Asian Orange Chicken (Panda Express)
For the record, I have never been to Panda Express. Jill heard the Ree Drummond talking about it one day and while I was out of town she went by and picked up their Orange Chicken. Now whenever I am out of town, she eats some Panda Express Orange Chicken. I have only had a bite of her leftovers because I asked her to save me a nugget so I could see what the fuss was all about. I’m not a big Chinese food person and certainly not take out like that. I prefer Thai, Korean, Japanese or Indian.
So I found this “copy cat” recipe and decided I would give it a try. I asked Jill how it compared and she said it was really solid on the flavor. She said this one tasted “lighter” and that my chicken was crunchier. So basically I didn’t over sauce it. It was good and refreshingly light and sweet in flavor. I was shocked the only orange was from the zest but it just worked by perfuming the sauce with orange notes.
For me if I have any “sweet” in my dish I need a counterbalance of either spicy, salty or tangy. So I made it as is and in my bowl I hit it with some soy and lot’s of Sriracha. Hope you enjoy it.
1 package of chicken tenderloins
1/2 cup of cornstarch
1/4 cup of AP flour
1 tbs of ginger (minced)
4-5 cloves of garlic (minced)
3-4 green onions (diced)
2 tbs of Asian rice wine
Dash of Sesame Oil (it’s strong)
Kosher Salt and White Pepper
2 tbs of Soy Sauce
1/4 of water with corn starch (combined)
5 tbs of white sugar
5 tbs of white vinegar (not rice wine)
Zest of 1 orange
There are really three main steps in this dish. 1 frying the chicken 2. making the sauce 3.Combining everything.
1. Start by cutting your chicken into bite sized pieces. In a bowl add the chicken, egg, dash of salt and pepper and mix well. Set aside.
2. Put a large pot on medium high with some peanut oil in it. Let it heat up.
3. While your oil is heating up, make your sauce by combining all the ingredients (but the water/cornstarch mixture) into a sauce pan on low to medium low. I let it simmer while I fried my chicken. And then I mixed in the water cornstarch mixture to thicken up the sauce. You want it syrupy.
4. Mix your flour, cornstarch and seasoning to the bowl of chicken. Mix well until chicken is well coated. It will get tacky. Working in batches carefully not crowded the pot fry the chicken until golden brown. Corn starch doesn’t brown as fast as AP flour. If you have a spider you can move the chicken around and you will get a feel for the “doneness” of the chicken. Remove and place the chicken on a paper towel atop a wire cooking rack.
5. Okay at this point your chicken is fried and resting. Your sauce is nicely syrupy. Let’s wok. Cut and dice the garlic, ginger and green onions. Get your Asian Rice Wine Vinegar ready.
Drop a little oil in the wok on medium to medium-high heat. Add onions and ginger and stir for a minute or two. Then add your garlic and chicken into the wok. Pour the sauce over it and stir until chicken is well coated. Lastly stir in the Rice Wine vinegar into the mix to thin it out. If too thick you can add a little water to thin it out.
Serve over rice and enjoy.