Plated + Served: (Healthier) General Tso’s Chicken


OK… so who, exactly, is this General Tso and why is his chicken dish so popular? (I mean, like, was he the Colonel Sanders of his time?)Zuo_Zongtang

In honor of the Chinese New Year, which began on February 10, I whipped up one of my favorite Chinese dishes: General Tso’s Chicken. At least I’ve always thought it was Chinese.

This spicy-sweet dish is one of the most popular menu items in Chinese restaurants across the U.S. But, the truth is, it isn’t really Chinese… it was actually invented by a Chinese chef working here in the United States.

Then just who is General Tso? Good question. His real name was Zuo Zongtang and he was a wily Chinese military leader during the Qing Dynasty known for his craftiness. He suppressed a major revolt. But there isn’t any connection between him and his namesake recipe… he didn’t invent it or anything.

General Tso was blessed with a catchy name (maybe he was sweet, but spicy, too).

Usually this dish is deep fried, but I changed it and simply sautéed the chicken. Instead of bathing it in sauce as you normally would, I made it a dipping sauce.

You’ll have some sauce leftover, so use it later in the week on steamed veggies to feed the troops…

General Tso would be so proud!

Tso Chicken




I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: