Sticky, savory sweet, slightly spice General Tso Shrimp…ready in 15 minutes! Served over rice, it packs lots of yummy flavors and textures. We love to make this easy dish for a quick weeknight dinner!
This is an American Chinese dish that can easily be found at Chinese restaurants all over North America. But prepare to be wowed by this yummier and healthier homemade version!
What is General Tso Shrimp
What is General Tso Shrimp (or Chicken)?
Like me, that might be your first question upon hearing the words ‘General Tso Shrimp’.
There is a general from history whose name is in fact, General Tso, but there is no connection between the dude and the popular Chinese American dish.
General Tso Shrimp/Chicken/Tofu/Cauliflower is actually invented in North America by a Chinese restaurant chef. He named the dish General Tso, and here we are many decades later, enjoying the dish almost everywhere in the country.
I wish I could tell you it was authentic, invented in China and enjoyed by kings and queens for centuries. Sure sounds like a cool story…
But I can tell you it is delicious.
Like lip-smacking, tastebuds-dancing, eyes-wide-open delicious.
While a lot of Chinese restaurants would bread the protein, deep fry it and toss it in sauce, I opted to not do that for this recipe and made a quicker, healthier, and easier version.
Whenever we make General Tso at home, we do it this way because not breading and deep frying makes the dish 1) healthier, and also 2) way easier and quicker.
We are simply searing some fresh shrimp in a little bit of vegetable oil with fresh garlic and ginger, combine them with crunchy bell peppers, and then toss everything in the irresistible signature General Tso stir fry sauce.
Let’s get the party started!
General Tso Shrimp is made with simple ingredients that are easy to find, even in regular grocery stores. You don’t have to go to the Asian store to get the ingredients for this recipe.
You will need fresh raw shrimp, bell peppers, fresh garlic and fresh ginger.
As for the stir fry sauce, bring together these ingredients:
- soy sauce – any soy sauce would work!
- hoisin sauce – popular in a lot of Chinese cooking. Salty thick sauce with a sour tint
- rice vinegar – can be substitute with white vinegar
- sesame oil – has a distinct nutty aroma
- brown sugar
- corn starch
- red chili flakes – add more of this if you like it spicy!
How to make it
Stir fry’s are great because they retain the flavors and textures of the ingredients by cooking it in a short time and under high heat.
It also means dinner will be done in no time!
The process is takes less than 10 minutes, and step-by-step details are in the recipe card below.
Stir Frying Tips
A few tips and tricks that may be helpful to know about stir frying:
- Prepare all the ingredients beforehand and line them up by the stove before beginning the stir frying process.
- Use a skillet or wok that can withstand high heat.
- Cook under high or medium high heat.
- Start by adding the oil, wait for oil to heat up before adding any ingredients to it. This way you will get a nice ‘sear’ on the shrimp.
- Do not overcook shrimp! Once shrimp turns pink, curl up, and are no longer translucent, it is done. It should only take a few minutes to cook shrimp.
- Do not overcrowd the skillet/wok. Use a big skillet/wok to cook this, and if you are doubling recipe, consider cooking it in two batches.
- Stir continuously throughout the whole stir fry process
I wrote a whole post on stir frying, so if you want even more tips and tricks on that, check out 8 Tips to a Great Stir Fry!
More tips and notes!
A couple more things:
- Use raw shrimp for this recipe, avoid using cooked shrimp.
- If shrimp is frozen, bring to a defrost completely and pat dry before cooking it.
- I was generous in the sauce portion because a constant feedback I get from my readers is they like sauce! Feel free to drizzle it over rice, noodles, other dishes…you are welcome! ❤️
Variations and Substitution
This is a highly versatile recipe so here are some substitution suggestions:
- Swap out shrimp for chicken, beef, pork, tofu…or make it vegetarian!
- Swap out bell peppers for other vegetables – carrots, snow peas, broccoli, cauliflower, bak choy etc.
When it comes to ingredients for the stir fry sauce, I highly recommend following the recipe and avoid substitutions. You should be able to find all the sauces in the Asian aisle of most regular grocery store.
Yummy Homemade Chinese food…
Are you ready to make this happen?
This sticky, flavorful General Tso/ Chinese-food-at-home meal that is so much better than takeout!
Control the amount of grease and sodium in your Chinese foods, know exactly what kind of ingredients are in your meal, and be able to incorporate fresh ingredients into the dish.
Makes takeout foods so much better in so many way! ❤️
More Chinese/ Chinese Inspired Recipes
You might be interested in some of these other reader favorites as well!
- Kung Pao Shrimp
- Easy Baked Orange Chicken
- Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
- Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Crispy Sesame Chicken
- Chinese Barbecue Pork
- Mangolian Chicken (by my friend Christie at Christie at Home!)
If you make this recipe, comment below and let me know what you think! Also, don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram, because I WANNA SEE!!
General Tso Shrimp
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1-2 inches ginger root sliced
- 1 1/2 lbs raw shrimp
- 1 cup red or green bell peppers sliced
General Tso Sauce
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes more for spicer taste
- Bring together all General Tso Sauce ingredients. Whisk to combine.
- Add vegetable oil to wok or skillet, and heat under high heat. Once oil is heated, add garlic, ginger and shrimp. Stir continuously for 1 minute.
- Add bell peppers to wok. Stir continuously for a few minutes. Once shrimp is curled and turns slightly pink (but doesn't have to be completely cooked at this point), add the sauce mixture.
- Stir continuously. Once sauce is thickened and shrimp is completely cooked, remove everything from heat promptly.
- Serve over rice, and enjoy!