Orange Chicken

One night this week I came home craving Chinese food. A few weeks prior I had taken a crack at homemade Orange Chicken (http://www.food.com/recipe/panda-express-orange-chicken-103215), and it was pretty good, but the recipe needed some major tweaks. When I made it again I played around with the recipe and it turned out perfectly. I hope you enjoy it too.

Orange Chicken

Preparation:
none

Approximate Cooking Time:
45 minutes

Ingredients:
cooked white or brown rice
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 egg
1 1/2 t. salt
pepper
at least 1 c. peanut oil
1/2 c. cornstarch, plus 1 T. cornstarch (used at different points in the recipe)
1/4 c. flour
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T. minced fresh gingerroot, or 1/2 T. ginger powder
1/2 – 2 t. red pepper flakes, depending on desired spiciness
3 T. soy sauce
8 T. sugar
10 T. white vinegar
zest of 1 orange (about 1/2 T.)
1 T. red wine vinegar
water
1/2 t. sesame oil

Directions:
Begin cooking the rice according to the directions on the bag. Chop chicken into pieces and set aside. In a wide, shallow bowl, mix egg with salt, a bit of pepper, and 1 T. peanut oil. In a separate wide, shallow bowl, mix 1/2 c. cornstarch with 1/4 c. flour. Heat about 1 c. peanut oil, or about enough to cover the pan with about 1/4 inch oil, on medium-high on the stovetop. As oil is heating, put chicken pieces first in egg mixture, then in flour mixture. Coat the chicken with the flour mixture, then add it to the hot oil. Fry until all chicken is cooked. Take the chicken out of the oil with a slotted spoon and set aside. Wash most of the oil out of the pan, and be careful not to burn yourself.


Cooking the chicken.

In the now-mostly-clean pan, add 1 T. of oil if there isn’t much left. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for about 2-3 minutes on medium-low. Next add the crushed red peppers, and cook another 1-2 minutes. While this is cooking, prepare the sauce by mixing the soy sauce, sugar, white vinegar and orange zest. Set aside. Next, add the red rice vinegar to the ginger mixture in the pan. (Be VERY careful as you add this, as the vinegar will immediately begin to cook off and may leap out of the pan to burn you. Stand a good distance away from the pan when you add it.) When the vinegar has stopped bubbling as violently, add the soy sauce and sugar mixture to the pan. Bring the heat up to medium or medium-high until the sauce is at a gentle boil.


The spicy orange sauce.

While that is heating, mix the remaining 1 T. cornstarch with 1/4 c. water, then add that to the sauce and mix. Wait until the sauce thickens a bit, then add the sesame oil and mix. Then add the cooked chicken and stir to coat completely in sauce. Serve the chicken immediately with cooked rice and a vegetable.


Combining the orange sauce with the cooked chicken.

I think broccoli goes well with this recipe. Sometimes with a fast-moving recipe like this it is hard for me to remember to watch the rice and start making a vegetable. But this recipe is worth the fast, frantic pace. Of note, it is smart to set aside (and chop or zest) all of your ingredients before your begin! Enjoy!


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