20 Minute Meals: General Tso’s Chicken

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Hey there, hungry people! Today I want to share with you a mouthwatering recipe that pays homage to the legendary General Tso. But first, did you know that General Tso was an actual person?

The Delicious Legend of General Tso’s Chicken

Yep, his name was Zuo Zongtang, but us Westerners have a bit of trouble with names that are harder than “Smith,” so he became known as General Tso.

Now, General Tso was quite an important figure in the 1800s, doing all sorts of important things and stuff (you know how generals are). However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that his name became synonymous with one of the most beloved Chinese dishes of all time—General Tso’s Chicken. And let’s be honest, that will always be his greatest culinary achievement.

You might be wondering why my General Tso’s Chicken is sharing a box with a happy roll of Panda Bear Onigiri. Well, my friends, this delightful combination was created for last week’s Bento Box challenge. I can’t wait to enjoy this scrumptious meal throughout the entire week!

Now, let’s talk about this fantastic General Tso’s Chicken recipe. Not only is it a delicious way to honor the great General, but it’s also quick, simple, and absolutely delightful. From prep to table, dinner is ready in about 20 minutes, making it perfect for those busy evenings when you’re craving a flavorful homemade meal.

Here’s What You’ll Need

  • Chicken breasts: The main protein component of the dish.
  • Broccoli: Adds a nutritious and vibrant vegetable element to the dish.
  • Cubanelle pepper: Provides a mild and slightly sweet flavor to enhance the overall taste.
  • Chili peppers: Adds a spicy kick to the dish for those who enjoy some heat.
  • Ginger: Adds a distinct and aromatic flavor to complement the other ingredients.
  • Water: Used as a base for the sauce and to adjust its consistency.
  • Brown sugar: Adds a subtle sweetness and helps balance the flavors.
  • Soy sauce: Provides a savory umami flavor to the sauce.
  • Ketchup: Adds a tangy and slightly sweet element to the sauce.
  • Hoisin sauce: Contributes a rich and savory flavor to the dish.
  • Sesame oil: Used for cooking the chicken and vegetables, imparting a distinct nutty taste.
  • Olive oil: Used for cooking the chicken and provides a neutral cooking medium.
  • Egg white: Helps create a coating for the chicken, giving it a crispy texture.
  • Cornstarch: Used in the egg mixture and sauce to thicken and bind the ingredients.
  • Fresh parsley: Adds a fresh and herbaceous note to the dish.

Let’s Jump On Into It!

The secret to achieving that crispy and flavorful coating on the chicken lies in the egg bath. In a small bowl, combine the egg whites, cornstarch, salt, and pepper until you get a goopy and thick mixture.

Cube the chicken and let it luxuriate in the egg bath, making sure each piece is well-coated. Once that’s done, it’s time to get cooking!

Heat up a wok and grease it with a combination of olive oil and sesame oil. Let the oils heat up, then add the chicken, allowing it to brown on each side.

While the chicken is sizzling away, it’s time to prepare the tantalizing sauce that gives General Tso’s Chicken its signature flavor.

In a measuring cup or bowl, whisk together water, soy sauce, cornstarch, brown sugar, crushed Chile peppers (adjust the amount to your spice preference), hoisin sauce, and ketchup. This sauce is the perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and slightly spicy flavors.

Once the chicken is cooked through, add in some chopped broccoli, sliced bell peppers, and minced ginger to the wok, along with an extra drizzle of sesame oil. Stir everything together, making sure the veggies are nicely coated in oil, and let them cook for a couple of minutes.

This adds a fresh and vibrant element to the dish, enhancing both the flavor and the visual appeal.

Now comes the moment we’ve been waiting for—pour that heavenly sauce over the chicken and veggies in the wok. Let it bubble away for a few minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together and the sauce to thicken into a luscious coating.

Once the sauce has reached the perfect consistency, it’s time to serve up your delicious creation. Plate the General Tso’s Chicken alongside a generous portion of fluffy steamed rice and some fresh steamed veggies. The combination of tender chicken, vibrant vegetables, and the rich flavors of the sauce will transport your taste buds straight to flavor paradise.

Tips & Tricks

  • Prep ahead: Cut the chicken, chop the vegetables, and measure out the ingredients before you start cooking. This will help streamline the cooking process and ensure everything is ready to go.
  • Adjust the spice level: If you prefer a milder dish, you can reduce or omit the chili peppers. On the other hand, if you love heat, you can add more chili peppers or even include some red pepper flakes for an extra kick.
  • Customize the veggies: While the recipe suggests broccoli and cubanelle pepper, feel free to experiment with other vegetables you enjoy. Sliced carrots, snap peas, or bell peppers would all be great additions.
  • Achieving the perfect sauce consistency: If you find that your sauce is too thick, you can add a little more water to thin it out. Alternatively, if it’s too thin, you can mix a small amount of cornstarch with water separately, then gradually add it to the sauce while simmering, until it reaches your desired thickness.
  • Serve with steamed rice: General Tso’s Chicken pairs beautifully with steamed rice. Jasmine or basmati rice work particularly well, but feel free to use your favorite variety. The rice will help balance the flavors and absorb the delicious sauce.
  • Garnish for added flair: Consider garnishing your dish with some sesame seeds or chopped green onions for an extra touch of visual appeal and flavor.
  • Double the recipe for leftovers: General Tso’s Chicken makes fantastic leftovers. If you’re cooking for a smaller group, consider doubling the recipe to enjoy it for lunch or dinner the next day.

So, hungry people, now you have the recipe for an amazing General Tso’s Chicken that will leave you wanting more.

Don’t be shy—indulge in this delightful dish and savor every bite. Let the legacy of General Tso live on in your kitchen as you whip up this crowd-pleasing masterpiece.

Until next time, keep exploring the world of delicious homemade meals!

onigiri bento

20 Minute General Tso’s Chicken

The Starving Chef
Delight in the bold flavors of General Tso's Chicken—tender chicken, crisp vegetables, and a savory-sweet sauce, served over steamed rice.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, Chinese
Servings 2



  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine the egg white and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Stir until fully combined. Add the cubed chicken to the bowl and season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  • Heat a wok (or large skillet) over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Allow the excess egg mixture to drip off the chicken before adding it to the hot wok. Stir the chicken every 2-3 minutes, browning it on each side until it is cooked through, for about 8-10 minutes in total.
  • While the chicken is cooking, in a small bowl, combine the water, brown sugar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ketchup, parsley, chili peppers (or flakes), and the remaining 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Whisk together until well blended.
  • Chop the broccoli and cubanelle pepper, and peel and slice the ginger. Add them to the wok along with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, stirring gently to coat the vegetables. Cook for approximately 2-3 minutes, then pour the sauce into the wok.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is tender and cooked, for about 2 more minutes. Remove from heat completely. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Serve the General Tso's Chicken alongside rice and enjoy!
Keyword chicken, rice
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