General Tso’s Chicken

De Arbol (Capsicum Annuum) means tree like in Spanish. The plant has thick, upright, woody stems and the chile itself is narrow, curved and bright red in color. Believed to be closely related to the pequin, the De Arbol is thin fleshed, with tannic, smoky, grassy flavor and searing heat. This chile has a heat range of 7.5 on the heat scale of 1-10. De Arbol Chiles are comparable to a Cayenne Pepper. Scoville heat units 15,000 to 30,000.

Suggested Use:
De Arbol is a hot chile and a staple in Southwest kitchens. Add some heat to your next salsa or Mexican dish. Be adventurous and add them to your next stew or chili along with the other spices. Add some heat to your next salsa or Mexican dish.

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1 pound chicken breasts without skin
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 egg white, beaten frothy
1 cup vegetable oil
3 dried hot chile peppers, broken (de arbol or Thai bird’s eye chiles)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. rice wine
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/4 tsp. salt


Place the chicken pieces in a glass bowl. Combine 1 Tbsp. of soy sauce and 1 Tbsp. of cornstarch and blend in the beaten egg white. Pour the mixture over the chicken and toss to coat well. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining soy sauce, vinegar, rice wine and 1 tsp. of cornstarch. Mix until smooth, then stir in the sugar, sesame oil and salt.

In a wok heat the oil and deep-fry the chicken, a few pieces at a time, about 1 minute, or until golden brown. Remove the chicken pieces and drain on paper towels. Pour all but about 2 Tbsp. of the oil out of the wok, then add the chile peppers, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 1 minute. Pour the sauce mixture into the wok and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute, until thickened, then return the chicken pieces to the wok. Mix well and serve mmediately.

Yields 2 servings.

Recipe by Karla Guice on