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Low Histamine General Tso’s Chicken (Soy Free Chinese Food)

This heavily modified soy-free General Tso’s Chicken recipe exactly fulfilled my craving! It took a few batches before we got the ratios right, but most recently the sauce came out as close to perfection as one can hope to find. Served over a bowl of fluffy Jasmine rice, this low histamine Chinese dish really hit all the tangy, sweet, umami, and salty notes one craves in General Tso’s sauce.

Please Note: While this HIT-friendly version uses the lowest-histamine substitutions, many of you may still be unable to tolerate some of these things, whether due to an allergy or lingering intolerance. If this sounds like you, PLEASE wait until you have more space in your bucket before trying this recipe.

About this recipe

Not for Beginners: this recipe is neither easy for someone new to cooking, nor recommended for someone new to low histamine eating. This dish is a moderate histamine version of a dish so loaded with high histamine ingredients that it’s impossible for many people to even dream of eating.

Copycat General Tso’s Chicken: here we live quite close to a Chinese takeout, and the smell always awakens old cravings in me, so with my bucket low, this is my attempt at a recreation of my old go-to order.

Make-Ahead: The sauce freezes beautifully, and so do the raw chicken tenders (for instant cooking later on).

Ingredients

Almond Flour: when blended with the rice flour, this creates a crunchy, crispy low histamine coating for chicken tenders, without bringing gluten to the table.

Whole Eggs: eggs are used to bind the coating to the chicken tenders, but if you’re unable to tolerate them, you could replace it with a flax egg.

Chicken Broth: this adds umami flavor to the sauce; click here for a low histamine recipe.

Coconut Aminos: it’s still up for debate as to the histamine impact of coconut aminos, but they are a fermented food, which is widely an automatic no-no on a low histamine diet.

Umeboshi Paste: much like coconut aminos, umeboshi adds a complexity and a bit of salt to the flavor of the sauce. Umeboshi is a fermented food, but it’s also been studied as an active anti-histamine, and much like coconut aminos it’s been found to have little residual histamine according to some studies.

How to make general tso’s chicken: step-by-step instructions

Step 1. Wash & chop the hot or bell pepper (if using), and mince the garlic.

Step 2. Put your chopped pepper in a pan over medium-low heat, and dry-cook for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, measure 2 Tablespoons of sherry wine or tamarind juice out, and then use a wine wand in the sherry for at least ten minutes, stirring gently whenever you remember to.

Step 3. Add sesame oil and garlic to the stir-frying pepper, and sauté for 3 more minutes, when garlic is just starting to brown.

Step 4. While the mixture sautés, mix together the chicken broth, apple cider vinegar, sherry wine, coconut aminos, umeboshi, honey, black pepper (if using), and ginger puree. Once the garlic starts to brown, add in the vinegar mixture.

Step 5. Stir everything together for 30 seconds, and then let it cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the sauce is lightly boiling, turn the temp fully to low. Mix 2 teaspoons of arrowroot starch with 2 Tablespoons of water until they form a slurry. Add the slurry to your sauce and combine well, until the mixture has thickened.

Step 6. Preheat your oven or air fryer to 400°F/205°C for 5 minutes. Crack your eggs into a small bowl, and then blend them until they’re a light yellow color. Measure out your almond flour, rice flour, garlic powder, sea salt, and baking powder into a separate bowl, mixing them until well-combined.

Step 7. Dip each of your chicken tenders into the egg, and then into the almond flour and line the dredged tenders up on a plate while the air fryer preheats. Once the fryer is ready, spray it with cooking spray, and then line up the tenders in a single layer and cook at 400°F/205°C for 3-4 minutes on each side, until lightly browned.

Step 8. Once cooked, toss your air-fried chicken or cauliflower in the sauce until coated, then sprinkle tops with toasted sesame seeds and chopped chives. Serve with a side of steamed veggies & enjoy!

Recipe notes & tips

Changing Ingredients: if you can’t tolerate any of these ingredients, you can change the type of meat, but there isn’t much you can do with many of these ingredients, which are themselves substitutions.

Freezing the Chicken: as mentioned above, the sauce freezes beautifully, but if you want to freeze the tenders, I do recommend cooking them fully first. They’ll stay good in the freezer for up to 6 months; to reheat them simply play in the oven or air fryer at 400°F/205°C for 5-7 minutes and enjoy.

Homemade General Tso’s Chicken Recipe Card

As always, if you like the recipe, I really appreciate a review or comment!

Low Histamine General Tso's Chicken Recipe

Low Histamine General Tso's Chicken Recipe

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Oven-baked chicken tenders with a sticky sweet & spicy sauce that's reminiscent of the famous Chinese chicken!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. organic chicken tenderloins, cut into inch-long pieces (can sub with cauliflower)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup extra-fine almond flour
  • 1/2 cup rice flour (brown or white, but not sweet)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (optional)
  • avocado oil cooking spray (olive oil is also okay)
  • 1 organic serrano pepper (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger puree
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth (homemade, if possible)
  • 2 Tablespoons sherry wine (use a wine wand for 10 minutes; alt. 2 Tablespoons tamarind juice)
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 Tablespoon umeboshi (Japanese plum paste)*
  • 2 Tablespoons real honey (make sure it's not adulterated!)
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot starch
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1 Tablespoon roasted sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Wash & chop serrano pepper, and mince garlic.
  2. Put chopped pepper in pan over medium-low heat, and dry-cook for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, measure 2 Tablespoons of sherry wine out, and then use a wine wand in the mixture for at least ten minutes, stirring gently whenever you remember to.
  3. Add sesame oil and garlic, and sauté for 3 more minutes, when garlic is just starting to brown.
  4. While the mixture sautés, mix together the broth, apple cider vinegar, sherry wine, coconut aminos, umeboshi, honey, black pepper, and ginger puree. Once the garlic starts to brown, add in the vinegar mixture.
  5. Stir everything together for 30 seconds, and then let it cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Once the sauce is lightly boiling, turn the temp fully to low. Mix 2 teaspoons of arrowroot starch with 2 Tablespoons of water until they form a slurry. Add the slurry to your sauce and combine well, until the mixture has thickened.
  7. Preheat your oven or air fryer to 400°F/205°C for 5 minutes. Crack your eggs into a small bowl, and then blend them until they're a light yellow color. Measure out your almond flour, rice flour, garlic powder, sea salt, and baking powder into a separate bowl, mixing them until well-combined.
  8. Dip each of your chicken tenders into the egg, and then into the almond flour and line the dredged tenders up on a plate while the air fryer preheats. Once the fryer is ready, spray it with cooking spray, and then line up the tenders in a single layer and cook at 400°F/205°C for 3-4 minutes on each side, until lightly browned.
  9. Once cooked, toss your air-fried chicken or cauliflower in the sauce until coated, then sprinkle tops with toasted sesame seeds and chopped chives. Serve with a side of steamed veggies & enjoy!

Notes

PLUM PASTE. *Umeboshi is a fermented food, but it's also been studied as an active anti-histamine, and found to have little residual histamine according to some studies.

OTHER INGREDIEINTS. If you can't tolerate any of these ingredients, you can change the type of meat, but there isn't much you can do with many of these ingredients, which are themselves substitutions.

FREEZING INSTRUCTIONS. As mentioned above, the sauce freezes beautifully, but if you want to freeze the tenders, I do recommend cooking them fully first. They'll stay good in the freezer for up to 6 months; to reheat them simply play in the oven or air fryer at 400°F/205°C for 5-7 minutes and enjoy.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 524.55kcalTotal Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 21.88ggUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 190mgSodium: 1252.76mgmgCarbohydrates: 42.03ggFiber: 5gSugar: 17.48ggProtein: 35.77gg

Nutrition data is primarily accumulated from online calculators for convenience and courtesy only, and can vary depending on factors such as measurements, brands, and so on. We encourage you to double-check and make your own calculations.

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Kjboldon

Tuesday 3rd of May 2022

The ingredient list says 2 Tbl of wine but the instructions say 1/4 cup and then don't say when to add it or the grated ginger?

lowhistamineeats

Wednesday 4th of May 2022

You're totally right-- the 2 Tablespoons is correct; the other amount is from an earlier draft, my apologies. But the ginger puree/grated ginger is to be added in step 4 along with the vinegar, broth, sherry wine, and other spices, as indicated in the instructions.

Sheila

Saturday 26th of March 2022

• 1/2 cup rice flour, brown or white-not sweet • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder • 1/2 tsp. sea salt • 1/4 tsp. baking powder These are listed in the ingredients, but not in the directions. Are they part of the recipe? If so, where are they used?

lowhistamineeats

Saturday 26th of March 2022

Oh my gosh-- you are absolutely right. They're part of the almond flour coating, and should be mixed in with the almond flour before you dredge the egg-coated chicken through it. I'm correcting that now; I'm so sorry for that!

Iggy

Friday 7th of January 2022

How can this be low histamine with umeboshi paste, vinegar, coconut aminos and sherry? They are all fermented and therefore NOT low histamine.

lowhistamineeats

Saturday 8th of January 2022

Being fermented does not mean that an ingredient is net high histamine— but before I get into each of those ingredients, I want to reiterate that this is not a recipe for your first month or two of eating low histamine. As it states in the introduction, this is a recipe for someone who knows their histamine "bucket" is low and can handle a bit of histamine, but wouldn't dare to go out and get some Chinese takeaway. I marked it Level 3, the highest levels on this site, for those same ingredients that you mentioned.

That said, I decided to experiment with umeboshi paste after reading this study which evaluated the relationship between umeboshi consumption and inhibition of allergies. Like many foods which also contain histamine, umeboshi paste has been found to lower histamine levels, overall. You should read the study yourself, if you're interested in learning more, but the key takeaway is "From these views, ume [umeboshi paste] intake may not only inhibit mast cell degranulation but also may influence the regulation of oestradiol." So after testing it on myself, in lieu of tomato paste I used & now continue to use umeboshi paste in small quantities. As for the vinegar, the SIGHI list marks apple cider vinegar a 1 and white vinegar as a 0, and I reintroduced them in small quantities last year with no issue, but every body is different. Coconut aminos are indeed fermented, but have been found to have undetectable levels of histamine, though if you have another food-related sensitivities, I can't speak to their effect upon those. Finally is the sherry, which I used a wine wand on for 15 minutes, to decrease the histamine content, and of which there are 2 Tablespoons in the entire recipe. Again, I've had no issues with it, but I always recommend to reintroduce foods one at a time.

I am very careful with which ingredients I use in my recipes, and I try to make disclaimers as clear as possible, because I know that beginners to a low histamine diet use this site, too. But in the end, you should only make recipes that you feel comfortable with, using ingredients you've already cleared. Best of luck, Iggy, and I appreciate the question. :)

Cecilia Pfeiffer

Sunday 19th of September 2021

Good morning! I found the information that you share so valuable and detailed. Thanks a lot! I would like to know if Tofu has high histamine or not.? Which Plant-based protein you suggest? Thanks so much. Best regards,

lowhistamineeats

Sunday 19th of September 2021

You're very welcome, Cecilia! Soy derivatives like tofu are indeed high histamine, and quite high histamine at that. Right now my main sources of protein are meats and nuts & whole grains, so if you're looking for a high-protein low-histamine plant-based sub for this recipe, that's quite frankly going to be super difficult or even impossible. But you can use an almond flour-based breading (as I did) on big pieces of cauliflower. They're unpictured, but my vegetarian roommate made cauliflower "poppers" with the same batter before we did the chicken, and she seemed to like it just as much as I did.

Maria

Thursday 9th of September 2021

Can you share which plum paste you use?

lowhistamineeats

Thursday 9th of September 2021

Yeah, of course! I'm not sure how it didn't end up in any of the pictures I chose. It's the Eden brand, which I bought at my local organic market, but you can also get here.

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