As the end of the year approaches, like any good Jew, my mind turns to one thing: Chinese food. Unlike the rest of my family, I like a little kick in my Chinese food, and the classic Americanized Chinese dish of orange chicken was just the thing to satisfy my craving. The recipe calls for a teaspoon of red pepper flake but if you don’t like things spicy you can simply leave it out. The orange sauce is great on beef as well.
I call for boneless skinless chicken breast in this recipe, although many restaurants make their orange chicken with dark meat. The reason for this is I find many people keep boneless white meat stocked in their freezer. Also, boneless white meat tends to be a little cheaper than boneless dark meat. If you have have the time and want to save a few bucks you can buy chicken thighs and remove the skin and bones yourself. You will get better flavor, save a few bucks, and you can use the bones to make chicken soup. If you are feeling adventurous you can save the skins and use the them to make schmaltz and gribenes.
Orange Chicken Alternatives
If you are looking for something a little heathier (or are feeling lazy) and don’t want to cut up, batter, and fry boneless chicken, you can always just make the sauce and pour it over a bone in thighs or an 8-piece cut up chicken and bake it in the oven. It also makes a great dipping sauce for chicken wings.
Do you eat Chinese food this time of year? What is your favorite Chinese dish or appetizer? Let me know in the comments!
A sweet Chinese classic, with touch of heat.
- 4 Cups Orange Juice
- 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tbsp Ground Ginger
- 1 tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
- 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1/2 Cup Honey
- 1 tbsp Rice Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Orange Zest
- 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes Optional
- 2 lbs Boneless Chicken Breast Cut in to 1/4" thick pieces, about 1" square
- 1-1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Cup Corn Starch
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp White Pepper
- 1 Large Egg
- 2 Cups Cold Seltzer
- 1 tsp Soy Sauce
- 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 tbsp Orange Zest
- Oil For Frying
- Sliced Scallions or Parsley Optional for garnish
- Sesame Seeds Optional for garnish
Add the orange juice, garlic, hinger, honey, toasted sesame oil, and soy sauce to a medium sized sauce pot and place over high heat. Cook until reduced by half.
Add the vinegar, orange zest and red pepper flake (optional). Stir to combine.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, corn starch, baking powder, and white pepper.
Add the egg, seltzer, soy sauce, vegetable oil, and orange zest. Stir to combine. It should be the consistency of a thin pancake batter. If it is too thick add a little more seltzer.
Toss the chicken in the batter. and let it sit in the fridge of fifteen minutes.
Add enough oil to come about 1/2 way up to a Dutch oven or a heavy pot and place over medium low heat until it comes to 350°F. Allow the excess batter to drip off of the chicken before adding it to the oil. Working in small batches, add the chicken to the oil and fry until golden brown. Make sure the oil doesn't get too hot or the outside of the chicken will burn before it cooks in the center.
Add the sauce to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken to the sauce and toss to coat. Garnish with scallions or parsley and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
Check out some of our other Asian influenced dishes: