Zuo Zongtang Ji (General Tso's Chicken)

READY IN: 45mins




  • It is recommended that you use an instant read digital thermometer to maintain correct oil temperature while frying.
  • In a large bowl, combine the marinade ingredients and add the chicken. Stir gently to coat the chicken and allow to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  • In a small dry frying pan, toast the sesame seeds until they are light brown in color and aromatic. Transfer to a small dish and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients and stir until the sugar and the cornstarch are fully dissolved. Set aside.
  • Toss the 1 1/2 cups cornstarch with the salt and pepper in a large bowl or deep plate. Coat the marinated chicken in the cornstarch mixture and shake off any excess before frying.
  • Heat the oil in a wok or heavy-bottomed pot until it registers 350 degrees F. Working in 2 or 3 batches, add the first batch of chicken cubes and deep fry until lightly golden on the outside and cooked through (3-4 minutes). Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.
  • When finished cooking chicken, take the first batch and return then to the 350 degree oil. Continue cooking for 30-45 more seconds so they become golden brown. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.
  • Transfer the oil to a heat-proof container. It will take about 1 hour to fully cool, after which you can transfer it to a container with a tight lid for disposal. If you used a wok, just wipe down the inside with a paper towel and if you used a heavy-bottomed pot, switch to a large skillet for stir-frying.
  • Heat the wok or skillet over medium-high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Add the 1 tbsp of oil and swirl to coat the wok or pan. Add the chiles and garlic and stir-fry until just fragrant (20 seconds). Pour in the sauce mixture and heat briefly to thicken (just under a rolling boil).
  • Return the chicken to the wok and stir well to coat with sauce. transfer the chicken to a serving dish and garnish with sesame seeds and scallions.