Healthy Recipe: General Tso’s Chicken from The Foodie Physician - South OC Moms

Want to get dinner on the table in under 30 minutes? That’s exactly what this healthy recipe for General Tso’s Chicken delivers.  “It’s better than take-out and healthier too!” says Dr. Sonali Ruder, aka The Physician Foodie, who is an ER doctor, a classically trained chef, and a mom of two. Her easy take on a Chinese food classic serves up all of the flavor your family is craving but none of the questionable ingredients that often come along with take-out: “Your kids will love the crispy chicken and tangy, slightly sweet sauce.”

Dr. Ruder’s secret to creating flavor without a greasy texture is to air fry the chicken. “Air frying is a healthy cooking technique that gives food the same crispy texture as fried food but with less calories and fat.” And since the sauce comes together while the chicken is cooking, you’ll be eating in less time than it would take you to order and pick up dinner. A mom win!



1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8 thighs), cut into bite-sized pieces

2 teaspoons reduced sodium soy sauce (or tamari if gluten free)

3 tablespoons cornstarch


2 teaspoons vegetable oil or other neutral-flavored oil

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon garlic

⅛ – ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce (or tamari if gluten free)

1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce 

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

¾ cup reduced sodium chicken stock

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water

2 scallions, sliced

Sesame seeds for garnish


  1. Preheat air fryer to 400°F.
  2. Mix the chicken with 2 teaspoons of soy sauce and let it sit for a few minutes to marinate. Then, toss the chicken and cornstarch together in a large zip topped plastic bag until the chicken pieces are fully coated.
  3. Spray or brush the air fryer rack with oil and arrange the chicken pieces on the rack in a single layer. Do not overcrowd the pan (you may have to cook the chicken in batches). Cook 8-10 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Shake the basket halfway through. Remove the chicken and place on a plate. Cook the remaining chicken.
  4. To make the sauce, heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the soy sauce, Hoisin sauce, chicken stock, vinegar, brown sugar, and sesame oil and simmer 2-3 minutes. Mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water and add it to the saucepan. Simmer another minute or two until thickened. Remove from heat.
  5. Remove chicken from the air fryer and toss with the sauce. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds. 
  6. Serve the chicken with brown rice or another side of your choice.

Dr. Ruder is a prolific recipe creator who has competed on The Food Network. You can check out her myriad cookbooks here and follow her on Instagram @thefoodiephysician

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