Friday, April 26, 2013

Orange Chicken

So when I made eggplant with garlic sauce the other day, I also wanted to make a meat dish to eat with it. Not because I'm in love with meat but because I like to have a protein, since otherwise, I get hungry way too quickly after a meal.

Usually when my family orders Chinese takeout, we get beef with garlic sauce (which I've also made before) but lately, we've been getting orange chicken. I usually prefer the former, as it appears healthier than the latter (whether that's true or not is debatable) but I love the crispy texture of orange chicken and the tangy spicy sauce.

It's easy enough to make at home and tastes so much better so if you're a fan, I recommend that you give it a try. By the way, it's quite similar to General Tso's chicken - I'm actually not sure what the difference is, though I'm sure a quick search on the internet would get me an answer but right now, I am too busy writing this post!

Ingredients:
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken (I prefer dark meat so I used thighs)
1 egg
¼ cup corn starch
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
+ oil for frying
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 orange, juice and zest
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 scallion, whites and greens chopped separately
Start by getting the mise en place for the sauce ready - chop the scallion greens and the scallion whites, mince the garlic and ginger, zest the orange, and get a bit of hot pepper flakes ready. If you're like me and you enjoy orange zest pieces, use a vegetable peeler. If you're not a fan of orange zest pieces in your dish, you can use a microplane or grater.

Next, mix up the ingredients for the sauce. Combine water, the juice of one orange, sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and corn starch and stir together.
Once the sauce is ready, set it aside.
Prepare the batter for the chicken by combining an egg, salt, pepper, sesame oil, cornstarch, and flour and whisking everything together. The batter will be super thick - almost like a paste.
Lastly, cut up the chicken into bite-sized chunks. I like to get all of my ingredients prepped before I actually start cooking anything. For dishes like this, it's best to have everything ready before you even head to the stove.
When you're ready to start frying, add the chicken to the batter and mix everything to coat.
If you're like me and you hate deep frying (because of the clean up) then just heat a large skillet with enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan and pan-fry the chicken. Do a few pieces at a time - don't overcrowd the pan - so that each piece gets a chance to get nice and crispy. Remove from the oil once they're lovely golden brown and crisp all over.
Drain the chicken on a paper towel to wick away all of the excess grease and prevent them from getting soggy.
Once the chicken is done, you can start working on the sauce. Heat a skillet (or a wok) with a bit of oil and add in the crushed red pepper flakes. This will flavor the oil with the spice. Next, add in the orange zest, whites of the scallions, garlic, and ginger and make sure all of the ingredients get coated in the spicy oil. Once the garlic starts to soften, add in the sauce mixture.
Keep stirring until the sauce starts to bubble and thicken. The color of the sauce should go from being almost milky-looking to translucent. Add in the scallion greens once the sauce is thickened.
Then, add in the crispy chicken pieces.
And toss to coat.
And then serve. You can also serve the sauce on the side if you want to preserve the crispy texture of the battered chicken.
Serve with lovely fluffy jasmine rice.
Yum! I also made some green beans to go with it. Asparagus would also be amazing - either sliced or whole.
Here's the recipe page:

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