Sesame Chicken / General Tso’s Chicken

by Yi on April 28, 2014 · 20 comments

{Recipe} The Restaurant Style General Tso's Chicken and Sesame Chicken

For readers who live in North America, the dish General Tso’s Chicken (左宗雞) hardly needs any introduction. This American-Chinese dish is often considered as one of tje favorite Chinese dishes in the US.

{Recipe} The Restaurant Style General Tso's Chicken and Sesame Chicken

Since its inception in the 70s, General Tso’s chicken has involved into a staple of American dining and even become the synonym for Chinese food!

Need proof? Just try walking into any of the 50,000+ Chinese takeout restaurants in the US and the chances are you’ll find it on the menu!

While the origin of this dish is still up for debate, one thing we are sure is that this sweet, sour, and slightly spicy “Huannese” dish was created in the US and has remained relatively unknown in China even until now.

{Recipe} The Restaurant Style General Tso's Chicken and Sesame Chicken

I like this dish to a certain extend. I love the combination of the crunchy texture and the sticky sauce but personally the restaurant version is a little too sweet and too greasy for my liking. So for the past few weeks I’ve been testing this homemade version of restaurant style General Tso’s Chicken!

I wouldn’t call my recipe the most authentic General’s Tso chicken (if that even exists) but I have created this version by modifying a recipe from a restaurant I worked for so I can assure you that the dish will come out just like the pictures shown here :)

{Recipe} The Restaurant Style General Tso's Chicken and Sesame Chicken

A couple of key points for you avid home-cooks to achieve that classic crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside consistency:

  1. To get that tender texture, use chicken tenderloin, a smaller strip located on the upper breast, if possible. Can also use dark meat
  2. All the batter ingredients should be well incorporated and the batter should be smooth and slightly thick
  3. Fry the chicken over high temperate in hot oil. When the oil is not hot enough the chicken will not only come out saggy but also greasy
  4. Double fry the chicken briefly after the initial fry will create that crunchy coating typically seen in Chinese restaurants

One last thing, if you have not been told, General Tso’s chicken is 99% identical to its cousin Sesame chicken. To make sesame chicken, just follow this recipe minus the dried chili part and sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds at the end to garnish!

Sesame Chicken / General Tso’s Chicken

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Serving Size: 4 Servings

Make this restaurant style Sesame Chicken / General Tso’s Chicken following this step-by-step recipe at


  • 1.5lb boneless chicken breast
  • Chicken Marinade
  • 1tbsp salt
  • 1tsp white pepper powder
  • 2tsp cooking wine
  • Batter
  • 1.5cup corn starch
  • 1 large egg
  • 2tbsp water
  • 2tbsp cooking oil
  • General Tso’s Sauce
  • 1tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2tsp ginger, minced
  • 1tbsp, scallion white part, chopped
  • 3 dried chili (optional)
  • 2tbsp vinegar
  • 2tbsp duck sauce (can substitute with peach jam)
  • 1tbsp ketchup
  • 2tbsp soy sauce
  • 4tbsp sugar
  • 1tsp oyster sauce
  • 4tbsp water/chicken broth
  • 1tbsp corn starch, dissolved


  1. Cut the chicken to 1.5 x 1.5 pieces
  2. Combine the chicken pieces with all the marinade ingredients. Let marinate for 15 minutes
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine all the batter ingredients except for the cooking oil. Slowly add the oil while whisking until a smooth batter is formed. Let it sit for 10 minutes
  4. Add the marinated chicken to the batter. Gently fold the chicken to ensure each piece is coated with batter
  5. For the sauce, heat up a frying pan and add 1 tbsp of cooking oil. Stir fry garlic, ginger, scallion, and dried chili until aromatic. About 2 minutes
  6. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients except for the corn starch. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer
  7. Thicken the sauce with dissolved corn starch. This sauce can be made ahead of the time and can be used for both General Tso’s chicken and sesame chicken
  8. Heat up frying oil in a wok or heavy skillet. Test the frying oil to make sure it’s hot enough. Fry the battered chicken pieces in small batches until they urn golden brown. About 5 - 6 minutes
  9. Remove the chicken and place on a paper towel lined plate. Optionally, for crispier texture, you can double fry the chicken right before moving on to the next step
  10. In a frying pan, heat up the pre-cooked sauce over high heat. Add fried chicken and toss until all chicken pieces are coated. Plate the chicken. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds for garnish if serving as sesame chicken
  11. Serve with a bed of steamed white rice or brown rice

Enjoy and get more American-Chinese recipes here!

{Recipe} The Restaurant Style General Tso's Chicken and Sesame Chicken

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nae November 10, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Tried this recipe last night absolutely loved it! Question would you happen to know the ingredients and preparations for Restuarant style beef teriyaki on a stick? I have made and love many american-chinese recipes but no matter how many recipes I have tried I cannot duplicate this recipe like the restaurant. Since you discuss your previous chinese Restuarant experience I was wondering if you could assist….it seems there is a secret ingredient or procedure missing….. Is something more than a teriyaki sauce? Any assistance would be appreciated….. Love love your site


2 Yi November 10, 2014 at 10:56 pm

Hi There, thanks for visiting. I am glad that you like the recipe! I do have a recipe for teriyaki sauce and I will do a pot sometime soon. Please stay tuned. Thanks again for checking out my site.


3 n June 25, 2014 at 12:03 pm

yi, I really like your step by step & pictures, they are a great accompaniment to your recipes…very helpful!


4 Yi June 25, 2014 at 9:33 pm

hey there, thanks for the compliment. I am glad to hear that you found the recipe helpful!


5 Daniela May 27, 2014 at 8:50 am

Always loved this dish but never prepared it at home.
Now, thanks to your yummy looking recipe, I will!


6 Judit + Corina @WineDineDaily May 26, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Just love General Tso’s Chicken with that hint of sweetness and this looks really delcious!


7 Saucy Spatula May 21, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Who doesn’t like General Tso!? :D My mouth is water just thinking about it – I might even need to order some for dinner tonight! (so I can be lazy and not cook after a long day at work…)

Have you read Jennifer Lee’s book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles? If you haven’t, you should! It’s a great read and I learned so much about American Chinese food.

She also co-produced the documentary The Search for General Tso which was featured at the Tribeca Film Festival. Link:

Check it out! :)



8 Purabi Naha May 18, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Lovely General Tso’s chicken. I will eat all the chicken made by you, it looks so delicious! Wonderfully photographed.


9 Lokness @ The Missing Lokness May 1, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Funny enough I have never tried General Tso’s chicken! But something sweet and sour like this would make my husband really happy. He loves Panda Express! Thanks for the helpful tips on how to keep the crust crunchy.


10 Lokness @ The Missing Lokness May 1, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Funny enough I have never tried General Tso’s chicken! But something sweet and sour like this would make my husband really happy. He loves Panda Express! Thanks for the helpful tips about how to keep the crust crunchy.


11 amy April 29, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Thank you so much for the recipe. The chicken turned out crispy on outside and juicy inside. It’s now one of favorites. Amy


12 Angie@Angie's Recipes April 29, 2014 at 5:28 am

I always love this American Chinese creation. Yum!


13 John@Kitchen Riffs April 28, 2014 at 10:57 pm

I never knew General Tso’s Chicken and Sesame Chicken were essentially the same dish! Love both recipes, so I’m glad to have your instructions — thanks so much.


14 wok with ray April 28, 2014 at 8:40 pm

I agree! Gen. Tso’s chicken is a very popular dish in mostly Chinese take out and I am one of the patrons of this delicious dish. Looks delicious, Yi.


15 Abbe@This is How I Cook April 28, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Twenty three years ago when I was pregnant with my kids, I totally craved sesame chicken. That restaurant is now out of business and thankfully,
I have learned how to make this on my own! But I will still attest that I love this dish and my kids love Chinese food! Makes you wonder! Thanks, Yi!


16 Db April 28, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Should the chicken still be warm/hot when you do the second fry or should the chicken pieces be chilled first? Good timing. I just planted my Thai long peppers for this growing season. Thanks.


17 Yi May 4, 2014 at 10:07 am

Hi DB, sorry for getting back to you late. I am so jealous of your pepper plants! I wish I have can grow my own in my tiny apartment :) To answer your question, you don’t have to deliberately chill the chicken before the second fry. I normally let it sit for 2 minutes between the fries. Hope this helps. Thanks.


18 Purabi Naha | Cosmopolitan Currymania April 28, 2014 at 1:38 pm

What an interesting recipe! I never knew that there is something called duck sauce…and what an interesting tip to substitute with peach jam! Wonderful recipe, as always. :)


19 Liz B. @ Umami Life April 28, 2014 at 8:09 am

Hey, I reference your blog and recipes in my latest post! You’re awesome, and I hope you’ll check it out if you get the time!

PS: thank you so much for posting this recipe; I honestly had no idea what it took to make General Tso’s chicken and tended to avoid it since it’s such a fast food staple. I think I’d gobble up your recipe, on the other hand, in .5 seconds!


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