Orange Chicken — Damn Delicious

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Orange Chicken

The only reason why I wanted to make this dish was because of the title of the recipe: Panda Express Orange Chicken. I love Panda Express just as much as the next person but because it’s in the fast food category, I can’t eat it as much as I want to so I decided to make the homemade version.

This was definitely one of those more tedious and complicated recipes but all in all, it was an adventure to make. My favorite part was when I added the cornstarch at the very end and the sauce just magically began to thicken. The art of cornstarch is amazing, really.

So once I finished cooking and took the first bite, I was initially disappointed. It didn’t taste anything like Panda Express! And then the boyfriend took a bite and he said, “Mmmmmm. Oh wow. This definitely doesn’t taste like Panda Express. It tastes better.”

And he was right. The flavors were more intense, especially the bold orange flavor. It was wonderfully sweet and well balanced with the bitterness, giving it that sweet and sour taste. I served this over rice but I’m excited to make this again with some chicken lo mein.

Orange Chicken (adapted from Food.com):

Yields 4 servings

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided, plus more for frying
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 lb boneless skinless chicken, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons white vinegar
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, optional
  • Jasmine rice, for serving

Heat 1/2-inch oil in a medium Dutch oven or in a medium saucepan to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the egg, 1 tablespoon oil, salt and pepper, to taste.

In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup cornstarch and flour.

Add to the egg mixture and whisk again.

Add the chicken, stirring to coat.

Working in batches, add the chicken to the hot oil and fry until evenly golden brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes.

Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; repeat to cook remaining chicken.

To make the orange sauce, combine the soy sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons water, sugar, vinegar and orange zest; set aside.

Combine 1/4 cup water and remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Whisk until smooth; set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a wok or saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and saute until fragrant, about 10 seconds.

Add the red pepper flakes and green onions and saute for 30 seconds.

Add the rice wine and stir for 3 seconds.

Add the reserved orange sauce and bring to a boil.

Add the chicken, stirring to coat.

Add reserved cornstarch mixture and cook, while stirring, until sauce is thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in sesame oil, if desired.

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