Saturday, October 1, 2011

Not your Typical Take-Out: Orange Chicken

Last week, I set out to make a dish I'd never before eaten: Orange Chicken. Or, if you want to put on your Chinese accent, "O-hange Sheek-un." Although I do enjoy most Asian cuisine, I've never been tempted to order the typical dish that included questionable cuts of meat, fried, then smothered in an unnaturally-colored sauce.
Soooo....why, would I want to try the recipe, you ask? Well, this one actually sounded...good!


You do still fry the chicken, and cover it in a savory-sweet sauce, but I feel certain I can guarantee this is far better than any take-out in a box.

Start with about 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs), and cut them into 1 1/2" cubes.

Prepare the Orange Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest, grated
  • 1/2 - 1 cup packed brown sugar (I used 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger root, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons green onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch (reserve for later)
  • 2 Tablespoons water
In a large saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups water, orange juice, rice vinegar and soy sauce. Blend well over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in brown sugar, zest, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and let simmer while you fry the chicken.

Prepare three dishes for your batter and breading. For it, you'll need:
  • 1 1/2 cups corn starch
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Oil (I used canola)
In one dish, combine starch, salt and pepper. In the next, put the beaten eggs. In the last, the panko. Working assembly line-style, dip the chicken in the eggs. Then dredge in the corn starch. Dip again in the eggs, and finally, in the panko. This double-dredging method makes for a nice, crunchy batter than will hold up to the coating of the sauce.

Place chicken (in batches) in a single layer in a frying pan with the oil heated to 375 degrees. Here's where it's good to know your range, and when oil hits ideal frying temperature. I started frying before my oil was hot enough, and my first batch of chicken was only slightly golden. However, I over-adjusted, and my second batch was a little too brown.
Somewhere along the way, I got it just right.

Keep chicken warm in a low oven while you prepare side dishes. I served Basmati rice and lightly-sauteed broccoli.

Shortly before serving, combine 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1 cup of cool water and mix thoroughly. Slowly stir mixture into orange sauce until it thickens. Pour sauce over breaded chicken, and garnish with green onions. Ben and I kicked it up with Sriracha hot sauce, and I think it was a perfect addition, but for the kiddos, we kept it mild.

Now THAT was an Orange Chicken I could order up!

Recipe adapted from TheNoshery

1 comment:

  1. That looks exactly like what my husband orders at our local chinese. Every single time. I will definitely be trying this, hopefully I can convince him I DIDN'T order take out!