them to cook slowly.
After the vegetables have softened, transfer them to a bowl. Meanwhile, in the same saucepan, scramble two eggs. Constantly stir with a fork on the bottom to get small pieces of cooked eggs. The eggs cook quickly (probably less than 1 minute). Also, add them to the bowl with the vegetables.
Now, in the same saucepan, heat the rice. First, add 1-2 tablespoons of oil if needed. Do not stir the rice too much, so it does not break apart. Simply turn it over a few times to brown it slightly. Add soy sauce, vegetables, and eggs. Turn off the heat and mix all the ingredients.
To serve, place the fried rice on a plate. Add General Tso’s chicken on top and sprinkle with chopped spring onion and sesame seeds.
How to Store General Tso’s Chicken and Fried Rice?
Letting the dish cool down at room temperature is the first step in storing it. After that, see what you find more convenient. If you are looking for short-term storage, then store chicken and fried rice in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. If you have an airtight container, it can even last for up to 4 days.
I used my leftovers to make General Tso’s chicken pizza, and it was a hit!
Another way of storing is long-term, and you should use a freezer for that. Again, place your leftovers in the airtight container and store them for up to 3 months. When you decide to eat General Tso’s chicken again, simply let the chicken and rice thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat them in a saucepan until heated through.
General Tso’s Chicken with Fried Rice
- ⅕ cup soy sauce
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 1.5 tbsp molasses or honey
- 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
- 1 garlic clove grated
- 2 tsp hot sauce (such as chili sauce, tabasco, sriracha)
- 1 tbsp water
- ½ tsp cornstarch
General Tso’s Sauce/Marinade:
- 5 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 3 tsp chili sauce or chili paste
- 5 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1¼ cup chicken broth
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- 3 cloves garlic grated
- 2 lbs chicken thighs cut into bite-size pieces ((1000 grams or 35 oz))
- 1½ cup cornstarch
- 1-3 cups frying oil (such as vegetable oil)
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 spring onion chopped
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 cup rice
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion (diced)
- 1 carrot (diced)
- ½ bell pepper (diced)
- 2 eggs (scrambled)
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- Cook rice in salted water and let it cool. Adjust the cooking time according to the instructions on the package. This can be done a day ahead and kept in the fridge. Do not stir the rice while it's cooking to prevent it from breaking apart.
- *You can use store-bought sauce and skip these steps.
- To make the hoisin sauce, mix all the required ingredients and cook over medium heat in a small bowl.
- Stir constantly to prevent the sauce from burning on the bottom, and it's done when it thickens. Let it cool because we'll soon add it to the General Tso sauce.
General Tso's Sauce/Marinade
- To make General Tso’s sauce/marinade, mix all ingredients except cornstarch and chicken broth. Dissolve cornstarch in warm chicken broth and add to the mixture.
Preparing the Chicken
- Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.
- Pour ⅓ of the sauce over the chicken and marinate for 30 minutes.
- After half an hour, coat the chicken in cornstarch.
- Heat oil in a saucepan and fry chicken pieces in batches for 3 minutes on each side. Drain on a paper towel.
- Discard the oil, leaving only the residue at the bottom of the saucepan. Fry chili flakes for a few seconds, then add the remaining sauce and cook until thickened. Stir occasionally to prevent lumps from forming and to prevent the sauce from burning on the bottom.
- When you achieve the desired thickness, remove the sauce from the heat, then add the fried chicken to the sauce and stir to coat.
- In the same saucepan, sauté finely chopped onions in 2 tablespoons of oil for about 3 minutes, then add finely chopped carrots and bell peppers. Sauté everything together for about 10 minutes.
- If the vegetables start to burn, add a little water (3 tablespoons or so).
- After the vegetables have softened, transfer them to a bowl. In the meantime, in the same saucepan, scramble 2 eggs. Constantly stir with a fork at the bottom to get small pieces of cooked eggs. Eggs are done quickly (probably less than 1 minute). Place them in a bowl with the vegetables.
- Now, in the same saucepan, heat the rice, but first add 1-2 tablespoons of oil if needed. Don't stir it too much to avoid it breaking apart. Just flip it a few times to slightly brown it. Add soy sauce, vegetables, and eggs. Turn off the heat and mix all the ingredients.
- Serve fried rice on a plate, top with General Tso's chicken, chopped spring onion, and sesame seeds. Enjoy!