Orange Chicken (also known as orange peel chicken or tangerine chicken) derives its name from the use of dried orange peel in the traditional recipe. Unfortunately, like many Chinese dishes, the Orange Chicken served in the United States often looks like a gloppy mess. When I was developing this recipe, I was determined to do it right and do justice to this dish. The end result is not your typical Chinese takeout equivalent, but an appetizing, refined, and robust rendition—with just the right hint of heat from the dried red chilies. The orange peel—a hard-to-find ingredient in regular markets—has been replaced with fresh orange juice for a subtle zing.
Serves 2 as a main dish with rice or 4 as part of a multi-course meal
- 8 oz (250 g) skinless, boneless chicken meat (breasts, thighs, or legs), cut into slices or cubes
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch Oil, for deep-frying
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 dried red finger-length chilies
- 2 green onions (scallions), white parts only, trimmed and cut into 1 in (2.5 cm) lengths
- 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine or sherry
- 1 teaspoon Chinese rice vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- 21/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- Mix all the ingredients for the Sauce in a small bowl. Toss the chicken with the cornstarch in a separate bowl. Set aside.
- Heat 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) of the oil in a wok or stockpot to 350°F (175°C) for deep-frying. Gently drop the chicken into the oil and loosen them up immediately with the spatula to prevent the chicken from clumping together.
- Deep-fry the chicken to a light golden brown. Dish out with a strainer or slotted spoon, draining the excess oil by laying the chicken on a dish lined with paper towels. Discard or reserve the oil for use in another recipe.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Add the garlic, stir quickly with the spatula before adding the dried red chilies. Stir-fry until you smell the spicy aroma of the dried chilies.
- Return the chicken to the wok or skillet and add the Sauce. Stir continuously until the chicken is well coated with the Sauce. Stir in the green onions, dish out and serve immediately with steamed rice.
COOK’S NOTE: If you like your Orange Chicken with more sauce, double the portion of the Sauce.
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