General Tso’s Chicken – Paleo Style
This is by far the best General Tso’s Chicken that I’ve ever had.
Well, ok, maybe save for that which is being served at this extremely small authentic Asian joint that I sometimes still like to go to.
And yeah, perhaps that other one, too.
But apart from these two, I swear. This General Tso’s Chicken simply can’t be beat!
The sauce is plenty sweet and hot and spicy and tangy, just as you’d expect it to be. It comes in very ample amount, too, which I don’t hate at all. It *could* be a tad stickier maybe, but still, I say it’s extremely satisfying as it is.
The pieces of chicken are VERY generous! You really get to sink your teeth into a lot of meat here, not mere balls of fried dough (as is too often the case, I find). The breading provides just what it takes of starch to create a nice, crispy and crunchy exterior, while the chicken remains super tender and juicy and moist and oh so tasty on the interior.
To that effect, I strongly recommend soaking your chicken breasts in a solution of salt and water for at least 12 to 24 hours prior to making this. You would not believe the difference that it makes.
Also, I think a lot has to be said for deep frying, as opposed to pan frying, or even baking. It does make the pieces of chicken extra nice and crispy on the exterior and super moist and juicy on the interior. I used to avoid it like the plague, but since I discovered that one can use coconut oil to get the job done, I’ve been a lot less hesitant to do so.
Plus, you really don’t need that much oil either. All it takes to make this recipe is one cup, which, after you’re done, you can strain and reuse for cooking afterwards.
Furthermore, when all was said and done, I remeasured my oil and was only short about 2 measly tablespoons. Not bad at all, especially when you consider the fact that coconut oil is actually a good source of healthy fat.
With that in mind, I get the feeling that I’ll be experimenting with Asian cooking a little bit more. What can I say, I still have a major soft spot for the stuff and if I can learn to make great paleo versions at home of all those classics I love so much, well then maybe I won’t get the urge to hit my favorite restaurants every so often.
Trust me, I now know that next time I get a craving for General Tso’s chicken, I’ll be able to satisfy that craving right in the comfort of my own home, without even making so much as a dent in my good eating record.
For this version TRULY delivers, without having me suffer any of the usual consequences…
And that, is a major win, if you ask me!
Check out all the sauce at the bottom!
So close, yet so far… and it smells so good, too!
Finally, I get to dig in…
Does that look crispy enough for ya?
And just look at how juicy and meaty that bite is…
I’d call that generous, alright!
General Tso’s Chicken – Paleo Style
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1-2 dried bird's eye chili pepper, crushed
- 3 tbsp date paste
- 1 tbsp toasted halzelnut or almond butter
- 1½ cups water
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut aminos
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 tbsp arrowroot flour
- 1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, (about 1.65lb | 750g total)
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 cup arrowroot flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup coconut oil for frying
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced (to garnish)
- 1 birds eye chili pepper, thinly sliced
- The previous night, place your chicken to soak in a solution made of 2 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of salt. While this step is entirely optional, I strongly recommend it as it will make your chicken extra tender and tasty.
- To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients in your food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and bring to the boil over medium high heat. Stir until the sauce turns darker and has thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Kill the heat, cover and set aside.
- Remove chicken from salted solution and pat dry. Cut the breasts into 1 to 1½ inch chunks.
- Whisk the egg whites in a shallow dish until foamy.
- Combine arrowroot flour, coconut flour and baking soda in a separate shallow dish. Use a whisk to make sure the ingredients are well combined.
- Toss half the chicken into the foamy egg whites until well-coated, and then dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, making sure all sides are coated. Transfer chicken to a plate and repeat with remaining chicken.
- Heat oil in a large wok until it registers about 340ºF. Fry the chicken in 2 or 3 batches until golden brown, about 3 minutes, turning pieces over halfway through cooking. Transfer cooked chicken to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.
- Re-warm the sauce over medium heat until bubbling. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat.
- Transfer to serving dish and garnish with sliced green onions and chili peppers.
- *Strain coconut oil through a fine mesh sieve lined with a paper towel and save for cooking.
If you’ve tried this recipe, please take a minute to rate the recipe and let me know how things went for you in the comments below. It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you!
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39 Comments on “General Tso’s Chicken – Paleo Style”
General Tso is a friend of ours. He likes to frequent our plates often. This recipe sounds amazeballs!
Thanks Jennie! And isn’t General Tso an awesome fellow! I don’t mind his visits at all! 🙂
What kind of coconut oil did you use? 🙂
I really want to try some deep frying, but I don’t know what oil I should use. Virgin coconut oil is really expensive here.
I use extra virgin coconut oil, which I usually purchase at Costco, as you can get a huge jar for a ridiculously low price (like 1.5kg for $18)
However, like I said in the post, you don’t need to use that much to deep fry and you can reuse the oil for cooking afterwards.
how can this be paleo with rice vinegar?
Rice vinegar is one of those grey ingredients… Some say yay, some say nay. If you’d rather not use it, you can always substitute white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar.
General Tso’s chicken was my favorite Chinese American dish. Will definitely try this. Thanks for sharing!
Wow, that looks amazing. Now I’m thinking about Chinese food for dinner tonight, unfortunately it’s only 10am and I’m fasting 🙂
Oh my! I feel your pain, Tanner. Looking at pictures of yummy food on fasting days always drives me bonkers! 😉
I don’t know that I can get arrowroot flour where I live. What is its purpose here and can I substitute something else for it? Thanks!
The arrowroot flour is what will give you a nice crispy exterior, Rick. If you can’t find it, I figure tapioca flour might do the trick!
Bahahaha. I’m sorry. But what now?
The Healthy Foodie is *deep-frying* stuff?!
YES! I LOVE THIS! 😀 I’m all for frying stuff. I rarely deep fry because I don’t like to use up all that oil (I’ll do an inch of oil, though) but this I would totally do!
LOVE this dish! So pretty and delicious!
Ah, but coconut oil is actually good for you, Erin, so deep frying stuff in it can’t be bad! I’m still getting used to that concept, but I can’t say I hate it. It’s hard going from being fat phobic to including a generous dose of healthy fat to each and every one of your meals. I say deep frying is a pretty tasty way to get me there! 😉
Thanks for your kind words, I truly loved that dish too. I think it was one of my favorites to date. I hope you do give it a try and let me know what you think. I’m pretty sure this one will sit well with you! 🙂
Is it possible to substitute the arrow root flour with brown rice flour or some other gf flour I have in the house? I do have tapioca and I think potato flour, maybe almond too. Hoping one might work!
Thanks for your reponse!
I think your best option would be the tapioca flour, Celia. It is the one flour that is the closest to arrowroot. Let me know how it turns out if you do try it! 🙂
Thanks Sonia! Will give it a try this weekend and let you know how it goes!
The sodium in it is brutal!!!
No one is forcing you to eat this…
I made this last night and we loved it. I didn’t have rice vinegar, so I used balsamic(found on google it could be used as a sub). My sauce was very thick, It clumped up on the chicken instead of just coating it. What do you think I did wrong? I’m wondering if maybe I cooked it too long.
So- i looked up 5 different recipes and ended up using this one as my key base. and make a ton of variations (i’m TERRIBLE at following recipes)-
honey instead of date paste (very light-handed)
had already marinated some thighs in vinegar/tamari/ molasses/ garlic/onion, and tossed them into eggs and starch and fried in local farm raised home rendered lard
and kinda fiddled w/ the sauce
and snap! it was AMAZING. amazing pregnancy craving satisfying lunch! nice mix up from my beef and broccoli stir-fry of the last few weeks!
THANK YOU! bookmarking this to actually follow it for my husband and family!
Wow, that’s a lot of substitutions indeed! Glad it worked out great in the end and thank you for taking the time to share your appreciation of my recipe. I sincerely appreciate that! 😀
i have 5 kids, one on the way, and also have cooked professionally for years, so i’m comfortable w/ the theory behind certain foods. that leaves me w/ the -hmmmmmm- what would make this BETTER approach! and also, how can i do this with things in my house! b/c packing up 5 kids to drive 15 min to the nearest store just doesn’t cut it!!!
and pregnancy cravings mean that planning for next week is also unlikely to satisfy!
THANK YOU for taking the time to make good, measured out, step by step recipes for me to fiddle with. i send my clients and friends to websites like yours for recipes, b/c i never measure or write down and so can never replicate my foods.
*MUAH* Thank YOU, MamaCassi, for your super kind words! You’re a total gem, for real! 🙂
I made a few simple changes and it came out amazing!! This will be a staple for a while. Thanks for sharing!
So happy to hear, Adrianne. Real glad you liked it and thank you so much for letting me know. I truly appreciate that! 🙂
I’m not sure what happened, but this was a disaster for me. The only thing I changed was using honey instead of date paste and regular soy sauce instead of aminos. I whizzed it up in my Nutribullet and when I heated it up, it turned into this weird, foamy, caramel-like mess. It tasted terrible. I ended up tossing it and using my old standby General Tso’s sauce recipe.
I’m real sorry to hear that, Tom… terribly sorry.
I made this recipe for one of my personal chef clients last week and they LOVED it. I followed it nearly to a T. The sauce got a little thick on me but I thinned it out with some water and it was yummy. Thanks for sharing!
Wow, so happy to hear, Debra! Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know, I greatly appreciate that! 🙂
Just tried this recipe and we LOVED LOVED LOVED it! The chicken coating is so much lighter and tastier than regular ol’ General Tso’s chicken. Highly recommend soaking the chicken beforehand. The chicken was so tender. I added a bit of Maple Syrup to the sauce and also, ate this with broccoli.
Real happy to hear, MA! Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know, too! I greatly appreciate that. You rock! 🙂
I was SO excited about this recipe. I’m sad to say I have the same experience as Tom. The sauce is the color of peanut butter, the texture of glue and tastes terrible. It’s going in the garbage. 🙁
Sorry to hear you didn’t have much success with this recipe, Amy…
Can’t wait to try this! I make a similar dish…spicy garlic honey sesame chicken 🙂
The chicken is good, I just feel like the sauce needs a little work. It’s yummy, but the almond butter surprisingly overwhelms it and it tastes more like a Thai peanut sauce. Wouldn’t say I get a general tso flavor.
Still yummy though, thanks for sharing
I only made the sauce because I had some cooked chicken & just wanted a spicy Chinese sauce for it. I subbed honey because I’m not paleo, just grain-free, & omgoodness! What a delicious sauce! Definitely will make it again! Thank you!
YAY! So very happy to hear, Deanne! Thanks for the great feedback, it’s really appreciated! 🙂
I used the sauce from this recipe to put on some leftover torn rotisserie chicken that we were eating with sun-butter cilantro sauce spaghetti squash noodles and Asian coleslaw. My son and husband absolutely loved this sauce, and so did I (and they are not used to eating paleo food). Thanks for the great recipe, looking forward to making the full version.
Sun butter cilantro spaghetti squash? Sounds YUMMY! Does a recipe exist somewhere? I sure wouldn’t mind giving it a try! 😉