Drop the take-out menu. We have a better idea!
What’s the only menu item that makes your fingers itch to call your local Chinese takeaway restaurant? Which dish makes your mouth water and you dream of white cardboard containers, chopsticks and this sweet and spicy goodness? For many of us, it’s General Tso’s chicken!
Friendly to your taste buds but a horror to your waistline
This satisfying recipe first became popular in the kitchens of American Chinese restaurants in the 1940s and 50s. General Tso’s Chicken is a deep-fried treat that, when cooked in a restaurant, is sure to be loaded with excessive fat and calories. In addition, depending on the restaurant, there is the possibility that it also comes with a dose of MSG. While this Chinese take-out option may taste amazing, it is certainly not conducive to a flat stomach or a narrower waistline!
Does that mean you have to go without your favorite dishes? Of course not! You just have to find a way to make your favorite recipes healthier! Fortunately, we did just that with this slow cooker version of General Tso’s Chicken!
A tasty, reduced-calorie take-away alternative
Slow-cooking chicken eliminates excess fat, cholesterol, and calories from deep-frying. We have also replaced some of the ingredients that keep the classic flavors of this dish while increasing its nutritional value.
Antioxidant-rich red peppers go perfectly with chicken, and we’ve added some health boosters to the spice mix too. Cayenne pepper boasts Capsaicin, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to curb cravings. in addition, ginger contributes to a healthy digestive system, is anti-inflammatory, and may even have cancer-fighting properties.
We also used low-sodium soy sauce to reduce the sodium content of this dish, as well as ingredients that are lower in sugar, like unsweetened pineapple juice. Using natural sweeteners like coconut sugar or honey is also a great way to make a recipe cleaner and better for you without affecting the taste!
Prepare the slow cooker General Tso’s Chicken
Put down the takeaway menu and do this easy, healthy, but just a delicious General Tso chicken at home!
The first thing you will do is to put the arrowroot powder, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder in a shallow bowl and mix thoroughly. Dip the chicken pieces in the mixture until covered on all sides and shake off the excess. Then take a pan and heat the oil over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Add the chicken pieces and sauté them for 30 to 60 seconds on one side before turning them over to brown the other side.
Next, add the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, pineapple juice, honey, garlic, water, cayenne pepper and ginger powder to the slow cooker. Stir well until the ingredients are evenly mixed. Finally, stir in the pepper strips, chopped white spring onions and browned chicken. Cook over low heat for four hours. Feel free to organize your day during this time!
You should check the chicken about 25 minutes before serving. If the sauce isn’t thick enough to your liking, beat a slurry of two tablespoons of cornstarch with two tablespoons of cold water and stir it slowly into the mixture. Let it cook for the remaining 25 minutes, then add the chopped green onion greens before serving!
The perfect side dishes for General Tso’s Chicken
Every chicken main course needs a tasty side or two. You can serve this dish with a base grain like brown rice, quinoa, or soba noodles. Vegetables like steamed broccoli, spinach, or kale are also good choices.
Of course, if you’d like to try other flavor options, we have plenty of recipes for them too. Check out one of these yummy Asian-inspired sites:
- 2 lb Boneless and skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized cubes
- 2 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
- 1/2 Cup Arrowroot powder or tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour), plus an additional 2 tablespoons reserved
- 1 teaspoon Salt-
- 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4th tablespoon Hoisin sauce
- 1/4 Cup soy sauce low in sodium
- 1/4 Cup Rice vinegar Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar can substitute
- 1/2 Cup Pineapple juice unsweetened
- 2 tablespoon honey or coconut palm sugar
- 1 tablespoon garlic chopped
- 2 tablespoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper add more if you prefer a spicier sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon Ginger powder
- 1 Red pepper Stalked, cored and cut into strips
- 1/4 Cup spring onions chopped, only the white part (save the green for garnish)
- 1/4 Cup Spring onion greens chopped, about a small bunch
Combine all of the dry ingredients to coat the chicken in a shallow bowl and mix thoroughly. Dip the chicken pieces until covered on all sides and shake off any excess mixture.
Heat the oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the chicken pieces, brown on one side for 30 seconds to a minute, and apply on the other side.
Put all sauce ingredients except the red pepper strips and the white shallot pieces in the slow cooker and mix well. After mixing, stir in the pepper strips and chopped white spring onions.
Carefully place the chicken in the sauce. Cook on low heat for 4 hours.
Check the chicken 25 minutes before serving. If the sauce is not thick enough to serve, whisk two tablespoons of starch gruel with two tablespoons of cold water and slowly stir into the mixture and let it cook for the remaining 25 minutes. Add chopped spring onion greens to serve.
Serving suggestions: Serve with a grain like brown rice, quinoa, or soba noodles and a greens like steamed broccoli, spinach, or kale.
SmartPoints (freestyle): 10
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We’d love to hear what you think of General Tso’s chicken from this slow cooker! Leave us a comment below!
Editor’s Note: This recipe was originally published on February 24, 2015.