Craving a Chinese classic, but can’t afford the carbs? Try a homemade version of Low-Carb General Tso’s Chicken.
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If I want Chinese food around here, I usually have to make it myself. We have one restaurant with a few decent Asian dishes, but it’s only open a few months a year (when the tourists are here). I used to love eating General Tso’s Chicken, but it’s often fried first and then coated in a sticky sweet sauce that doesn’t really make it heart-healthy or diabetic-friendly. When I saw this recipe for a healthier version in Ching’s Everyday Easy Chinese by Ching-He Huang, I knew I had to try it.
Ching’s recipe is quick and easy, always a plus, but it calls for yellow bean sauce, which I couldn’t find in any of my local markets. In the back of her book, Ching includes a glossary that says yellow bean sauce is “made from fermented yellow soy beans, dark brown sugar and rice wine.” Once I read that, I decided hoisin sauce would be a decent substitute. If you can find yellow bean sauce, by all means, use it.
This low-carb General Tso’s Chicken is both sweet and spicy. It has some heat, but it’s not overpowering. (The CompostMaster’s head didn’t even sweat while he was eating it.) You can serve the chicken with the chiles for a pop of color, but don’t actually eat the chiles. I’m sure you already knew this, but just in case …
Nutritional Overview of Low-Carb General Tso’s Chicken
I hope you’re sitting down for this next part. An order of General Tso’s Chicken in a typical Chinese restaurant has more than 844 calories, 40g fat, 2100mg sodium, and 60g carb! Ching is my kind of chef – she has managed to shave off more than 570 calories, 30g fat, 970mg sodium, and 20g carb without sacrificing taste. Her low-carb General Tso’s Chicken is still a bit high in sodium due to all of the bottled items in the sauce. Using low-sodium tamari or soy sauce will help. I prefer tamari to traditional soy sauce because it seems less salty to me and it contains no wheat. You could also skip seasoning the chicken with salt at the beginning. This recipe is a good source of Protein, Vitamin K, Niacin, Vitamin B6 and Selenium.
Make It A Meal
Serve the chicken with some steamed broccoli, edamame or Sugar Snap Pea Salad. This version is so much healthier than what you’d get in a restaurant and almost as easy as ordering take-out!
Disclosure: I received a free review copy of Ching’s Everyday Easy Chinese by Ching-He Huang from HarperCollins Publishers. This post contains at least one affiliate link.
Low-Carb General Tso's Chicken
Quick and easy, low-carb version of a Chinese classic
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Thai chili sauce
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
- 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into ½-inch cubes
- Kosher salt
- Ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 4 dried red chiles
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry
- 4 scallions chopped
In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce (tamari, hoisin sauce, ketchup, chili sauce, and brown sugar). Mix well and set aside.
In a medium bowl, put the chicken and season it with salt and white pepper. Add the cornstarch and mix well. Set aside.
Heat a wok over high heat, then add the peanut oil. Add the garlic and red chiles, stirring for a few seconds, then add the chicken. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes. When the chicken begins to turn opaque, add the sherry. Cook for another couple of minutes, then add the sauce and bring the mixture to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the chicken is done and the sauce has thickened, another minute or two. Turn off the heat and stir in the scallions. Serve immediately.