Orange Chicken

14 April 2013

Orange Chicken
Orange Chicken

This one is the real deal.  Many recipes floating around, but this one is authentic.

Lately any recipe I see for this uses chicken breast.  That's OK I guess but Chinese don't use it in this dish or most "red" stews or anything with soy sauce.  Breast meat is reserved for lighter, "white" dishes that are quickly cooked.  In stews or anything "twice-cooked" the poultry used is thighs.  Breast is too light in flavor to handle this sauce--it gets lost in the taste of it.  This dish requires a bolder flavor in the meat.  I learned a great deal about Chinese cuisine way back in college.  A friend's sister managed a restaurant in Chinatown and gave up a few secrets...lucky for me!!!

Yes, the dish is a bit fussy, but it's well worth the effort AND it's cheaper than take-out and better than the stuff from your grocer's freezer.

Orange Chicken

For the chicken:

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs oil
  • oil for deep frying

For the sauce:

  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 tbs minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion (reserve some for garnish--about 1 tbs)
  • 1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 tbs mirin or saki
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbs cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbs rice vinegar
  • 5 tbs sugar
  • zest of 1 whole orange

Cut chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl.  Mix the 1/2 cup cornstarch, flour, salt, and pepper.  Beat the egg in a small bowl with the 1 tbs oil. Mix in the cornstarch mixture.  Add the cornstarch/egg mixture to the chicken in the bowl.  Coat well.

Heat enough oil to deep fry in a large, deep skillet or wok.  Heat oil to 375 degrees. Fry chicken in batches so there is plenty of room around the chicken.  Maybe 6-8 pieces at a time.  Fry on each side 5-7 minutes or until crisp and beginning to brown. Drain with slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate.  Repeat until all chicken is cooked.

Mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and orange zest in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Remove oil from wok and wipe out.  Heat over high heat for about 10 seconds and add the other 1 tbs of oil.  Add the minced garlic and ginger and stir fry until very aromatic--maybe 15 seconds.  Add the broccoli and stir fry for 15 seconds.  Add the green onion and the pepper flakes and stir fry for 10 seconds.  Stir the sauce in the bowl and add it to the wok.  Bring sauce to boil.  Add the mirin/saki and the sesame oil.  Mix the 1/4 cup water and 1 tbs cornstarch and add to the boiling sauce, stirring constantly until sauce is thickened and bubbling.  Add cooked chicken coating well with sauce.

Serve immediately over rice.

Makes 4 servings
Orange Chicken
Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken
Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken
Orange Chicken


Lillian (My Recipe Journey) said...

As you know, I'm loving homemade Chinese food these days! This looks so tasty...I love the ingredients in the sauce! Great post! =)

Judith Hannemann said...

Me too Lillian...something in the air maybe? LOL and I have wontons up next!!!!

Gwen said...

This certainly does look wonderful! Great tip using dark meat, will do!

kankana said...

I really didn't know about the breast and thigh part. Thanks for sharing. I love orange chicken and now i know why mine doesn't taste like theirs.

Judith Hannemann said...

Thanks ladies--you will notice a big difference in taste if you use the thighs. <3

julia said...

Yum!! I just made this for dinner, and it was amazing! I substituted regular flour for gluten free all purpose flour, and it worked perfectly. Thanks so much for sharing!

Judith Hannemann said...

THUMBS UP Julia!!!! So glad you liked it!!!

Anonymous said...

No orange juice in orange chicken? Did I read that wrong. Interesting recipe.

Judith Hannemann said...

Nope no orange juice. Just the zest.

RGD said...

Has anyone have success with this recipe? All I get is a clumpy gooey mess that dose not stick to the chicken. I have now wasted 4 pounds of chicken on this recipe.

Please reply, I really want to try this one.

Judith Hannemann said...

RGD--are you patting the chicken dry before you attempt to coat it with the cornstarch mixture? That's what I do and I only coat a couple of pieces at a time. The "batter" is very sticky but it will adhere as long as the chicken isn't wet or too slimy (sorry, no other word fit). I also pound my chicken pieces down some so there's more surface area to coat. You could also try refrigerating the chicken before trying to do this. I've never had that trouble, at least with this.

Sarah said...

Hi , I just made this for lunch! The only ingredient I didn't have was soki. The clumpy batter problem also happened to me. I read and re-read to make sure I had done everything correctly. I am uses to frying chicken so it seemed like a crazy consistency. After adding the beaten egg to the corn starch/flour mixture, then to the thighs it didn't look right so I added a little water, and it made it more pasty. I fried one piece first and I was surprised the pasty chicken fried up and looked great.
I would describe your directions differently. The flavor was wonderful. I will make again.

Judith Hannemann said...

Sarah, maybe you can describe it better than me. I've tried a couple of times and I'm pretty much at a loss. It's difficult to put into words what the texture should be like. If you can offer some suggestions, I'd REALLY appreciate it. Email me with suggestions on an edit. I welcome it!!

Judy Goldin said...

What to use instead of saki.
I don't drink.

Judith Hannemann said...

Try either chicken stock, apple juice or just plain water. That should work. I will caution that the batter is VERY clumpy and you may have to add a bit of water to thin it down slightly so it coats. Unfortunately that seems to be (the batter) at the mercy of atmospheric conditions, but the batter should be the consistency of a thick American pancake batter.


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