I don’t like take-out orange chicken because it has that fake, candy orange flavor – ick! I did however love this homemade version. The sauce is easy to make and doesn’t require lots of exotic ingredients, it’s fresh and the orange flavor is far superior to typical take-out versions. My family really enjoyed this too – my husband who is a fan of take-out orange chicken may never go back to that again 😉 I ruin things for him in really good ways! Same with cinnamon rolls, because he’ll never want the canned stuff again.
I would recommend making another half batch (or double if you like lots of sauce) of the marinade/sauce mixture. It is perfect mixed into the white rice. Next time I will add veggies to this like sugar snap peas or steamed broccoli to make up for the lack of fiber in this dish. Also, I used a combination of peanut oil and vegetable oil (it’s all I had) because I didn’t have enough peanut oil – that stuff is expensive! I’m sure you could fry this all in canola or vegetable oil though. Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Orange Chicken – adapted from Annie’s Eats
For the marinade and sauce:
- ¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- ¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1½ tsp. finely grated orange zest
- 6 tbsp. white vinegar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup brown sugar (dark or light)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1½ 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)
For the coating and frying:
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 cup cornstarch
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 3 cups peanut or canola oil (I like a combination)
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 saucepan; whisk to blend well. Measure out ¾ 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 saucepan with the remaining mixture on the stove and heat 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.
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 sauté pan until the oil reaches 350˚ F. Carefully place half of the chicken pieces in the oil and fry until golden brown, about 5 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.
Reheat the sauce if necessary and toss with the cooked chicken pieces. Serve over rice, if desired.