Sweet & spicy baked General Tso’s chicken is my version of one of my favorite dishes in American Chinese restaurants. The chicken is lightly coated and baked instead of deep-fried, making it lighter than the traditional dish but still really delicious.
General Tso’s chicken origins are based in New York City. From what I have read it isn’t even particularly popular in China. This flavorful creation has taken off in the US and can be found in Chinese restaurants nationwide.
It is similar to orange chicken as both feature a lusciously sweet and spicy sauce. Orange chicken is bright and tangy while General Tso’s tends to be spicier and has a more complex flavor.
Chicken: Either chicken thighs or breasts will work.
Egg & Flour: The egg and flour combine to create a light coating for the chicken.
Black Pepper & Cayenne Pepper: Cayenne pepper gives the coating of the chicken a spicy flavor.
Ground Ginger: Ginger is a primary flavor in this recipe.
Salt: Enhances the flavor of the chicken.
Soy Sauce: Adds salty, savory flavor.
Rice Vinegar: A little acidity from the vinegar is a great contrast with the sweet and spicy flavors.
Sesame Oil: Adds richness and sesame flavor to the sauce.
Hoisin Sauce: Hoisin sauce is thick, rich, and totally delicious. I love adding it to Asian-inspired dishes.
Hot Chili Sauce: Adds richness and spicy flavor to the sauce.
Cornstarch: Thickens the sauce, so it coats the chicken.
Garlic: Adds bright, pungent flavor.
Fresh Ginger: Fresh ginger is one of my favorite ingredients. It adds a distinctive warming, spicy flavor. I buy whole ginger root, peel it, chop it into pieces, and place it in a freezer bag. The ginger lasts a long time and is very easy to grate when frozen.
Sugar & Water: Combine to create the sweet base of the sauce.
First thing, before I forget, I get the rice prepped and start my rice cooker.
The next step is prepping the chicken. Dip the chicken in the whisked egg then roll the chicken around in the flour and spice mixture. Add each piece to a prepared sheet pan. Bake until the chicken is done and lightly browned.
I like to serve this dish with a simple roasted vegetable to round out the meal. The veggies can roast in the oven along with the chicken.
While the chicken is baking, stir together the sauce ingredients.
Next, you will cook the sauce. This process involves cooking the sugar and the water together and creating a sticky, caramelized base. Swirl the sugar and the water in a stainless steel skillet until the sugar dissolves and heat on medium, swirling occasionally, until the mixture looks slightly amber in color. Watch closely, so the mixture doesn’t burn.
Once the sugar and water mixture is caramelized, carefully pour in the sauce ingredients. It will get hot and bubbling, and you want to take care to avoid splashing. Stir as the sauce thickens.
Add the chicken to the skillet with the sauce and stir to completely coat the chicken.
Plate your rice and top with scrumptious sweet & spicy baked General Tso’s chicken. Serve with a simple roasted veggie and enjoy!
Sweet & Spicy Baked General Tso’s Chicken
- 1 chicken breast or two small chicken thighs chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 egg whisked
- ½ cup flour
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
- 1 Tbsp hot chili sauce such as Sriracha
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 garlic clove grated
- 2 tsp fresh ginger grated
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp water
- Start by chopping your chicken. Whisk the egg in a small bowl. Next, combine the flour with black pepper, cayenne, ginger, and salt in a separate bowl.
- Dip the chicken pieces in the whisked egg then dredge them in the flour mixture. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake at 400℉ for 20-25 minutes.
- While the chicken is baking, prepare your sauce. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, Hoisin sauce, hot sauce, cornstarch, garlic, and ginger to a bowl. Stir thoroughly.
- Add the sugar and water to a stainless steel skillet. Boil over medium heat, watch closely and swirl occasionally until the caramel starts to turn a light amber color. When it reaches this stage, give the other ingredients in the bowl a quick stir to make sure the corn starch is dissolved then carefully add to the skillet.
- Simmer for a few minutes as the sauce thickens. Toss the sauce with the cooked chicken pieces and serve over rice.