Recently, me and some of my friends went to a local Chinese restaurant called Peter Chang's. Supposedly, he is a well-renowned chef that specializes in szechuan-style cooking. I had heard wonderful reviews about his food, so I really couldn't wait to try it out. Well, we had our reservation set because it's recommended since it's such a busy restaurant (with good reason). And, after a brief wait (while our party all arrived) we were sat down and had a wonderful time. We ordered the sesame chicken, a 3 peppered chicken dish, a pork dish, orange chicken, and a bunch of appetizers. Yes, the food was absolutely fabulous. I've been dreaming about it ever since and I would really like to go back soon. In the mean time, to satisfy my craving for the orange chicken I had; I decided to make it at home. I had seen this recipe from Annie's Eats a while back, and decided to give her version a try. I have to say it was very good. It doesn't quite live up to Peter Chang's Orange Chicken, but it was still really flavorful and had a nice kick to it. If you like Chinese food, and would like to satisfy your craving for orange chicken via a homemade recipe then this is for you.
For the marinade and sauce:
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1½ tsp. finely grated orange zest
6 tbsp. white vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup brown sugar (dark or light)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1½ lbs. boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. cold water
8 thin strips orange peel (optional)
For the coating and frying:
3 large egg whites
1 cup cornstarch
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
3 cups peanut or canola oil
To make the sauce combine the ingredients from the chicken broth thru the cayenne into a small bowl. Stir well. Reserve about 3/4 of the sauce and pour into a zip-lock bag. Add in the chicken pieces to the bag and let marinate for 30 to 60 minutes in the fridge. Next, pour the remaining sauce mixture into a small saucepan and heat on medium-high until it comes to a simmer. Take a small bowl and whisk the cornstarch and water together. Add this to the sauce.Continue simmering until the sauce thickens. Once thickened to your desire, remove the saucepan from the stove and add in the orange peel if using.
To prepare the coating for the chicken, get out a plate and a bowl. Whisk the eggs in the bowl until frothy. In the plate, combine the cornstarch, baking soda, and cayenne pepper. Remove the chicken from the fridge and drain in a colander. Pat the chicken dry and then add half the chicken into the egg mixture. Coat well. Remove from eggs, give it a good shake, and add it to the cornstarch mixture. Coat well. Set aside. Do this again for the remaining half of the chicken.
If you are going to make rice to serve with your orange chicken I would get this started before frying up your chicken. The frying process goes fairly quickly.
Take out your dutch oven or a heavy pot and pour in the oil. Using a candy thermometer heat up the oil until it reaches a temperature of around 350 degrees. Once the oil is ready, place half the chicken into the pot. It should only take a minute to cook the chicken thru. Carefully, remove the chicken using a skimmer and place on a plate covered with paper towels. Do this again for the remaining chicken. I double fried mine so it would have a crispier crust. I just placed the chicken back into the oil and fried for an additional 30 seconds. If necessary, reheat your sauce and then toss with the chicken. Serve with your rice and enjoy!!