Monday, January 11, 2016

Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken
Well, it's been about two and a half years and I figured we should post a few more recipes.  Last night we made one of our favorite chicken dishes: orange chicken.  This recipe is adapted from the one on it's a great (and simple) Americanized recipe that yields excellent results.  Any leftover sauce can be stored in the freezer for quite a while -- a great shortcut for those days when you don't know what to do with that extra chicken breast.

Estimated Prep Time:About 15 minutes
Estimated Total Time:About 50 minutes

For the sauce you'll need:
  • 1 1/2 C water
  • An orange (zested and juiced)
  • 1/4 C lemon juice
  • 1/3 C vinegar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 C packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ginger root (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic (minced)
  • 3 Tbsp corn starch

For the chicken:
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast (cut into 1" cubes)
  • 3/4 C flour
  • 1/3 C Panko (optional)
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 C corn starch (optional)
  • Frying oil
For garnish (if desired):
  • Chopped scallions
  • Red Pepper Flakes

First, get your rice started if it's not already made.  We usually divide-and-conquer the rest: one person does the chicken and another makes the sauce.  If you're all alone, consider chopping and measuring everything out first!

Next, heat up your frying oil ... I hear 375°F works well, I just heat it in a wok until it barely starts smoking.  You could deep fry it too if you want.

Combine flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  I also like to add panko for a little more crunch.  In a smaller bowl, beat the egg.

Zest the orange.  In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the 1 1/2 cups water, lemon juice, 2 Tbps orange juice, vinegar, and soy sauce.  Once it is heated through, stir in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger, and garlic.  Bring to a boil.

Now, thicken the sauce. Mix (very thoroughly) 3 Tbsp of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water until it looks like milk. Slowly stir the cornstarch mixture into the sauce until the sauce thickens.

To batter the cubed chicken, first pat it dry with a paper towel. Dredge it through the cornstarch and shake off any excess (this can be skipped if you have really fresh chicken and dry it carefully). Next, coat it in egg and toss (aggressively) in the flour mixture. It sometimes helps sometimes to massage the breading into the egged chicken until the pieces are fully coated and dry on the outside.

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Finally, toss the chicken into the hot oil, and increase the heat. Leave the chicken alone in the wok for a little while to let the eggs set up, then begin tossing to coat everything with oil. Fry until golden brown, then promptly remove.

Pour thickened sauce over chicken and garnish with scallions and red pepper flakes as desired.