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To celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday that falls on September 15, my good friend Chef Kian Kho Liam sent me his cookbook as a gift so that I could share a holiday meal with my readers.  I cooked a traditional recipe of the popular General Tso’s Chicken which was a feast for my family. This is not the usual westernized General Tso one would expect. After carefully following the clear, concise instructions of deep-frying the chicken cubes quickly, I cooked the golden brown sauce till it was thick, savory and slightly spicy. Serve this warm and crunchy with rice. This recipe was inspired by the Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees Cookbook by Kian Lam Kho with photography by Jody Horton (Clarkson Potter). Makes 2 up to 4 servings if enjoyed with rice.


  • 2 Tablespoons from Asian markets Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless, cut into 3/4-inch cubes chicken thighs
  • 3/4 cup or use water chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup for sauce (from Asian markets) Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 2 Tablespoons from Asian markets Chinkiang black vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons for sauce tapioca starch
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 4 cups vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 3 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup dried red chilies
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons thinly sliced scallion greens


  • Prepare the marinade: combine the 2 tablespoons Shaoxing cooking wine, egg white, salt, ground white pepper in a bowl. Mix well. Add the chicken cubes and blend the marinade to coat all the meat. Set aside for 20 minutes.
  • Prepare the sauce ingredients: mix together in a bowl the chicken stock (or water), Shaoxing cooking wine, black vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, tapioca starch and sugar. Set this aside.
  • In a large wok like the Anolon, over high heat, add the vegetable oil. Heat the oil till it is shimmering. If using a thermometer, this will be about 375 F.
  • Separately, in a bowl, coat the chicken cubes with the tapioca starch.
  • Once the oil in the wok is hot enough, add the chicken cubes. Deep fry the chicken cubes in about two or three batches. Fry each batch for about 4 minutes till the chicken pieces are golden brown. Drain the chicken on parchment paper or paper towels to remove excess oil.
  • Leave about 2 tablespoons of the oil in the Anolon or wok. Discard the rest of the oil which is not needed. Stir fry the garlic and ginger for 30 seconds. Add the chiles and stir fry for another 30 seconds.
  • Take the bowl of sauce mixture. Stir it again so starch blends well. Pour this starch mixture into the Anolon or wok. Cook till the sauce thickens. This will take about one minute.
  • Gather the crisp cooked chicken cubes and add them back to the wok with the sauce. Blend ingredients well.
  • Season with the sesame oil and stir the chicken pieces so the oil distributes evenly.
  • Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallion greens.
  • Ingredient information: Tapioca starch is a personal favorite of Chef Kian Lam Kho because it produces the smoothest sauce and crispier fried crust. (I substituted with cornstarch for this recipe). Chiankiang Black Vinegar is made from rice wine with additional grains, fruits and herbs. It is aged from 3 to 6 months. Both ingredients can be found in Asian markets or online sources.
  • About Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees: Essential Techniques of Authentic Chinese Cooking (Clarkson Potter New York):  This cookbook is for you if you've always wanted to know the essentials of authentic Chinese cuisine. It offers an introduction to Chinese home cooking, a rich history of Chinese cuisine and geography plus pantry basics and ingredients one needs. The award-winning cookbook offers 158 recipes, 200 photographs, with step-by-step images to show cooking procedures. Recipes range from simple to slightly more involved authentic favorites like the General Tso's Chicken or Pork Shank Soup with Winter Bamboo. Chef Kian teaches the soul of Chinese cooking and makes it possible for home cooks to master one of the world's favorite cuisines. This cookbook is available where most books are sold.
  • About the Author: Chef Kian Lam Kho is a food writer, cooking teacher and food consultant specializing in Chinese cuisine. He is the creator of the James Beard Foundation Awards nominated Chinese home cooking blog Red Cook. His first cookbook on Chinese cooking techniques, Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees: Essential Techniques of Authentic Chinese Cooking, is the recipient of the Julia Child First Book Award from the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) in 2016. Based in NYC, Chef Kian teaches Chinese cooking at the Institute of Culinary Education and the Brooklyn Kitchen. He is a frequent guest chef at various restaurants.
  • Hello, Friends! All the images and content here are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to use my photos or content on your website  without my permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write it in your own words and simply link back to this blog to give proper attribution. It’s the legal thing to do. Thank you.