Nipa’s Amazing Orange Chicken

Before your scoff at this recipe, hear me out: I obviously can’t speak for all Asians, but my family adores orange chicken. The crown jewels of North American-Chinese cuisine, orange chicken and sesame chicken are not commonly found in Thailand (or China, for that matter). As a result, we’ve had relatives fall in love with the Panda Express staple and even express interest in learning how to make it to sell in Thailand — which led my Mama on a quest to develop the best method. She tested numerous batters and frying techniques over the past few years.

Her secret to delicious success: a simple batter of egg whites and corn starch, double-frying the chicken and a subtle sweet-and-sour sauce. If you don’t fancy the orange sauce, the perfectly crisp-on-the-outside-yet-moist-on-the-inside chicken is also delightful served as homemade nuggets with the dipping sauce of your choice.

Orange Chicken

Ingredients:

Chicken Marinade
1 lb. chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 egg white
2 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. corn starch
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. cooking wine
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika

Dry Batter for Crispy Chicken
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup corn starch
1 teaspoon baking powder

Sauce
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. chopped garlic
5 tbsp. water
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup pineapple juice
3 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. ketchup
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. vinegar
2 tbsp. cooking wine
1 tbsp. corn starch
2 dry chilies (optional)

Method:

Whisk together the egg white, water and corn starch until foamy. Add in the chicken, sugar, soy sauce, cooking wine, salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Let marinade for a half hour.

Mix the 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup corn starch and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Dredge the chicken in the dry batter.

Heat your deep fryer or 2 to 3 inches of peanut or vegetable oil in a deep heavy-bottomed pan to 325 degrees. You’ll know the oil is the right temperature when you put a little drop of batter in and it puffs up and floats to the top right away. Carefully fry the chicken in batches for about five to seven minutes (move the pieces around with tongs or chopsticks so they don’t stick together). Drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Then, increase the temperature of your oil to 375 degrees and refry the chicken until golden brown — about another five minutes.

To make the sauce, stir fry the vegetable oil and the garlic until fragrant on medium-high heat (be careful not to burn the garlic). Add 3 tablespoons of water (you’ll need the additional 2 tablespoons to thicken the sauce), orange juice, pineapple juice, sugar, ketchup, salt, vinegar, cooking wine and chilies, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Mix together the corn starch and remaining 2 tablespoons of water. Stir the corn starch and water slurry into the sauce, and simmer until the it thickens. Remove from heat.

Toss the chicken in the sauce and serve the dish with rice. Store the leftover chicken and sauce separately so it doesn’t get soggy. The chicken is excellent reheated in the oven.

More Recipes

Chinese-Style Chow Mein
Spicy Basil Chicken
Easy Creamy Tom Yum Soup

Photo courtesy of: iStock.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Bernice says:

    This looks amazing! I pinned it for later. I make an orange chicken with some of the ingredients you listed but your version looks better!!

    Like

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