Fresh & Natural Orange Chicken
In the mood for takeout? Not so fast — we challenge you to fake-out! This orange chicken recipe tastes just like Panda Express, except ours is so much zestier than anything you’ll find at the mall food court.
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Recreate your Chinese-American restaurant favorite in your own kitchen. This has all the flavor of delivery, with zero risk of an MSG hangover — you know exactly what all the delicious ingredients are, because you put ’em in there! We’ll show you how to make orange chicken sauce with real fresh-squeezed orange juice and citrusy zest. Then fry those chicken pieces to crispy perfection and caramelize them in an easy sweet and sour glaze you’ll drool over. The only thing we can’t promise is a fortune cookie at the end!
Fresh & Natural Orange Chicken
Makes 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
- Zest of 1 orange
- ⅓ cup orange juice
- 6 Tablespoons sugar
- ⅓ cup chicken stock or water
- 6 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar or white vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken (breast or thighs), cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- ½ cup cornstarch
- ¼ cup flour
- 3 cups frying oil
- 1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
- 2 Tablespoons sliced green onion, (optional garnish)
- Using a zester or microplane grater, zest the orange.
- Juice the orange and reserve ⅓ cup in a medium bowl. Add the sugar, chicken stock, vinegar, soy sauce, orange zest, and sesame oil to the bowl with the orange juice. Stir to combine and set aside.
- In another medium bowl, mix together the chicken pieces, beaten egg, salt and black pepper.
- In another medium bowl, whisk together ½ cup cornstarch and the flour.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining cornstarch and water to form a slurry, and set aside.
- Take the chicken pieces from the egg mixture, allowing the excess to drain away. Toss the chicken pieces in the flour mixture until they’re evenly coated.
- Heat the oil to 375°F/190°C in a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pot. Gently add some of the battered chicken pieces, one by one, making sure to not overcrowd the pot to prevent the chicken pieces from sticking together. Deep-fry the chicken until it’s golden brown and completely cooked. Remove the chicken and drain off the excess oil on paper towels.
- Heat a large pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of the leftover frying oil. Add the minced ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the chili flakes and cook for a few seconds more. Add the orange sauce mixture, stir, and bring it to a simmer. Add the cornstarch slurry to the simmering orange sauce and whisk until they’re combined. Cook the orange sauce until it is thickened, about 1-2 minutes. You may adjust the orange sauce with additional seasonings (salt, sugar, orange juice, etc.) to taste.
- Add the fried chicken to the pot with the orange sauce and stir to coat all of the chicken. Heat for 30 seconds, or until the chicken is warmed through.
- Serve with rice and garnish with sliced green onion, if using.
- If your orange sauce comes out too thick, use more chicken broth or water to thin it out.
- If your orange sauce comes out too thin, use more of the cornstarch slurry to thicken it.