I was recently in the vicinity of a Panda Express, and somehow found myself standing inside staring down at all of their entrées trying to decide what to get. Who am I kidding… the only thing I’ve ever ordered from the popular “Chinese” fast-food chain is their Orange chicken and quite simply, I’m a creature of habit. Mind you, I don’t go there often for the mere health/calorie factor, but sometimes I like to indulge. I did try a taste of their Mongolian beef, and have now added that as my second favorite dish of theirs. After I got home and ate (okay, devoured) my meal, I made it my mission to try to duplicate the recipe at home. I was quite surprised to find out that there is no orange whatsoever in the recipe, but assume the name is derived from the orange-ish color it takes on. My first attempt was decent, but the sauce was much different and it was, in no way, up to my usual standards. So, as they say, if at first you don’t succeed…
Needless to say, my second attempt (which is this recipe) was a winner in my book.
I made the chicken first before starting anything else, and just set it aside for later.
I suggest you combine the ingredients in the “orange sauce” prior to adding it to the wok (which will make more sense when you see the instructions below). The sauce has been doubled from a previous version, which I think is necessary if you like having extra.
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken, chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 egg
- 1½ tsp salt
- Pinch of white pepper
- 2 tbsp oil, divided, plus more oil for frying
- ½ cup + 1 tbsp cornstarch, divided
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 tbsp ginger, minced
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
- ½ tsp crushed hot red chili pepper
- ¼ cup green onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp rice wine (not rice wine vinegar)
- ¼ cup water
For the “Orange” Sauce
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp water
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup white vinegar
- In a large bowl, mix together the egg, salt, pepper, and 1 tbsp of oil. Mix well. Stir in the chicken pieces.
- In medium bowl, stir together the flour and ½ cup cornstarch. Add the chicken pieces, stirring to coat.
- Heat oil for deep-frying in a wok or deep fryer to 375°F.
- Add the chicken, small batches at a time, and fry for 4-5 minutes until golden crisp (but avoid overcooking the chicken). When done, remove the chicken from the oil with tongs or a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
- Clean the wok if you used it and heat for 15 seconds over high heat. Lower to medium high and add 1 tbsp of oil.
- Add the ginger and garlic and stir fry until fragrant, about 10 seconds.
- Add the crushed chiles and green onions, then the rice wine, stirring for a few seconds.
- Add the orange sauce and bring to a boil.
- Take the remaining 1 tbsp of cornstarch, put in a small bowl, and add the water to it and mix well. Add this cornstarch mix to the wok and heat until the sauce has thickened.
- Add the cooked chicken, stirring until well incorporated.
- Remove from heat, and serve over white, brown or fried rice.
Note: To make this healthier, you can substitute rolling the chicken in the flour and cornstarch and frying, with coating it in seasoned breadcrumbs and baking in the oven. Then follow the rest of the recipe.