My favorite dish to make nowadays are chicken dishes. In fact, I just recently made chicken afritada, a dish my family loves so much. We love this dish for its tender, tasty chicken pieces as well as for its flavorful sauce. Early this week, I also made orange chicken, a dish that we would normally order for takeout.
Orange chicken, just like lemon chicken, is a popular Chinese takeout dish. Pieces of bite-sized chicken are marinated, fried and then coated with an orange sauce. It comes out crunchy and very tasty. The orange sauce, which is packed with umami flavor, is the star of this dish and it takes the fried chicken to the next level. My family can’t get enough of this chicken dish. Just like chicken afritada, this orange chicken will definitely be in my list of favorite chicken dishes to make.
- Chicken thighs – main protein in this recipe. Chicken thigh is the perfect cut to use in this recipe. It is moist, flavorful and has less chance of drying out during frying.
- Marinade – makes the chicken pieces tastier: soy sauce, Chinese wine or dry sherry and egg white.
- Cornstarch – is used to coat the marinated chicken pieces and gives the fried chicken its crunchy exterior. It is also used to thicken the orange sauce.
- Canola oil – is used to deep-fry the marinated chicken pieces.
- Orange sauce – is packed with umami flavors and takes this chicken dish to the next level: orange juice, chicken stock, cider vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, lemon zest, garlic.
HOW TO MAKE ORANGE CHICKEN:
To make this crunchy and flavorful orange chicken, first marinate the bite-sized chicken pieces in a mixture of soy sauce, Chinese rice wine and egg white. After draining the chicken pieces, toss them in cornstarch and then deep fry until golden brown. Next, make the orange sauce by simmering the orange juice, stock, cider vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, orange zest and garlic for 5 minutes. Finally, coat the browned chicken pieces with the sweet and tangy orange sauce.
- Marinating the chicken pieces first before frying makes it more tasty
- When frying, pour a good amount of oil into a heavy-bottom pot.
- Use a cooking oil that has a high smoke point.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan when frying the chicken pieces. Following this step produces fried chicken pieces with a golden crunchy exterior.
- 1.5 lbs boneless , skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup cornstarch
- Canola oil , for frying
- 1 tsp olive oil , for sauteeing
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Chinese wine , or dry sherry
- 1 egg white
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- ¼ cup chicken stock
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 ½ tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest
- 1 clove garlic , minced or grated
- 1 tsp cornstarch , dissolved in 1 tbsp water
- Salt to taste
- In a large bowl, combine together the ingredients for the marinade. Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes. Drain well and then discard the marinade.
- Spread 1 cup cornstarch in a large bowl. Add the marinated chicken and toss to coat. Shake off any excess cornstrach.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or heavy- bottomed pot. Deep fry the chicken pieces, in batches, until golden brown, around 4 to 5 minutes per batch. Transfer the browned chicken on a plate lined with paper towel. Set aside.
Prepare the sauce:
- In a medium bowl, combine the orange juice, stock, cider vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar and orange zest. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 20 seconds. Add the orange juice mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cornstarch mixture (1 teaspoon cornstrach dissolved in 1 tablespoon water), stirring until the sauce has thickens. Season with salt. Remove from the heat.
- Add the browned chicken pieces into the orange sauce. Mix until the chicken is well coated with the orange sauce.
- Transfer the chicken to a plate and serve.