Prep time: 40 minutes Cook time: 40 minutes Serves: 4
Carol Zumalt of Nicolaus was looking for an orange chicken recipe like the one served at Panda Express.
Charlotte Orlandi of Citrus Heights also enjoyed this dish and requested it through the Mailbox several years ago. Zenon Torres of Sacramento shared the recipe with us at that time. Orlandi sent the recipe and says it is very similar to Panda Express' orange chicken.
FOR THE SAUCE
1½ cups water
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1½ tablespoons soy sauce
¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced water chestnuts
½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon minced garlic
1 rounded teaspoon chopped green onion
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
5 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons arrowroot
FOR THE CHICKEN
4 chicken breast fillets
1 cup ice water
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ cups unsifted cake flour
2 to 4 cups vegetable oil
Combine all the sauce ingredients, except the cornstarch and arrowroot, in a small saucepan over high heat. Stir often while bringing the mixture to a boil. When the sauce reaches a boil, remove from heat and allow to cool a bit, uncovered.
Slice chicken breasts into bite-size chunks.
Remove exactly 1 cup of the sauce (marinade) from the pan and pour it over the chicken in a large resealable plastic bag or other container that allows the chicken to be completely covered with the marinade. The chicken should marinate for at least two hours. Cover the remaining sauce and leave it to cool until the chicken is ready.
When the chicken has marinated, preheat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a wok or skillet to 350 degrees. Combine cornstarch with arrowroot in a small bowl, then add 3 tablespoons of water. Stir until cornstarch and arrowroot have dissolved. Pour this mixture into the sauce and set it in the pan over high heat. When the sauce begins to bubble and thicken, cover and remove it from heat.
Beat together the ice water and egg in a medium bowl. Add baking soda and salt. Add ¾ cup of the flour and stir with a fork until the flour is blended into the mixture. The batter should still be lumpy. Sprinkle another ¼ cup of the flour on top of the batter and mix with only one or two strokes. Most of the new flour will still be floating on top of the mixture.
Put the remaining ½ cup of flour into a separate bowl. Dip each piece of chicken first into the flour, then into the batter. Let some of the batter drip off, then slide the chicken into the oil. Fry up to half of the chicken pieces at a time for three to four minutes or until golden brown. Flip the chicken over halfway through the cooking time.
Remove the chicken to a rack or paper towels to drain.
As chicken cooks, reheat the sauce left covered on the stove. Stir occasionally. When all the chicken is done, pour it into a large bowl and cover with the thickened sauce. Stir gently until all the pieces are well-coated.
Per serving: 585 calories; 44 grams protein; 61 grams carbohydrates; 17 grams fat (3 saturated, 5 monounsaturated, 9 polyunsaturated); 152 milligrams cholesterol; 928 milligrams sodium; 1 gram fiber; 28 grams sugar; 27 percent calories from fat.