Welcome to the Mid-Autumn Festival Blog Feast celebrating the award-winning cookbook, Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees by Kian Lam Kho. I am honored to be part of the team cooking recipes from this book and it is my privilege to share Kian’s General Tso’s Chicken recipe with you.
Mid-Autumn is the second most important celebration after Chinese New Year in the Chinese holiday calendar. It is a chance for families to enjoy the harvest moon by sharing a feast together. Today’s recipe is Tso Good! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist) This version is luxurious, decadent and indulgent – just what you want in any great meal. It is so good, quick, and easy – this is going to become one of our family’s favorite meals!
I was incredibly lucky to be invited to a private event in Los Angeles where Kian Lam Kho prepared a dish for us, teaching us the techniques of Chinese wok cooking that he honed over many years.
Working with precision and great skill, he explained each step of the preparation, how to cut the ingredients so they cook perfectly, the trick of par-cooking the proteins and adding them back at the end to finish cooking, and the history behind unique names for dishes on Chinese menus … in the title of the book, Phoenix Claws refers to chicken feet and Jade Trees are broccoli.
A couple of days later I was thrilled to be seated right behind Kian when he won the prestigious Julia Child First Book Award at the annual International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) conference. It is always such fun to see people you know win!
There is so much history and knowledge in this book – it will change the way you think about Chinese food. From the explanations about ingredients to historical references, you are transported to another fascinating land and cuisine. Mesmerizing is not too strong a description!
General Tso’s Chicken has a varied and curious history, with many people taking credit along the way. Kian explains: “This version of General Tso’s Chicken resembles the original created by Peng Chang-Kuei in Taiwan. Strictly speaking it is not a traditional Hunan dish, but the technique and flavors are inspired by the chef’s Hunan background. It is not as sweet as the standard American version, and is laced with lots of garlic.”
One of the tricks that Kian teaches us is to par-cook the chicken first, frying it in vegetable oil then setting aside to drain. This helps the tapioca coating stay crispy longer and the chicken doesn’t get overcooked while you’re waiting for everything else to cook through. If you are new to Chinese cooking, be sure to check out his article on how to stock your kitchen with the basics to be able to make a wide variety of dishes.
Kian’s gorgeous cookbook allows you to recreate all of his beautiful recipes in your own home because Kian provides all the information, hints, and clues you need to get perfection every time!
The Anolon Nouvelle Copper 12-inch Stir Fry pan I used to make the chicken, has a multi-layer metal base with a copper core that creates even and quick heating for all your cooking needs. It is deep enough for easy frying without splattering, the non-stick surface keeps everything from sticking during cooking, and can be used in a myriad of ways. It is a true workhorse in my kitchen!
This General Tso’s Chicken is a dish your whole family will love – I hope you make it soon!
How to make General Tso’s Chicken:
- Marinate the chicken and combine the sauce ingredients
- Fry the dredged chicken pieces in hot oil until golden and drain on paper towels
- Make the sauce in the same pan, sautéing the garlic, ginger, and chiles; add the sauce ingredients and cook until thickened
- Return chicken pieces to the sauce and toss to coat evenly
- Scoop portions onto serving plates and garnish with sesame seeds and green onions
I don’t have black vinegar in my pantry, what can I use instead?
If you can’t find black vinegar locally, you can approximate the flavor by using the same amount of balsamic vinegar + 1/4 tsp smoked paprika.
Shaoxing rice wine is a common ingredient in many Chinese dishes and its unmistakable fragrance and flavor enhances anything you add it to. The closest substitution is a high-quality dry sherry, sake, or mirin. But if you can, buy a bottle either online or at a Chinese market (Tai Jade Michiu by TTL is gluten-free and made in a rice-only facility). If you love making Asian dishes at home, you should keep a bottle in your pantry!
Key Ingredients for this Recipe
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Shaoxing cooking wine, dry sherry, sake, or mirin (see Pro Tip above)
- Chicken stock
- Black vinegar (see Pro Tip above)
- Soy sauce (gluten-free if needed
- Hoisin sauce (gluten-free if needed)
- Tapioca starch/flour
- Vegetable oil
- Fresh garlic, ginger, and dried red chiles
- Sesame oil
- Sesame seeds and sliced green onions
Kitchen Tools I Use to Make This Recipe (affiliate links)
You can buy it (Joyce Chen’s brand is a good choice) or make gluten-free hoisin sauce – and there are a wide range of recipes available online. Kikkoman and San-J both make gluten-free soy sauce which you can use to make your hoisin!
General Tso's Chicken (Gluten-Free)
Make this amazing General Tso's Chicken from the award-winning Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees cookbook from my friend Kho Kian Lam. Rich and savory, loaded with garlic and ginger, this is a chicken dish your whole family will be clamoring for!
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 2 tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine
- 1 large egg white
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
- 3/4 cup chicken stock or water
- 1/4 cup Shaoxing cooking wine
- 2 tbsp Chinkiang black vinegar (see gluten-free tips above)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce (see gluten-free tips above)
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce (see gluten-free tips above)
- 2 tbsp tapioca starch / flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 4 cups vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup tapioca starch
- 3 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup dried red chiles
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
- 2 tbsp thinly sliced scallion greens
- Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add the chicken cubes and stir well. Let marinate 20 minutes.
- Combine all the sauce ingredients in another bowl and mix well. Set aside.
- Line a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels and set next to the stove.
- Prepare the Chicken: Heat the oil in a wok or stir-fry pan over high heat until it is shimmering, about 375°F. Put the tapioca starch in a large bowl and roll the marinated chicken cubes in the starch. Be sure to coat each piece generously. Fry the chicken cubes in the hot oil in two batches until they are golden brown, about 5 minutes for each batch. Drain the chicken cubes and set them aside on the lined baking sheet.
- Make the Sauce: Remove all but 2 tbsp of the vegetable oil from the wok. Add the garlic and ginger to the wok and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Add the chiles and stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Stir the sauce mixture so the starch is blended completely and pour it into the wok. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Return the chicken to the wok and quickly toss the pieces in the sauce. Add the sesame oil and stir it into the chicken.
- Scoop portions onto serving plates alongside steamed rice and garnish with the toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallion greens.
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This post was first shared in September 2016 and was updated in 2020.
I’m excited about learning to make Red Cooked Pork.
I would love to learn how to make orange chicken.
Jessica that is one of my favorites too – got to look that one up!
I would like to learn how to cook a whole fried fish with sweet and sour sauce that I had in China once.
Oooh Heather, that is a great one. Whole fish can be intimidating!
Goodness that is a favorite of mine and looks so delicious. I would really love to learn how to make traditional homemade Chinese dumplings!
I think those would be so much fun too Starla!
I would like to learn to make Kung Pao Chicken at home.
That is often what I order when we go out too!
I would like to try the make lo mein
Thanks for the chance to win this
Delighted to help people discover this award-winning cookbook and the Anolon pan! Good luck in the drawing Allison!
I would love to learn to make beef and broccoli.
Another one of my favorites Ty – no matter what you make out of this book, you will love it and learn a ton in the process. It is a remarkable cookbook!
General Tsos chicken tastes so good. I will have to try this recipe this week.
This is one recipe I will be making time after time – SO good!!
I would love to learn how to make lo mein noodles
You’re in luck Mary! There is a mouthwatering recipe for Stir0Fried Lo Mein with Barbecued Pork! I have tagged that one to try too!! 🙂
Chijen fried rice would be one of the first things we would cook.
I could eat fried rice every day David!
I’d like to attempt sweet and sour chicken and beef and broccoli.
Two of my favorites Dawn. Kian has a recipe for sweet and sour pork that would be each to adjust to use chicken. Yum!!
I’d love to learn to cook Peking Duck.
That is a mystery to me too Annette and one I’d like to tackle as well! 🙂
It’s a good one Latanya!!
Actually, I would like to learn to make General Tsos Chicken because I love spicy Chinese food and it seems kind of complicated! I would also like to learn how to make Pot Stickers!
This recipe was surprisingly easy, just follow the clearly outlined steps that Kian includes in the recipe. Get all your ingredients prepped and ready before you start cooking – I had this on the table in no time!
This is just the prettiest chicken in the world. Had to swing by to pin it. Yum!
You are too sweet Kim – thanks for swinging by and I appreciate you sharing the pinned photo!! <3
I want to try Tso’s chicken.
This recipe for General Tso’s Chicken is one of the best I’ve ever had Mita! I know you’ll love it too!
I’m excited to learn how to make Szechwan shrimp.
That is definitely one of my favorites too Rachel. Enjoy!
I want to try the recipe for Spicy Lotus Root Salad.
That is a fascinating one for me too Elle. Good luck in the drawing!
I’ve made several Chinese dishes in my day 🙂 General Tso however is the favorite here, or anything with shrimp! You know, I aim to please Grumpy! The photos are amazing and that meal looks incredible!
Grumpy is one lucky fella to have you Shelby! And I love the shrimp dishes too – they’ll be making an appearance in my kitchen soon! 🙂
Kung Pao Chicken recipe
Me too Carol. Going to add that to my wish list for future dinners!! 🙂
I want to learn how to make the Kung Pao Chicken recipe
One of my favorites Elena!!
I want to make this recipe for the General Tsos Chicken and the Red-Cooked Pork I’ve seen mentioned
They are both amazing recipes Jen – the Red-Cooked Pork is next on my list!
I am excited to learn how to make General Tso’s.
I was too Will, and it was so easy! You will love it!
I want to try this very recipe for General Tso’s chicken. Looks amazing!
I don’t blame you Michelle – I am already planning on making it again! Thanks for your kind words <3
i love making vegetable fried rice
I do too Linda and Kian makes a great one!
I want to make this General Tso chicken. Thanks for the giveaway.
Glad to share Brandi – good luck on the drawing!