Better Than Takeout Orange Chicken
Growing up in California there was certainly no shortage of good Chinese food. Now that we live in Utah that’s a whole different story. Stephen and I have searched long and hard but still can’t find good Chinese food! Crazy, huh?! The other day I decided that I needed to search for a few recipes online and see if I could make something that would be equally as good. That’s not always easy to do, especially with asian food. I was really skeptical about the end results but I have to say, this orange chicken is by far better than any takeout we’ve ever had. It’s delicious!
Prepare to spend a little extra time prepping this recipe and doing a few more dishes. Don’t worry guys, it’s worth it! To start, we’re going to need to make the orange sauce. We just came back from Florida with a bag full of incredibly sweet and juicy oranges, so I used a few for both the juice and the zest. You’ll need about 1/2 c. of freshly squeezed orange juice and 1 tbsp. of zest. You can put that in a 2 c. glass measuring cup or a medium size bowl. Next the chicken broth, sugar, distilled white vinegar, soy sauce, minced garlic, Sriracha, ginger, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. We like our food on the slightly spicier side, so I added a generous amount of Sriracha and red pepper flakes, season your sauce accordingly. Whisk everything together and set it aside.
Once you have your chicken cut up into 1″ cubes, place it into a bowl with the whisked egg and coat. Toss the chicken (taking care to let the egg drip off it) into a large ziplock bag. Pour in the cornstarch or tapioca flour. You can use either or some of each, they do the exact same thing. I happened to have tapioca flour left over from my pão de queijo recipe so I used it. This is your breading and it’s all you need to make super crispy nuggets. Zip and shake until evenly coated. It’s ok if it looks a little funky and if things stick together a bit, you can pull them apart before you fry them.
Heat a about 2 cups of vegetable oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven. Working in batches (I did four), add the chicken to the HOT oil and fry until golden brown and cooked through, it should only take about 2 minutes. Transfer the golden nuggets to a paper towel lined plate.
Add the fried chicken to a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking dish. It’s important to bake the chicken so that it gets nice and tender and so that the sauce caramelizes a bit and develops that amazing orange flavor (see NOTES for a quick version). You’ll need to whisk together a slurry of 1 tbsp. of cornstarch and 1 tbsp. of water and add it to the sauce. This is what helps thicken the sauce and create that gorgeous glossy coat on the chicken. Pour the mixture over the chicken and place in the oven to bake for 50 minutes. You’ll want to stir the chicken every 15 minutes or so to keep it covered and to prevent sticking. At the 50 minute mark your sauce should be nice and thick. Remove the pan from the oven and serve immediately!
This better than takeout orange chicken is best straight from the oven and served alongside some freshly cooked rice. It’s got great flavor, an amazing texture to it and will have all of your family fooled. They’ll think you ordered out! I still cannot believe how easy and delicious this dish was. I seriously had no idea that I was capable of making chinese food that actually tasted better than takeout! I think you’ll be amazed too! Next up- sweet n’ sour and sesame chicken!
Baking Tools & Ingredients You Will Need For This Recipe:
- 1 c. low sodium chicken broth
- ½ c. freshly squeezed orange juice
- ½ c. sugar
- ⅓ c. distilled white vinegar
- ¼ c. soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. orange zest
- 1½ tsp. Sriracha
- ¼ tsp. freshly grated ginger
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch or tapioca flour
- 1 tbsp. water
- For the chicken:
- 1½ lbs boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cut into 1" chunks
- ¾ c. cornstarch or tapioca flour
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 c. vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees, lightly spray a 9x13 inch glass pan, set aside.
- In a medium size mixing bowl (or a 2 c. measuring cup), whisk together the chicken broth, orange juice, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, orange zest, Sriracha, ginger, black pepper, and red pepper flakes, set aside.
- Place the cubes of chicken into a bowl with the whisked eggs, toss the chicken (taking care to let the egg drip off it) into a large ziplock bag full of the cornstarch. Zip and shake until evenly coated.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven. Working in batches (3-4), add the chicken and fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
- Add the fried chicken to the prepared 9x13 pan. Whisk together a slurry of 1 tbsp. of cornstarch and 1 tbsp. of water, add to the sauce and then pour over the chicken. Place in the oven and bake uncovered for 50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Remove and serve immediately.
Recipe source: slightly adapted from Damn Delicious