Orange Chicken

Either I’ve become such a food snob or the quality of Orange Chicken where we use to order it has declined that I vowed not to have it anymore if I can’t make it myself.  It’s not difficult to make.  But it’s a dish that can be the star of a meal when it's good and nasty when it’s not prepared properly with the right amount of coating; the perfect balance of crunch outside and moisture inside and finally- the sauce which can make or unmake the dish.  For me, it has to be tangy and citrus-y with just a hint of sweetness and a certain kick that makes me reach out for more.

2 lbs chicken breast cut into bite-size pieces
1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
zest of 1 orange
2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
couple of shakes of 21 seasoning salute (optional)

Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper
Stir in the lightly beaten egg and vegetable oil followed by the orange zest-set aside
Whisk together all-purpose flour, cornstarch, salt and freshly cracked black pepper (21-seasoning salute if using) then transfer to a plate 
Heat oil in a deep fryer or deep wok over medium heat (I use a non-stick sauce pan)
Dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture and shake off excess flour
Fry in small batches in preheated vegetable oil for 3-4 minutes or until golden and crisp
Transfer to a platter lined with paper towels
Repeat the process until all the pieces are cooked

Now it's time to make the sauce
First off, stir together the following in a medium bowl:
     2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
     2 tbsp water
     5-6 tbsp brown sugar
     5 tbsp white vinegar
     2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
     juice of 1 orange - set aside
Whisk a tablespoon of cornstarch into 1/4 cup water- set aside (to thicken the sauce later)
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a sauce pan over medium heat and sauté the following until fragrant;
     1 tbsp ginger root sliced thinly
     1 tbsp minced garlic
     1 tbsp red pepper flakes (add less if you don't prefer spicy)
Add in the prepared soy sauce mix and bring to a boil
Add in fried chicken pieces tossing gently
Whisk the cornstarch mix and add to the chicken making sure each piece is coated with the sauce
Add chopped green onions and toasted sesame seedsServe hot with steamed white rice 
 Notes:  I prefer dredging the chicken in the flour mixture rather than mixing the flour with the egg mixture because I want a thin flour coating.  It still has the crunch I want without being bread-y.


Popular Posts