Have you ever been to a mall and had someone try to stuff a piece of orange chicken on a toothpick down your throat? Or have you ever found a box of leftover chicken in the back of your fridge from your take out order two weeks ago? Orange chicken has become a part of the American Asian cuisine. But often people resort to forking over their cash for someone else to make it. Is it usually tasty? Yes. But could it be better made at home? Oh yeah! Typically I find the orange chicken you enjoy at the mall, the crispy coating on the chicken has long since lost it’s crisp. Making it yourself you can bring the crisp back to this popular Asian inspired dish.
I found a recipe for orange chicken on the website, the Noshery. Whenever I look up a recipe, I always type in the word “blog” next to whatever I am searching with hopes of avoiding websites like cooks.com or allrecipes.com. I find it hard to find good recipes on those sites.
Here is the ingredient list taken form the Noshery below. I did make some changes: I opted for flour instead of corn starch in the batter. Go for a low protein flour, like cake flour for a more crisp coating. I also did not use the red pepper flakes or green onions called for in the sauce. I still included them in the list as optional ingredients.
For the chicken
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs cut into 1-1/2” cubes
- 1 ½ cups low protein flour cake flour
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 eggs beaten
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Oil for frying I used canola
For the orange sauce
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice I used 1 Valencia orange
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon orange zest grated
- 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar I used dark
- ½ teaspoon ginger root minced
- ½ teaspoon garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons green onion chopped (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
To thicken the sauce
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
To coat the chicken
- I like to use pie or cake pans whenever I coat chicken or seafood. I put flour (seasoned with salt and pepper) in one, the eggs in another, and the panko in the last one. The chicken goes into the flour first, then into the egg, and finally into the panko.
To fry the chicken
- Heat up your oil to 375 degrees. I like using a cast iron dutch oven to do my frying in. A handy deep fry thermometer will help you to maintain the proper temperature.
- Be careful not to add too much chicken at one time, or you will cool the oil down too much.
- Be patient, work in batches until all your chicken is golden brown. I like to keep my chicken warm by placing it in the oven set to the lowest possible setting.
To make the sauce
- Place the 1 1/2 cups of water, orange juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce into a sauce pan over medium heat. Give a good stir allow to cook for a few mintues - for the flavors to combine.
- Then add in the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.
- While this is going on stir the water and corn starch together.
- Stir slowly into the pan and cook until the mixture has thicken.
Serve the chicken over a bed of sushi rice along with broccoli or cooked bok choy. I recommend just keeping the sauce separate from the chicken and just serving it over the chicken when ready. That way leftover chicken will still have a chance at maintaining that crispiness.
I was very pleased with the way this turned out. At first I thought the 1/3 cup of rice vinegar was a lot but it worked perfectly with the sweetness of the brown sugar. Using freshly squeezed orange juice really made a difference. My wife agrees best orange chicken we ever had.