Hello, welcome to Sunday Supper with Djalali Cooks! If you’ve been following the blog for a bit now, you’ve seen us try our hand at a variety of our favorite Chinese dishes. We have had Sichuan Kung Pao Chicken, Broccoli Beef, and Wonton Soup – just to name a few. Today we are making Orange Chicken. This Chinese restaurant staple is sweet and tangy with the slightly bitter notes of orange zest; the sauce is so flavorful with ginger, soy sauce and garlic. The method for making this Orange Chicken is super-easy and is great to keep in your back pocket for a variety of fried chicken dishes. Let’s get to it!
I have had such success with the Chinese cuisine recipes from America’s Test Kitchen, and this recipe is no different. I found this one on Cook’s Country and it was surprising how easy it is!
Let’s start with the Orange Sauce. Fresh orange juice and zest mixes with soy sauce, vinegar, chicken broth, sesame oil, sriracha sauce, brown sugar, fresh grated ginger and garlic, with some cornstarch to thicken it all up. For the orange zest, use a vegetable peeler to peel wide, 2-inch long pieces of the orange rind. Then grate the zest from the second orange, before juicing them.
Combine sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the cornstarch until it’s dissolved. Heat over medium heat, while whisking occasionally, bring to a simmer. Let this simmer for a few minutes, until the mixture thickens a bit. Then, remove from heat and set aside.
Cut the chicken thighs into roughly 1-inch pieces. Toss the chicken in a bowl with 1 teaspoon Kosher salt and the two egg whites to thoroughly coat the chicken in the egg whites.
We are going to coat the chicken in the flour/cornstarch breading by shaking the egg white-coated chicken pieces in a paper bag with the flour and cornstarch. Double bag 2 paper shopping bags and pour in the cornstarch, flour and baking powder. Roll the top down and shake to mix the flour, cornstarch and baking powder. Then transfer the chicken pieces to the bag, roll the top down tightly and shake vigorously to evenly coat all the chicken pieces and set aside.
This recipe calls for only one quart of oil for frying the chicken, which is great because that is a reasonable, manageable amount of oil to deal with during cleanup. In a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottom pot, heat one quart of peanut or vegetable oil over medium-high heat until the temp reaches 350 degrees.
Meanwhile, set a rimmed sheet tray with 2 layers of paper towels and set your slotted spoon or spider nearby. I like to set a second rimmed sheet tray on the other side of my Dutch oven; this gives me a surface for the paper bag of chicken, and it keeps any splatter from getting on my stovetop. Give the chicken in the paper bag a few more good shakes. To make it easier to get the chicken out, I cut off the top of the paper bag, just a few inches up from the bottom.
Time to Fry
Carefully drop in about half of the chicken pieces. Adjust the burner to maintain an oil temperature of 300-350 degrees. Stir the chicken frequently – it’s done after 4-6 minutes. You can see the chicken is quite pale, but it will be done. Use the spider to scoop out the fried chicken and transfer the fried chicken to the paper towel-lined tray. You can temp one of the thickest chicken pieces to be sure of doneness, you’re looking for 170 degrees. Adjust the burner to bring the oil temp back up to 350 degrees and drop in the second batch of chicken.
When all of the chicken is out of the fryer, heat the sauce until simmering. Transfer the chicken to a large mixing bowl and then pour the hot sauce over the chicken and stir to coat all the fried chicken with the sauce. Serve with rice and top with toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions or chopped cilantro leaves.
My goodness, this Orange Chicken is so good! A couple weeks back when I posted the Broccoli Beef, a friend on Instagram said, “What about Orange Chicken;” it’s her Chinese Restaurant pick, and I can see why! The bitter orange flavors, with the sweet sauce, a little spice from the sriracha; the crunchy fried chicken – it’s a perfect dish. Next time, I might add several dried Thai Bird Chilis to the sauce to give it some extra heat.
The method for frying the chicken is great too – it’s the base for so many other Chinese dishes: Sweet and Sour Chicken, or my favorite Honey Chili Chicken, for instance. I do hope y’all give this one a try, it’s fantastic! Pin this recipe to Pinterest, and give me a follow to have all the recipes on Djalali Cooks in one easy spot! Take care and be well, everyone. xo Kelly
Orange Chicken is sweet and tangy with the slightly bitter notes of orange zest; the sauce is so flavorful with ginger, soy sauce and garlic.
- 2 Oranges
- 3/4 cup Chicken Broth
- 1/3 cup Distilled White Vinegar
- 1/3 cup Packed Brown Sugar
- 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
- 2 tbsp. Cornstarch
- 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp. Grated Fresh Ginger
- 1 tbsp. Sriracha Sauce
- 1 tbsp. Toasted Sesame Oil
- 1 ½ lbs. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 Large Egg Whites
- 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 1 ½ cups Cornstarch
- 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp. Baking Powder
- 1 quart Peanut or Vegetable oil for frying
- 2 Scallions, or chopped Fresh Cilantro
- Toasted Sesame Seeds for garnish
Use a vegetable peeler to remove eight 2-inch strips of zest from 1 orange.
Use a rasp-style grater to grate 1.5 teaspoons zest from remaining orange.
Halve both oranges and squeeze to get 3/4 cup juice.
Combine orange zest (strips and grated) and juice, broth, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, cornstarch, garlic, ginger, sriracha, and oil in medium saucepan and whisk to dissolve cornstarch.
Bring sauce to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Cook until dark brown and thickened, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
Combine chicken, egg whites, and salt in bowl.
Place cornstarch, flour, and baking powder in double-bagged large paper shopping bag.
Roll top of bag to seal and shake gently to combine.
Add chicken mixture to cornstarch mixture in bag, roll top of bag to seal, and shake vigorously to thoroughly coat chicken; set aside.
Line rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels. Add oil to large Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat to 350 degrees.
Shake chicken in bag once more.
Add half of chicken to hot oil and fry until cooked through (chicken will still be somewhat pale), 4 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently.
Adjust burner, if necessary, to maintain oil temperature between 300 and 350 degrees.
Using slotted spoon or spider skimmer, transfer fried chicken to prepared sheet.
Return oil to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining chicken.
Warm sauce over medium heat until simmering, about 1 minute.
Toss sauce and chicken in large bowl until chicken is evenly coated.
Serve, sprinkling individual portions with toasted sesame seeds, scallions or chopped fresh cilantro.