orange chicken

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orange chickenOrange chicken gets its name from a more traditional Chinese dish called orange peel chicken or tangerine chicken, whose sauce is flavored with dried tangerine peels. Because dried tangerine peels were often hard to find outside of China, restaurant cooks here in the United States began substituting orange juice and boiling it down to a syrup. The version here combines orange juice and fresh orange zest for a brighter, more citrusy sauce. Sprinkling in a bit of cayenne adds a kick, but you can leave it out if you prefer. As with the Lemon Chicken, you should refrain from frying too much chicken in the pan at one time, which prevents the nuggets from getting crispy; 8 to 10 pieces at a time in a large wok or heavy-bottomed pot is ideal.

  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs,
  • cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 0.33 cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup Chicken Stock
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh orange zest
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3 cups peanut or vegetable oil for frying, plus 1
  • teaspoon for sautéing
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
  • Salt
  • 1½ cups cornstarch
  • special equipment
How to Make It
  1. Instant-read oil thermometer 1. Marinate the chicken: In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, and egg whites. Add the chicken and stir gently to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  2. 2. Prepare the sauce: In a separate bowl, combine the orange juice, chicken stock, cider vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, orange zest, and cayenne (if using). Set aside.
  3. 3. Heat the 1 teaspoon of peanut oil in a saucepan over medium heat and sauté the garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the reserved sauce and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the sauce to simmer until it is reduced by three fourths, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch and water mixture until the sauce thickens. Season with salt to taste. Turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.
  4. 4. Spread the 1½ cups of cornstarch in a large bowl or deep plate. Toss the marinated chicken in the cornstarch and shake off any excess before frying.
  5. 5. Heat the 3 cups peanut oil in a wok or heavy-bottomed pot until it registers 350°F on an instant-read oil thermometer. Carefully add 8 to 10 chicken cubes and fry until lightly golden on the outside and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and drain on a large plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the chicken. (Optional: To get the chicken extra crispy, allow the chicken to drain and cool for 5 minutes, then put the chicken back in the wok to fry for about another 30 seconds, or until golden brown.)
  6. 6. Transfer the oil to a heat-proof container. (It will take about 1 hour to fully cool, after which you can transfer it to a container with a tight lid to dispose of it.)
  7. 7. Reheat the orange sauce and stir in the fried chicken cubes. Mix until well coated. Transfer to a plate and serve.

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