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Home » Ten days of Asian sauces, day 7: General Tso’s sauce

Ten days of Asian sauces, day 7: General Tso’s sauce

Sometimes you need to bring the heat. The question often is: how much heat?

Some dishes have several spicy ingredients, so varying the overall spice level can be tricky without risking throwing the flavor balance out of whack.

General Tso’s sauce gets its heat from basically one source: red chilies. It takes two forms: chili paste and red pepper flakes, but it’s essentially the same ingredient. That makes it easy to adjust the spice level: add or subtract from the amount of red pepper. In this recipe you have two chances to do that: at the beginning of making the sauce when you are “blooming” the spices (the best time if you have made the recipe before and know how much you need), or right at the end when the sauce is done and you are adjusting the seasonings. At that point it’s easy to quickly add incremental amounts and iterate until you get it right.

Just remember that if you’re still experimenting with the recipe, start on the conservative side with the spices: it’s easy to make a recipe spicier, but it’s very difficult to make it less spicy.

As an aside, I love the color of General Tso’s sauce: a nice, dark reddish-brown. Even if you can’t see red chilies, it kind of gives you a warning that this thing has some kick to it.

Peace, love, and biscuits,


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