Chinese Orange Chicken

I love making my own Chinese food at home.  The first one I ever tried to make was sesame chicken, and I was hooked.  Though there is often a bit of prep work involved, the actual cooking process/time is quite simple and, in my opinion, homemade Chinese food is often WAY better than what you can get at most Chinese restaurants.  At least this is true when you live in remote northern Idaho…. which I did at the time.  Now that I am near Portland I am sure there are many great places to choose from, but you just can’t beat the simplicity of making it at home.  Because you are making it at home you can control things like the salt content, or portion sizes, which let’s face it are HUGE at most restaurants.  So you can have Chinese any day of the week and not feel guilty for the amount of oil and salt you just consumed.

I have had Orange Chicken numerous times over the years, and it’s always different wherever you go.  Years later I still remember the delicious chicken balls with orange sauce we had while staying in Toronto.  That is my idea of orange chicken…. but on the occasion when I am really in a hurry I’ll pick some up from somewhere like Panda Express and I am always left disappointed by their idea of orange chicken.  For starters it’s nothing like the image they have up, and comes out looking more like general tso than anything orange infused.  Then there is NO orange flavor whatsoever.  I honestly don’t know why they call it orange chicken.  It’s not terrible food, but it’s not orange chicken either.

This, however, does have a lot of orange flavor.  There is a great complexity from all the sauce ingredients, with a bit of heat, sweetness, salty, and citrus.  Though time consuming, making your own fried chicken results in a much tastier, less greasy, end result.  I liked that the chicken was so freshly tossed with the sauce that it retained a lot of the crunch from the breading and the amount of sauce left over was the perfect amount to mix in with the rice.  I made two packets of boil-in-a-bag brown rice which left us with a little more than we needed, but one would have been not enough.  When frying the chicken I used vegetable shortening (the Crisco one in a can) which was something I had never done before but wanted to try.  It worked really well and from what I hear gives it a better flavor.  I don’t have a thermometer that monitors temperatures that high, so I just kept a close eye on things to make sure it wasn’t too hot.  I suggest using a thermometer if you can though.  You don’t want to have your oil too low and end up with oily chicken, or too high and end up with burned outsides and raw insides or a house full of smoke or a fire lol.  I also used my dutch oven to fry in because I like having the taller sides to avoid the mess.

I admit my kitchen was in a state of utter disaster after dinner last night, but it was definitely worth it!

 

Chinese Orange Chicken

serves : 4

Ingredients :

  • 1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 T. orange zest
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. dried ginger (I used a bit of fresh ginger paste)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. sriracha hot sauce
  • 2 T. grated yellow onion
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups + 2 T. cornstarch, divided
  • 2 T. cold water
  • 2 large eggs
  • vegetable or peanut oil for frying
  • green onions and sesame seeds for garnish

Directions :

  1. Place chicken pieces in a gallon size resealable bag, set aside. In a medium saucepan combine chicken broth, orange zest, orange juice, vinegar, soy sauce, granulated sugar, ginger, yellow onion, garlic, Sriracha and pepper. Whisk mixture well, then measure out 2/3 cup of the mixture and pour it over the chicken in resealable bag. Seal bag while pressing excess air out, and press chicken into marinade. Place bag in a bowl or baking dish and refrigerate 30 minutes. Meanwhile, return remaining sauce mixture over medium heat and bring mixture just to a boil, stirring frequently. In a small bowl whisk together 2 Tbsp cornstarch with 2 Tbsp water then stir mixture into sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 1 – 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly, until thickened, remove from heat.
  2. Pour vegetable oil into a large cast iron dutch oven, filling pot about 1 1/2 – 2-inches deep and heat oil to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, whisk eggs in a shallow dish until well blended. Pour remaining 1 1/4 cups cornstarch into a separate shallow dish. Remove chicken from refrigerator and drain and discard marinade from chicken.
  3. Dip chicken pieces into egg followed by cornstarch and toss pieces to evenly coat in cornstarch, then carefully place 1/3 of the chicken pieces into preheated oil and cook for 5 – 7 minutes until golden, turning once during cooking. Using skimmer, remove fried chicken from oil and transfer to a paper towel lined cookie sheet to drain excess oil. Repeat process with remaining chicken working in two more batches.
  4. Pour drained fried chicken into a bowl and toss with sauce. Serve warm over white or brown rice garnished with green onions and sesame seeds if desired.

Recipe from Cooking Classy

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Published in: on March 11, 2013 at 6:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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