Chinese Soul Food – Hsiao-Ching Chou

For years, with envy, I have studied photos on social media of friends attending dumpling workshops with Hsiao-Ching Chou in Seattle. I wanted to be there learning to pleat pillows of deliciousness into perfection. Traveling to Seattle for a dumpling class was out of the realm of possibility for me, so I resorted to wishing Hsiao-Ching would write a cookbook. Sometimes wishes come true. Chinese Soul Food: A Friendly Guide for Homemade Dumplings, Stir-Fries, Soups, and More was published a few weeks ago.

This title is everything I thought it would be and more. I love that that it focuses on food that the author makes for her family and not overly complicated or pretentious dishes. Nearly every recipe here is tagged to be made including the Orange beef, Stir-fried fresh rice noodles, and Red-braised pork belly pot stickers. A week back, I made the General Tso’s that we are sharing here today, and it was wonderful and far better than any I have had from take-out.

This weekend Darcie covered the Denver Post piece on this title along with the news of the special app that the author is testing. In addition, this April one of our main selections in the Eat Your Books Cookbook Club is Chinese Soul Food, it will be a delicious month. Hsiao-Ching is a member of our group and will be available to answer questions should they arise. Join the group and cook this book with us. 

Special thanks to Sasquatch Books for sharing the recipe below and for providing five copies of this book in our contest open to US members; Eat Your Books will choose one additional winner from members outside the US. Scroll to the bottom of this post to enter! 

General Tso’s chicken
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I always say that there’s nothing inherently wrong with crispy chicken cutlets in a thick, spicy, sticky-sweet, and salty sauce, but General Tso’s chicken isn’t Chinese. (There is a documentary about this topic called The Search for General Tso.) It does have the spirit of Chinese cooking, in that it combines textures and balances flavors, which is why it works. While it may not be authentic to Chinese cuisine, this dish is delicious. Because customers demanded General Tso’s chicken, we had to figure out how to make it. My father, who loved strawberry jam, decided on a whim to add it to the sauce. We also served a mild version of this dish called Strawberry Chicken. Customers loved it.

Makes 4 servings

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 stalk green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless chicken thighs
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • About 2 cups cornstarch

For the sauce:

  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons water, divided
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

1. In a large bowl, put the soy sauce, onions, sugar, and garlic, and stir to combine. Set aside.

2. Cut the chicken into pieces about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide. Add the chicken to the soy sauce marinade and stir to coat. Cover or transfer to a ziplock bag and marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.

3. Line a plate with several layers of paper towels. Set aside.

4. Place about 1½ inches of vegetable oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Heat the oil until it registers 350 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Dredge the marinated chicken pieces in the cornstarch. Fry the chicken in batches, stirring carefully to ensure even frying, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer the chicken to the prepared paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.

5. To make the sauce, in a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of the water with the cornstarch. Set aside.

6. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil and pepper flakes. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, jam, sugar, and the remaining ¼ cup water, and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the jam and sugar. Gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. You may not need all of the slurry. Let the sauce simmer for about 1 minute, or until the sauce darkens and starts to glisten. Remove the pan from the heat.

7. Add the chicken pieces to the sauce, and toss to combine. Serve with rice.

©2018 by Hsiao-Ching Chou. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Chinese Soul Food by permission of Sasquatch Books.


The publisher is offering five copies of this book to EYB Members in the US and EYB will choose one additional winner from members outside the US. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won’t be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on March 28th, 2018.

Post a comment


  • Kerreydp  on  February 20, 2018

    I’d make my favorite, Mu Shu Pork.

  • contest718  on  February 20, 2018

    Basil, chicken, and shrimp dumplings. I was addicted to dumplings when I was pregnant and now that we are trying for our rainbow baby, I seem to be addicted to them again lol.

  • BookWorm53  on  February 20, 2018

    Menu solved. General Tsao on the menu tomorrow. Thanks

  • Kristjudy  on  February 20, 2018

    Shrimp and pork noodles in broth.

  • amyz218  on  February 20, 2018

    Love the idea of Ginger-Onion Whole Steames Fish!

  • ravensfan  on  February 20, 2018

    Basil, chicken, and shrimp dumplings

  • davisesq212  on  February 20, 2018

    Oh my…so many yummy choices but I would try spicy clams with Chinese sausage. Or, maybe the orange beef. Or, maybe both at the same time. YUMMY.

  • infotrop  on  February 20, 2018

    Corn and Dungeness crab soup ; Dungeness crabs are in season right now in Oregon, and they are huge and sweet!

  • icicle  on  February 20, 2018

    Simple Congee — it just might get my breakfast ambivalent but rice loving kid a reason to eat in the morning.

  • cheftina888  on  February 20, 2018

    so much to choose from. I'll definitely make the three cup chicken and the basil, chicken and shrimp dumplings. after I perfect making the skin and filling, that I would like to make the soup dumplings for my family.

  • matag  on  February 20, 2018

    Dumpling knots aoup

  • jmay42066  on  February 20, 2018

    Pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings

  • JJWong  on  February 20, 2018

    So many recipes I want to try! I grew up eating so many of these foods. I'd make the soy sauce marbled eggs first!

  • Execchef1225  on  February 21, 2018

    Smacked cucumber

  • heyjude  on  February 21, 2018

    Sesame Flatbread

  • wester  on  February 21, 2018

    I'm still looking for a way to get duck breast really crisp, so Fragrant crispy duck breast is the recipe for me.

  • EmilyR  on  February 21, 2018

    Soup dumplings (Xiao long bao)

  • Joyceeong  on  February 21, 2018

    Chinese Barbecued Pork

  • lapsapchung  on  February 21, 2018

    I'd choose Smacked Cucumber because I've heard it mentioned so often recently and I'm curious – during my years of living in various parts of South East Asia I never came across it at all so I'm assuming it is a relatively new idea.

  • chawkins  on  February 21, 2018

    Any of the dumplings other than the soup dumplings.

  • lgroom  on  February 21, 2018

    I love Kung Pao anything so I'll do Kung Pao chicken.

  • annmartina  on  February 21, 2018

    The General Tso's chicken had me at strawberry jam

  • kmn4  on  February 21, 2018

    Dry-fried green beans

  • Siegal  on  February 21, 2018

    I want to make marbled soy sauce eggs

  • janv  on  February 21, 2018

    Mu shu pork

  • lebarron2001  on  February 21, 2018

    Red-braised pork belly pot stickers

  • abihamm  on  February 21, 2018

    Pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings

  • lpatterson412  on  February 21, 2018

    Wonton soup!!! This is always my favorite soup!

  • rchesser  on  February 21, 2018

    Red-braised pork belly pot stickers

  • Scotsman61  on  February 21, 2018

    General Tso's Chicken for me!

  • MaryCunningham86  on  February 21, 2018

    I have some fermented tofu in the fridge and not sure what to do with it, so I would try the fermented bean curd sauce!

  • jezpurr  on  February 22, 2018

    General Two and more!!!^_^

  • AnnaZed  on  February 22, 2018

    Spinach, egg, and shiitake dumplings (

  • JenJoLa  on  February 22, 2018

    Vegetable fried rice with curry

  • Frogcake  on  February 22, 2018

    Pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings. And without a doubt General Tsao chicken!

  • BookWorm53  on  February 22, 2018

    Made the recipe for General Tso chicken you posted. Thanks again. Very tasty and a very good version of what has become part of what people call Chinese comfort food. I would cut the cornstarch for the sauce in half. Make it more silky. But loved the taste. Look forward to trying other recipes from this book.

  • jmizu  on  February 23, 2018

    Sweet-and-Sour Spare Ribs and then the Pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings.

  • Steben  on  February 23, 2018

    Chicken chow mein

  • sgump  on  February 23, 2018

    Ma po tofu for me!

  • Betterlife1  on  February 24, 2018

    Definitely the General Tso’s Chicken that you’ve shared.

  • mpdeb98  on  February 24, 2018

    Orange beef

  • sweetchefgirl  on  February 24, 2018

    General Tso's Chicken, Yum!

  • clairew137  on  February 25, 2018

    Ma po tofu

  • Puguppy  on  February 25, 2018

    Spring rolls

  • jaelsne  on  February 25, 2018

    I love to order green onion pancakes when I'm in Chinese restaurants that serve them. It would be great to learn how to make them at home!

  • sarahawker  on  February 25, 2018

    Dumpling knots soup (Mian ge da tang)

  • PennyG  on  February 25, 2018

    Chinese noodles in meat sauce (Zha jiang mian) sounds great!

  • HermionieG  on  February 25, 2018

    General Tso's Chicken. The strawberry jam sounds interesting.

  • rachael_mc  on  February 25, 2018

    SOUP Dumpings! Yum!

  • acorgihouse  on  February 25, 2018

    Lion's Head Meatballs

  • littleminxgirl  on  February 25, 2018

    Pot Stickers! I love Pot Stickers!

  • Livia  on  February 26, 2018

    Definitely the wonton soup ! 🙂

  • parnassus  on  February 27, 2018

    the jian bings for sure! It's gaining popularity these days.

  • obbigttam  on  February 28, 2018

    Red-braised pork belly pot stickers – gotta love red pork

  • biro  on  February 28, 2018

    Steamed spare ribs with rice powder

  • lils74  on  February 28, 2018

    Three-cup chicken or Chicken with snow peas both sound good

  • Arinelle  on  February 28, 2018

    I guess it would be the spinach, egg, and shiitake dumplings.

  • LizyB  on  February 28, 2018

    General Tso's chicken

  • clappc  on  February 28, 2018

    Soy-ginger dipping sauce, for sure!

  • natashatheoharous  on  February 28, 2018

    The shao bing, hands down.

  • luccio  on  February 28, 2018

    Wontons – we love eating them, but have never tried making our own…

  • GregH  on  February 28, 2018

    Smacked cucumber

  • Sfgordon  on  February 28, 2018

    I'd like to try the homestyle hand-cut noodles.

  • fbrunetti  on  February 28, 2018

    Shao bing

  • curls  on  February 28, 2018

    Green onion pancakes

  • nadiam1000  on  March 1, 2018

    spring rolls

  • Cryambers  on  March 1, 2018

    Soup dumplings (Xiao long bao)

  • RecipesLost  on  March 1, 2018

    Tempted… Lion's head meatballs

  • jd5761  on  March 1, 2018

    Pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings would be my first choice

  • madelainelc  on  March 1, 2018

    Wonton Soup. I showed my partner this General Tso's recipe and we're going to try it this week.

  • akrupnick  on  March 1, 2018

    Soup dumplings. Yum.

  • kennethjohngilmour  on  March 2, 2018

    Green onion pancakes

  • maggie_moo  on  March 2, 2018

    Yum – shu mai "Pork and shrimp shao mai"

  • choppergirl  on  March 2, 2018

    Vegetable fried rice with curry

  • ejsimpson  on  March 2, 2018

    Mongolian Beef

  • sunset34  on  March 2, 2018

    saucy dungeness crab – thanks

  • BMeyer  on  March 2, 2018

    general tso's chicken

  • t.t  on  March 3, 2018

    Soup dumplings (Xiao long bao)

  • lindaeatsherbooks  on  March 4, 2018

    I would like to first make the Red-braised pork belly pot stickers.

  • RSW  on  March 4, 2018

    Dumpling dough

  • Ishtar  on  March 4, 2018

    Orange beef. Sounds amazing.

  • sstyles  on  March 4, 2018

    Pork and cabbage dumplings definitely.

  • Dannausc  on  March 4, 2018

    Smacked cucumber

  • Kimberly78  on  March 5, 2018

    Pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings

  • antpantsii  on  March 5, 2018

    Basil, chicken, and shrimp dumplings would be wonderful

  • Larkspur  on  March 5, 2018

    Orange beef

  • HeatherLynn  on  March 5, 2018

    I would love to check this cookbook out. I think the first thing I would make would be Beef with asparagus and shiitake mushrooms!

  • kitchenclimbers  on  March 6, 2018

    Green onion pancakes

  • PollySBA  on  March 7, 2018

    Is it too pedestrian of me to try the General Tso's first?

    oh well, pedestrian tastes

  • Jenamarie  on  March 8, 2018

    Chinese cabbage and tofu soup

  • Coffeebean  on  March 9, 2018

    Mongolian beef

  • trudys_person  on  March 10, 2018

    Chicken Chow Mein or Long Life Noodles – I love noodles!

  • sus1ecooks  on  March 11, 2018

    Ginger-onion whole steam fish I would give a try first.

  • hc_bailey  on  March 11, 2018

    Red-braised pork belly pot stickers

  • kbennall  on  March 12, 2018

    Any of the fish dumplings; any of the beef dumplings, especially the one with celery hearts; and ALL the chili sauces.

  • NaomiH  on  March 12, 2018

    Salt-and-Sichuan pepper shrimp

  • LaraM  on  March 12, 2018

    Green onion pancakes

  • cellenly  on  March 13, 2018

    Green onion pancakes

  • cake17uk  on  March 15, 2018

    I'd make Hot-and-sour soup, remember having a wonderful bowl of this before, would love to recreate it

  • Moniquelfp  on  March 15, 2018

    Mu Shu pork! Yum.

  • lauriesk  on  March 15, 2018

    I would try the Orange Beef first.

  • sallansd  on  March 16, 2018

    Basil, chicken, and shrimp dumplings

  • PeavineBlues  on  March 16, 2018

    Scallion pancakes

  • Julia  on  March 16, 2018

    Lion’s head meatballs

  • BridgetL  on  March 16, 2018

    Orange Beef

  • vikingcook  on  March 16, 2018

    Right now the rice noodles sound like pure comfort food!

  • kitchen_chick  on  March 16, 2018

    Soup dumplings!

  • GillB  on  March 16, 2018

    Twice cooked pork

  • centraljersey  on  March 17, 2018

    Would like to be better at making dumplings

  • ohyoucook  on  March 17, 2018

    Wok seared corn and green onions.

  • circ2000  on  March 17, 2018

    General Tsao Chicken…

  • verorenee  on  March 17, 2018

    Basil chicken and shrimp dumpling

  • Karla123  on  March 17, 2018

    Vegetarian's delight would be a "delight" to eat.

  • kerrin1976  on  March 18, 2018

    Chicken chow mein and wonton soup

  • TanyaD  on  March 18, 2018

    Pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings

  • HomespunHouse  on  March 18, 2018

    Just a roasted sweet potato

  • Singleta417  on  March 18, 2018

    Spring rolls

  • robynsanyal  on  March 20, 2018

    Marbled soy sauce eggs

  • chimpbob  on  March 20, 2018

    Sesame Flatbread

  • munki  on  March 22, 2018

    Lion's head meatballs.

  • rosalee  on  March 22, 2018

    I'll never say no to ma po tofu!

  • RickPearson54  on  March 23, 2018

    general tso

  • Lmocooks  on  March 24, 2018

    Beef with pickled chinese mustard greens

  • MusicCityMissy  on  March 25, 2018

    Because I love noodles, Home Style Hand Cut Noodles.

  • Uhmandanicole  on  March 26, 2018

    Home Style Hand Cut Noodles

  • Foodycat  on  March 26, 2018

    I've never had General Tso's chicken because I am not American, and I am so horrified at the idea of strawberry jam in it that I'd have to try that first.

  • orchidlady01  on  March 27, 2018

    Pork and shrimp shao mai

  • mph993  on  March 27, 2018

    Red-braised pork belly pot stickers – always looking to add more kinds of dumplings to out rotation!

  • hungryinhouston  on  March 27, 2018

    Red-braised pork belly potstickers!

  • Sueskitchen  on  March 27, 2018

    orange beef

  • Maefleur  on  March 27, 2018

    Pork and cabbage dumplings to start!

  • hirsheys  on  March 27, 2018

    Pork, shrimp, and Chinese chives dumplings

  • eveaway  on  March 27, 2018

    Green onion pancakes (on page 90), would be the first recipe that I would try from Chinese Soul Food. Thanks!

  • PattiK47  on  March 28, 2018

    The dumplings first and then General Tsao's Chicken

  • mandaoverturf  on  March 28, 2018


  • monique.potel  on  March 28, 2018

    The General Tso's chicken
    looks yummy

  • Jostlori  on  March 28, 2018

    Marbled Soy Sauce Eggs

Seen anything interesting? Let us know & we'll share it!