General Tso’s Chicken

October 14, 2017
General Tso's Chicken - Named for a 19th-century general, Tso Tsung-t’ang, a homemade remake of one of the most popular Chinese takeout dishes.

“I'm so glad we live in a world where there are Octobers”     ~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

General Tso's Chicken - Named for a 19th-century general, Tso Tsung-t’ang, a homemade remake of one of the most popular Chinese takeout dishes.

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Of all of the seasons, I'm most excited about living in; fall is at the top of my list.

Filled to the brim with dates at the park, trips to the apple orchard, and cozy weekends when your husband starts looking for the fireplace supplies.  My favorite coffeeshop's signature drink has returned, and the outside world is settling back into a routine after lots of summer fun

It's as if we all have permission to nest now.  To curl up within our four walls with a good book and a broken-in sofa to ease back into warmth + real + home.  It's on that sofa I sit, feeling like time is on my side (yes it is, though probably just for tonight)

True confessions?  The past few months, I haven't felt very interested in writing about food.  I'm not entirely certain why that is, but I've stopped fighting against it.  But (of course) I'm still cooking because I truly love to cook.  In fact, wafting from the oven is another batch of Maple Walnut Apple Crisp ..

my second in the past week

I can also tell you I also just ordered a copy of Melissa Clark's new cookbook Dinner in an Instant.

Mostly because our neighbor has an Instant Pot. Hers is in on the kitchen counter. Mine is in the basement and still in its box. She keeps reminding me that I'm the food blogger, and I've yet to post any recipes for her to try.  That aside, if this new cookbook is anything like Dinner, it's going to be a showstopper

It's been my favorite cookbook this year, and I've Post-It-flagged at least fifty percent of the recipes.  I've made the Harissa Chicken with Leeks, Potatoes, and Yogurt twice now, and I think I'll make it a third before tearing myself away to focus on something else.  It's absolutely perfect

I'm planning on featuring it here, but what I really think what you should do in the meantime is order the entire cookbook.  I bought a copy for my son yesterday, and he said it makes the fifth cookbook on top of his fridge.  If ever there were a cookbook to give someone when they are just starting their collection .. Dinner is worthy.  It's also worthy, I should note, of being one's one-thousandth cookbook

Melissa Clark is a living legend

General Tso's Chicken - Named for a 19th-century general, Tso Tsung-t’ang, a homemade remake of one of the most popular Chinese takeout dishes. General Tso's Chicken - Named for a 19th-century general, Tso Tsung-t’ang, a homemade remake of one of the most popular Chinese takeout dishes.

Also notable on the kitchen front:  I've been experimenting with different recipes for General Tso's Chicken at the request of my daughter  “Mom, it's one of my favorites.  Do you have a recipe I could make at home?”

And I've finally gotten around to making the Buttermilk Biscuits from a book club pick a few months back.  I served them alongside Kathy Gunst's Fall Veggie Soup.  I'll be making both of them forever

Instead of writing about food, what I'd rather do is share with you some things that I've been reading.  I've been reading a lot over the summer months, maybe because I've been in a season of learning a lot, or maybe I'm learning a lot because I'm reading.

I'm not entirely sure

I've been accumulating a long list of stories and articles that I don't want to lost track of.  Some I share on social media, most I do not.  As we head into the weekend, I thought it might be fun to include a few of them here

How to help California and Puerto Rico     [via The Huffington Post and NBCnews]

Nigella Lawson reminds us that Instagram can make a cook dispair.  Food is brown and mushy sometimes, let's just go with it     [via The Guardian]

Can you train yourself to like spicy food?     [via The New York Times]

44 New books to read this fall     [via Vulture]

The creamy cashew sauce we've had on repeat at our house.  I'm not kidding; you're going to want to lick it off of your plate     [via Healthy-ish]

For your weekend breakfasting: How to make the Jammiest Ramen Eggs Ever.  Gorgeous, warm, almost-buttery yolks and tender whites. No weird filmy stuff happening. Incredible.  The technique, my friends, it is real     [via Bon Appetit]

7 steps to a clutter-free kitchen     [via The New York Times]

The baffling rise of Goop     [via The Atlantic]

Photo Credit – Quartz – How to Kiss?

Here we are.  But at least we're in this together.  Google's most searched “how-to” questions capture all the magic and the struggle to be human     [via Quartz]

If Halloween candy has been calling your name; some healthier alternatives     [via Food Coach NYC]

18 ways to make dinner a little easier  (ps: so many great ideas)     [via Bon Appetit]

For your holiday baking – 8 genius pie crust hacks     [via You Tube]

For everyone out there who struggles with writing?  Kamila Shamsie on writing, not writing, and thinking about writing, in the morning and in the night     [via The Guardian]

For all of us this week, Molly's Tanini Caramel Apples     [via My Name is Yeh]

Listen of the week.   “So I went home to see my parents not long ago, and everyone was talking about something online called An Open Letter to My Beloved Church.  It’s a long letter touching on family and devotion and faith in scripture.  A Mennonite pastor wrote it.  Actually, I should say an ex-Mennonite pastor, a man named Chester Wenger.  I read the letter, and I was so taken by it that I went to see him, drove 4.5 hours on one cold January day”  ~ Malcolm Gladwell via Revisionist History's Generous Orthodoxy      [transcript via Medium]

General Tso's Chicken - Named for a 19th-century general, Tso Tsung-t’ang, a homemade remake of one of the most popular Chinese takeout dishes.

A restaurant classic that's sweet, spicy, and irresistible when done right

Similar to Sesame Chicken, General Tso's Chicken is more of an American-Chinese dish.  You won't find it in China, but you will find it on almost every Chinese menu in the U.S.

“General Tso’s chicken is named for Tso Tsung-t’ang, a 19th-century general who is said to have enjoyed eating it.  The Hunanese have a strong military tradition, and Tso is one of their best-known historical figures.  But although many Chinese dishes are named after famous personages, there is no record of any dish named after Tso.  The real roots of the recipe lie in the aftermath of the Chinese civil war when the leadership of the defeated Nationalist Party fled to the island of Taiwan.  They took with them many talented people, including several notable chefs, and foremost among them was Peng Chang-Kuei.  He created this dish in 1950s Taiwan and brought it with him when he moved to the states in 1973, making it sweeter for American palates.  This version is adapted from the original, hot and sour and lacking the sweetness of its Americanized counterpart”    ~ The New York Times

A few notes about the recipe:

At our house, we make with Corn Flakes (for her) and without (for him).  Both ways are great

You'll be amazed that it was baked in the oven

Don't be afraid of putting the Cork Flakes into a blender to turn them into finer crumbs



~ Adapted from America's Test Kitchen: Comfort Food Makeovers by America's Test Kitchen

General Tso’s Chicken


  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups crushed Corn Flakes

  • Sauce
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • ¼ cup hoisin sauce
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce, reduced sodium, if you have it
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch, or arrowroot powder


  • Preheat oven to 450° F.
  • Coat a cooling rack with nonstick spray and place on a baking sheet; set aside.
  • Working in batches, dredge chicken in flour, dip into eggs, then dredge in crushed Corn Flakes, pressing to coat.
  • Place onto prepared baking sheet and coat with nonstick spray.
  • Place into oven and bake until golden brown and crisp, about 13-15 minutes.
  • In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine chicken broth, hoisin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, and cornstarch until thickened, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir in chicken and gently toss to combine.
  • Serve immediately.
Serves: 6
Nutrition + Show
Calories 353
Total Fat 8.6g
Saturated Fat 2.4g
Carbohydrates 25.4g
Fiber 1.3g
Sugars 10g
Protein 41g
Print This Recipe

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  • Reply Amallia October 14, 2017 at 3:18 am

    I have many reasons to be grateful for words you’ve written over the years. I’ve been reading them, but right now the gentle hand of yours pointing me towards Chester Wenger’s words and Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast is the one I’d like to warmly shake. Lovely, and just what was needed by a friend I care for

  • Reply Genevive October 14, 2017 at 10:16 am

    You, my dear, are a gem. A list of recommended readings from you is the perfect start to this rainy (in Toronto) October day. xo

  • Reply Abby October 14, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Thanks for the recipe Mom! Yessssss to everything in this post. A long weekend between the kids and work and your words are like a big hug from far away. ps: Can I add Dinner to my wish list too? xo

  • Reply Kelly October 14, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Thank-you for your writing. It’s funny how the internet makes the world a little smaller and how we feel like we get to know people because of the pieces of their lives they’re willing to share. It’s okay with me if you don’t feel like writing about food. I’m also interested in what you’ve been reading, and cooking, and thinking about. Thanks for the recipes, cookbook recommendation, and great reading for the weekend. x

  • Reply Beth Ann October 14, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    I love reading what you write, Ali. Whether it’s about food or not. Thank-you (as always) for your recipe and cookbook recommendations. I have bought several already this fall and it looks like I’ll be adding Dinner to my collection. x

  • Reply Liza October 14, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    I’m so glad to see this post. I check The Veggies each morning, hoping for a new one. When one shows up, my day is a bit happier because they’re an unexpected delight. Thank-you so much, Ali x

  • Reply Bethany October 15, 2017 at 12:25 am

    Dear Ali

    I love you.

    Carry on.

    You are awesome

    B xoxo

  • Reply Bill Sweeney October 15, 2017 at 7:27 am

    5 stars
    That looks awesome! I love General Tso’s Chicken. I love takeout in general, actually. I’ve never thought of making it at home though.

  • Reply Vera October 15, 2017 at 7:28 am

    5 stars
    Ahhhhh! That is so amazing! We eat takeout like it’s going out of style in my house. I can’t wait to try making a homemade version of this dish. Om nom nom.

  • Reply Tomi C October 15, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Fall is such a busy season for our family and it’s the time of year I break out my cookbooks searching for quick and easy recipes. Sounds like you, like I, have a cookbook obsession. My pantry looks like a cookbook library and I’m constantly adding more.

  • Reply Candy October 15, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Slowly catching up on your blog posts while I wait for the British operator to connect me to my brother back home. I’ve been “number one in the queue” long enough to enjoy many of the links as well. Can you believe my kids have never had Tso’s Chicken? Maybe I’ll whip up your recipe – it’s one dish that always brings great memories. x

  • Reply Joanna October 15, 2017 at 10:26 am

    I love fall too, but sadly in the south, especially in Florida, we don’t have a fall. I’d love to live one day where we do. I’m an avid cookbook collector, so I’ll have to look for her cookbook. This recipe sounds and looks so tasty!

  • Reply LaToyia Dennis October 15, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Would love to try this recipe & the America’s Test Kitchen cookbook. With three young kids, comfort food rules at our house!

  • Reply Heather October 15, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    I’ve been enjoying your blog over the years and I am not usually one to leave comments. But I wanted to finally let you know how much I enjoy your writing, especially in our world of uncertainty and discord. It’s so good to be able to laugh and remember sweetly all of our nostalgic moments and you do that so beautifully in this space.

    With much gratitude,

  • Reply Miranda October 15, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    5 stars
    I’m so bored of the current meals I’ve been making. I think this is where am going wrong, I don’t have a cookbook! The recipe seems fairly straight forward and looks so yummy! I want to try making it.

  • Reply Kim October 15, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Sounds like you have been very busy with different cookbooks…I love a hearty meal during the colder months.

  • Reply Joyce Duboise October 15, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    So much yum! Thank you for the idea. My fiancé loves General Tsos Chicken and we’ve never cooked it at home. This might just be the perfect date night meal for us.

  • Reply Bonnie G October 15, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    5 stars
    Welcome back. I missed you, recipes or not. I wish you peace and happiness in your journey through life. You remain an inspiration of grace and humor. Thanks, Ali.

  • Reply Marysa October 15, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    Looks absolutely delicious! I’ve never tried to cook this dish, but it looks like you have mastered it. I will have to give this one a try sometime, especially since I am in a cooking rut.

  • Reply ricci October 16, 2017 at 3:37 am

    I check in on the site often and am always thrilled to find something new. Love your writing and to hear about the things going on in your life. x

  • Reply Sreekar October 16, 2017 at 6:53 am

    I’ve always considered myself to be an absolute hopeless cook. However, the last few nights I tried this recipe and also your sweet-and-sour chicken. Both turned out fabulously, despite me manning the apron. I think the sweet-and-sour is still my favorite by a little bit, but both are wonderful.

  • Reply Roch October 16, 2017 at 7:07 am

    4 stars
    Yum! We recently tried General Tso’s chicken in a restaurant and this post just reminded me of it. I like writing and sharing about food, though I’m not making any recipe of them.

  • Reply Karissa October 16, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Okay that is awesome that you use crushed corn flakes! That sounds like a nice touch!! This would be a good meal to tag to remember for this week. I love this easy – but not too easy and delicious kind of thing for after work meals!

  • Reply Angie Rose October 16, 2017 at 11:18 am

    You are such an amazing writer! I feel like I’m having a chat with you whenever I’m reading through your posts. Your ability to share and your eloquent writing style is truly an inspiration to me. Oh, and by the way, I’ve ALWAYS wanted an Instant Pot. I’m scared I’ll get one and end up never using it though. I have yet to make the leap.

  • Reply Amalia October 16, 2017 at 11:23 am

    It looks delicious, I never tried but your photos were so inspiring that I’m giving it a go tonight for dinner, hope it looks as tasty as yours!!

  • Reply Danielle October 16, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    My hubby loves to put the cornflakes in to make a better bread crumb, he also like using captain crunch and honey nut cheerios. This looks like an amazing take on the dish and it’s typically one of our go-to’s on a Friday night where the hubby isn’t in the mood to cook. I’m sure we’d save a few bucks if we tried to do it our self!

  • Reply Laura October 16, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    I love Autumn (fall) here too, the colours are just stunning and although I dread the cold weather, it’s a beautiful time of year. That chicken dish sounds AMAZING and definitely one to make!

  • Reply Leigh Anne Borders October 16, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    This is our favorite Chinese food, I have never thought to make it myself. I am definitely going to try this!

  • Reply Ana De- Jesus October 16, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    I hear you, its the same with me and fashion. Sometimes I wonder how on earth can I make it interesting, how can I make it is more exciting for me to write. But of course like you like food I do like fashion and its our ability to turn our niches into personal narratives that makes us be passionate about our primary topics. I have to say though I know a friend who practically eats chicken every day so this would make them a very happy person indeed.

  • Reply Heather October 16, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    I love that October quote! I read all of those books when I was a kid! Your chicken looks amazing! My kids are picky, but this (thankfully) makes the cut of foods they’ll eat without grumbling.

  • Reply Tami October 16, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    I’m in my 40’s and still love to learn on a daily basis. Finding out if I can actually train myself to like spicy is on my list. Both my daughter and my hubby enjoy spicy food but always have to do without because I’m a weakling in that area.

    • Reply Ana De- Jesus October 23, 2017 at 4:28 pm

      Aw I loved your response and it makes me think that we have an appetite for learning regardless of how young or old we are. Knowledge to me is the fruit of life !

  • Reply Rosemary October 16, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Chicken is on the table several times a week so finding a new recipe is great for me. This will be added this week.

  • Reply Kathryn Maher October 16, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    Ok I’m fired up to make this one Alison . I adore chicken and the crispiness of the cornflakes my two kids will adore. With regard to cookery books well I have a love/hate relationship with them at the moment. I have too many now and I rarely open them LOL…. I should have a “clear out” and stick to about 5 then I wouldn’t be so overwhelmed.

  • Reply Anna Szoke October 16, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    5 stars
    I’m an autumn kinda girl too. There is something awesome in that coziness this season brings to our homes and hearts. A great cup of tea and a book and I’m good to go 🙂 And since I’m a fan of Asian food, I’m on my way now to the kitchen to make your recipe…yum!

  • Reply Lola October 16, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    It’s always a delight when The Veggies appears in my inbox and when I saw Melissa Clark’s name jump out at me I was even happier! I’ve been a big fan of hers for years and love all of her recipes. The harissa chicken sounds divine. Better late than never. I then went straight to links – can never resist great reading recommendations.
    Take care Ali, love, and hugs to you and yours.

  • Reply Jen S October 16, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    5 stars
    Spring is definitely above Fall on my list but my allergies are miraculously not bad this year and Fall has become much more enjoyable! Have you ever seen the documentary on Netflix called “Finding General Tso”? It’s really cool, they look back and research why General Tso’s chicken became so popular in the US and where in the world it actually came from.

  • Reply Mike October 16, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    5 stars
    Awesome looking recipe! I am going to try cooking this one this week! Great photos!

  • Reply Jhilmil October 16, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    5 stars
    A big yes to most of the reads. Even I love this fall time of the year, some cool breeze blowing, and then we have the biggest festive time of the year (Diwali) so the aura is amazing now. though I’m a vegan, so I shall have to look for changing the topping with Paneer/Tofu, I guess, but keeping the ingredients same, I believe, I can make a similar delicious dish!

  • Reply E H October 17, 2017 at 2:32 am

    Your recipe looks awesome! General Tsos chicken is one of my favorites for a takeout or a sit-down restaurant meal, and for home I usually buy a frozen version. I would love to learn how to make it. This one would be fun to try making!

  • Reply Ami Rose October 17, 2017 at 4:22 am

    This looks lovely, I would never have thought of adding cornflakes. I actually clicked through to your Maple Walnut Apple Crisp and saved that one as it sounds fantastic.

    Ami xxx

  • Reply Stephanie October 17, 2017 at 11:22 am

    My husband and son would love this dish. This is perfect for fall. Thank you for sharing your list of current articles you are enjoying. I am going to dive into these later today. Driving to Disneyland today 🙂

  • Reply Gemille Sleweon October 17, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Fall is my favorite season as well because of the way it makes me feel. Cool weather, hot food, the smell of pumpkin spice and scary movies. Fall has a way of making me feel comfortable. Great post!

  • Reply Ellie Chan October 17, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    I absolutely love Asian cuisine! I love the flavours and spices! I’ve been meaning to make General Tso’s chicken for years and I’ve never got around to it, I have about 5 different recipes in cookbooks too. It looks like some really tasty comfort food for a cold night (and by the looks of it we’re about to get a lot of those here in The PNW) lol!

  • Reply David Elliott October 18, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Don’t feel badly about not wanting to write sometimes about something. You have to give time to yourself to just appreciate something for the thing it is without needing to cook all the time. It’s like someone who likes to write about travel and then goes to the Grand Canyon. Sometimes there are no words to express what you feel in that moment. And then you can be ok with that and you don’t need to write about it. Cooking is a thing in itself. Although we do love hearing from you about when you write about it. Beyond that, I agree that Instagram can make cooks depressed. We see everything in perfection because it is set up to be perfect. Although it does make for restaurant experience being interesting as you try to perfect things. Oh, and by the way, General Tso’s Chicken looks amazing.

  • Reply Christopher Mitchell October 18, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    This looks so damn delicious! I want to eat that right about now! But, it’s also worth mentioning that the writing and photography on this is top-notch, so thanks for putting together a solid little post!

  • Reply Christopher Mitchell October 18, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Oh, and I also want to mention that I’m with in regards to loving autumn. I spent years in nations which didn’t really have a definite fall, and now I’m back in Canada and watching the leaves turn is a thing of majesty, so thanks for reminding me not to take that for granted!

  • Reply Mayuri October 18, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    5 stars
    This looks super-delicious! I need to try this recipe…I just have a query: Is there any substitute for hoisin sauce? If I don’t get this sauce then I should know it’s replacement 🙂 This is a time of festivities for Indians and I would love to treat my friends with General Tso’s Chicken

  • Reply Vicky October 18, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    sometimes you just need a break. And giving yourself permission to do that, is hard. Even with cooking. I am glad you are getting some time enjoying the fall things like going to an apple orchard and the like. This does look delish by the way. I hope you get some beautiful rest soon love!

  • Reply Noelle October 18, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    5 stars
    My 12-year-old daughter loves General Tso’s chicken. We made this together this evening and all I can say is it was a tremendous hit. As I try and teach her how to cook, it’s nice to be able to try something new, as well as healthy. My husband even cleaned the kitchen since we worked so hard. Thank you, Ali, for all of your recipes, keep them coming because we’re already asking what’s for dinner tomorrow.

  • Reply Kallia October 21, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    5 stars
    I only need the hoisin sauce and I have all the ingredients to make it! Your recipe is about to make my husband a very happy human! It is his favorite recipe and I thought it was too complicated to make! Thank you for sharing and enjoy some time enjoying fall! Everything is crisp and beautiful!!

  • Reply Tiffany October 21, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    5 stars
    Alison this looks so delicious!! Your recipes are all great. I definitely have to try this one. Thanks for sharing ?

  • Reply Anna October 25, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    If you’ve got an Asian market near you, I encourage everyone to buy that bottle of light soy sauce. A combination of light and dark soy sauce is used in almost every Chinese dish. Dark soy sauce is used more of a dye to give food a dark color and light soy sauce gives it a umami flavor that the dark version lacks.

  • Reply Donna February 7, 2018 at 4:46 am

    5 stars
    I made this last night and all I can say is THANK YOU.

  • Reply Kelly Shoul April 22, 2022 at 4:41 pm

    5 stars
    Made this last night and it definitely satisfied my craving !!! thank you!!

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