Having worked in a Chinese restaurant for almost 4 years, I can’t say that Westernised Asian food is my favourite cuisine. Although anything but authentic, our restaurant does everything it does well so I’d choose anything else over anything in the same category as sweet and sour pork, honey chicken and mongolian lamb any day.
But there is one dish that we don’t do and it’s orange chicken (well actually there’s more than one, but let’s not go into the details…..), so I still enjoy it enough to want to attempt this at home.
Whereas the lemon sauce for lemon chicken in Chinese restaurants is mostly made of sugar, water and lemon essence, I prefer my homemade orange sauce to be made of fresh orange juice- it’s so sweet it doesn’t make too much of a difference, but there is a freshness that comes through.
The recipe is quite simple- basically just orange juice and sugar thickened up to a paste. You have to be careful you get the flavour balance right because you don’t want it too sweet or too sour. Toss through some fried chicken (I cheated and used fried chicken I took from work) and you’ve got yourself a pretty tasty chicken dish!
recipe adapted from here
4 cups vegetable oil for frying
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 pinch white pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 strip orange zest
1/2 cup white sugar (to taste)
3 tablespoons chicken broth
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/3 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1. Heat 4 cups vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2. Beat the egg in a mixing bowl. Add the chicken cubes; sprinkle with salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, and white pepper; mix well. Mix in 1 cup of cornstarch a little bit at a time until the chicken cubes are well coated.
3. In batches, carefully drop the chicken cubes into the hot oil one by one, cooking until they turns golden brown and begin to float, about 3 minutes. Remove the chicken and allow to cool as you fry the next batch. Once all of the chicken has been fried, refry the chicken, starting with the batch that was cooked first. Cook until the chicken turns deep golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
4. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Stir in the orange zest. Add 1/2 cup sugar, chicken broth, vinegar; bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes.
5. Dissolve 2 teaspoons of cornstarch into the water, and stir into the boiling sauce. Return to a boil and cook until the sauce thickens and is no longer cloudy from the cornstarch, about 1 minute. Stir the chicken into the boiling sauce. Reduce heat to low and cook for a few minutes until the chicken absorbs some of the sauce