Monday, December 12, 2011

Orange Chicken

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I love ordering Chinese food and trying new things, but I've never been a fan of Orange Chicken. It's usually too sweet for me and something about putting orange juice in the sauce just turns me off.

I did, however, try a Chinese food place recently that changed my opinion of this. The sauce was only a tad bit sweet and didn't ruin the flavor of the chicken at all. After that, I was on a hunt to find the perfect recipe.

This Orange Chicken will probably change your perception of this classic Chinese dish if you have never been a fan. The sauce is sweet, but once you pair it with the chicken it mellows out and the two blend together perfectly. I found the sauce a bit too sweet on its own, but Chris enjoyed it. I think it's just a preference thing! I just added some extra soy sauce to mine before sprinkling it over the rice, and it was perfect. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

For the marinade and sauce:
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 6 tbsp. white vinegar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 3 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp. cold water
  • 8 thin strips orange peel (optional)
  • Rice, cooked, for serving (optional)
For the coating and frying:
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups peanut or canola oil

To make the marinade and sauce, combine the chicken broth, orange juice, orange zest, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. Whisk to blend well.  Measure out 1/2 cup of the mixture and transfer it to a large zipper lock plastic bag.  Add the chicken pieces to the bag, pressing out the excess air and sealing well.  Refrigerate and let marinate 30-60 minutes, but no longer.  

Place the remaining mixture into a saucepan with the remaining mixture on the stove. Leave alone for now. 

To prepare the coating, place the egg whites in a pie plate and whisk until frothy.  In a second pie plate combine the cornstarch, baking soda and cayenne pepper; whisk to blend.  Drain the chicken of the marinade in a colander or large strainer; pat dry with paper towels.  Place half of the chicken pieces in the egg whites and turn to coat.  Transfer the pieces to the cornstarch mixture and coat thoroughly, shaking off the excess.  Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

To fry the chicken, heat the oil in a 11- or 12-inch round Dutch oven or straight-sided saut√© pan until the oil reaches 350˚ F.  Carefully place half of the chicken pieces in the oil and fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes, turning the pieces halfway through cooking.  Remove from the oil with a skimmer or slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.  Return the oil to 350˚ F and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

While chicken is cooking heat the remaining sauce mixture over medium-high heat.  Bring to a simmer.  In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water until smooth.  Add the mixture to the saucepan with the sauce. Continue simmering until the sauce is thick and translucent, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the strips of orange peel, if using.  

Toss sauce with the cooked chicken pieces.  Serve over rice, if desired.

Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats


  1. I agree with you about the sauce being too sweet. I have to try this recipe out and see if my opinion changes too!

  2. Let me know if you try it and what you think!

  3. Just out of interest, why did you substitute the fresh ginger for ground ginger? (from the original recipe)

  4. The only reason I substituted the fresh ginger for ground ginger is because I didn't have any on hand. I'm sure the fresh ginger would make the sauce taste even more delicious if you have it available!


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