There aren’t many people who dislike Panda Express’ orange chicken. Yes, it’s probably not chicken and yes, it’s definitely terrible for you, but it’s undeniabably delicious. I’ve tried other orange chicken recipes before, but until trying this one, I’ve always been slightly disappointed. It doesn’t taste exactly the same to it’s fast food counterpart, but that’s probably a good thing – who knows what kind of chemicals and weird ingredients are in it! Even though the chicken is still fried (that’s probably what makes it’s so good), I still always feel better making about eating the homemade version. It’s always good knowing every ingredient in your meal.
You will notice that the recipe calls for fresh squeezed orange juice. It’s one of the times that I would suggest not substituting! The first time I made this I used regular bottled orange juice and it was overpoweringly orange. The next time I made it with fresh squeezed and it was a mild orange flavor and ten times better!
For the marinade and sauce:
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (yes, it does matter)
1 1/2 tsp finely grated orange zest
6 Tbs white vinegar
1/4 low-sodium cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 Tbs fresh ginger, grated
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
1 Tbs plus 2 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbs cold water
green onions, for garnish
To make the marinade/sauce, whisk together chicken broth, orange juice, zest, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper in a medium large saucepan. Measure out 3/4 cup of mixture and place in a gallon ziplock bag. Add chicken peices to the bag and seal. Refrigerate chicken for 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile, bring the mixture in a saucepan to a simmer. In a small ramekin, whisk together cornstarch and water and add to the saucepan. Continue to cook the sauce, increasing heat if necessary, until sauce becomes thick and translucent. Cover and set aside.
For the coating and frying:
3 large egg whites
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 cups peanut oil
Preheat oil to 350F in a heavy bottomed pan or deep fryer.
In a pie plate or shallow bowl, whisk together egg whites until frothy. In a separate pie plate or shallow bowl, whisk together cornstarch, baking soda and cayenne pepper.
Drain chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Working in two batches, place chicken in the egg whites, turn to coat and then into the cornstarch mixture, turning to coat again. Transfer coated chicken to a clean plate and repeat with remaining chicken.
Working in 2 batches again, fry chicken until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Let chicken drain on paper towels. Repeat with second batch. Toss cooked chicken in sauce. Serve immediately with green onions as garnish.
Recipe from Annies Eats, as seen on Joelen’s Culinary Adventures, originally from Cooking at Home With America’s Test Kitchen