I really like authentic orange chicken, not the greasy, gooey, overly sweet and sticky dishes that come from “fast food” Chinese restaurants. You know the neighborhood take out places or the ones that hand out samples in the food court?
Unfortunately many of the recipes that I have tried were just that. The crockpot versions of orange chicken were ok – but I found that they called for strange ingredients (like ketchup… really?) and the condensed orange juice really didn’t bring out enough of the orange flavor. They were also missing red chilies and garlic. Plus cooking the chicken in the crockpot after browning it in a pan on the stove was just too much for the poor chicken. The chicken was too dry after bathing in orange sauce for 4 hours.
Sooo.. I took all those failed attempts and decided to take things in to my own hands. I started with an orange sauce that I use for my roasted orange chicken and decided to change it up a bit by replacing olive oil with sesame oil and adding some rice vinegar and rice wine. I think it worked out well.
This recipe is quick. It took me the same amount of time to prepare this recipe as it did to prepare the crock pot versions. It might not be ready when you walk in the door from work – but I think you will appreciate the flavor and texture much better. Would love to try some other orange chicken recipes – so please share!
- 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
- 6 tablespoons vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice wine
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- Salt to taste
- 1 pound chicken breast or chicken tenderloins cut into bite-size cubes
- 6 dried red chilies
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 4 cloves minced Garlic
- 2 inches ginger minced
- 1 red pepper diced (optional – I like this for color)
- 1 green pepper diced (optional – I like this for color)
- 2 scallions cut into ribbons
- 1.5 tablespoons oil
- Oil for frying
- 1 cup water (or plain seltzer)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon cooking oil
- Cut the 6 dried red chilies open length wise and remove seeds. Soak chiles in warm water.
- Prepare The Sauce: Mix all the ingredients for the orange sauce together in a bowl and set aside.
- Prepare the Chicken: Combine all the ingredients for the batter in a large bowl and mix well to remove any lumps.
- Heat pan with enough cooking oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
- Dip the chicken into the batter and coat well.
- When the cooking oil is hot enough for frying (test it with a piece of chicken and it will sizzle if it is ready).
- Put the chicken pieces into the oil and fry them until they turn golden brown and crispy. Turn them as necessary.
- When cooked transfer them paper towel lined plate.
- Combine Sauce and Chicken In a pan, add about 1.5 tablespoon of cooking oil and quickly stir-fry the minced garlic and ginger until you can smell them/golden.
- Add the diced red and green peppers cook for a minute to soften.
- Add in the dried red chilies and gently stir for a minute.
- Add the orange zest and chicken and stir.
- Add the orange sauce and continue to cook and mix until the sauce thickens.
- Serve garnished with scallion ribbons over brown or white rice. ( I forgot to put scallion on mine before I took the photo)