Homemade Orange Chicken

This is the easiest orange chicken you’ll ever make at home in my opinion.  The natural sugar in the orange juice and other ingredients is enough to make this orange chicken comparable to the authentic orange chicken you buy at a Chinese restaurant or even better since it’s made with all the good stuff.  And, can you believe there isn’t that much soy sauce in this recipe?  Oh, yes!

My husband loves orange chicken.  He never gets tired of eating it.  Whenever we crave for Chinese food, he would always order the orange chicken meal.   I previously made homemade orange chicken using my very own coating recipe, but used a sauce made beforehand.   I’ve always wanted to make a homemade sauce  using the combination of fresh squeezed orange juice and orange concentrate to enhance the flavor.  So, I attempted to make it yesterday for dinner.  However, I made a slight variation to my usual coating recipe.  Well, it was a success. :)

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Prepare the ingredients.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts or chicken thighs, cubed in bite pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 1 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • dash of nutmeg (optional)
  • oil for frying

Directions:

Make the batter by mixing the flour, corn starch, orange juice, orange zest, salt, and dash of nutmeg in a large bowl.  Set aside.

ImageHeat a deep pan with oil over medium-high heat.  Coat the chicken by dipping it in the batter mixture one at a time and add in the hot oil.  Make sure the oil is hot enough, so the chicken won’t stick to the bottom of the pan.  Cook just until the batter turned brown or a bit crispy.  Repeat the process until all the chicken is done.

Note:  Do not cook the chicken all the way.  You are going to simmer it in the sauce later on which will cook it all the way through.  It’s tastier to let the chicken simmer.  Unlike dark meat, chicken breast can’t be overdone or you will end up with a dry, chewy chicken.  However, there are two ways to prepare this dish.  You can follow these steps or you can also cook the chicken all the way to make the coating crispier.   Reduced the sauce to 1 1/2 cup or until it’s bubbly and thick and coats the back of a spoon before adding the chicken and just stir to coat the chicken. Otherwise, keep following along.

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 Place the partially cooked chicken in a bowl lined with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Set aside.  Prepare the sauce.

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Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 jar Orange marmalade (12 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce.
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1/4 cup orange concentrate
  • 1/4 cup Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce ( you can purchase at any Asian store or at Wal-Mart)

Mix the orange concentrate and corn starch in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Mix the orange juice, orange marmalade, hoisin sauce, orange zest, and soy sauce in a skillet and cook over high heat.

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Whisk to incorporate and let it simmer about 5-7 minutes.

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Add the cornstarch mixture and let it simmer until the sauce thickens a bit about 3 to 5 minutes.*

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Add the sweet chili sauce.  Stir to combine and let it simmer until it’s bubbly and coat the back of a spoon about 2 -5 minutes depending on the heat of your stove.   You can skip this method if you are not adding the sweet chili sauce and just let it simmer for another 2 -5 minutes or until the sauce reduced in half.*

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Turn the heat to medium-low at this time.  Add the chicken and let it simmer for 5-8 minutes or so.*

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As it cooks, the sauce caramelized and it should look like the picture below when most of the sauce is absorbed.  The chicken is done.

*Note:  The cooking process always varies. Please make the necessary adjustments.

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Serve warm with steamed white or brown rice or fried rice.  I would have made fried rice if I had the extra time.  Now, you can prepare it for your family.  :)

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If you prefer using the dry variation for coating the chicken, the recipe and instructions are provided below.

Dry coating recipe ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • dash of nutmeg and black pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine the buttermilk and salt in a large bowl.  
  2. Add the chicken in the bowl with the buttermilk.  Set aside. 
  3. In a separate bowl, add the flour, cornstarch, nutmeg, black pepper, and orange zest.  Whisk to incorporate. 
  4. Take one chicken at a time from the buttermilk and dip in the flour mixture.  Let the flour set.  Dip it again and add to the pan and fry until crispy. 
  5. Repeat the process until all chicken are done.  Then follow the instructions above for making the sauce. 

Here’s a picture of the orange chicken I previously made using the dry coating recipe.   I added bell peppers and onions and sauteed them with the chicken before adding the sauce.  See the difference between using wet and dry coating?  It’s delicious either way. 🙂

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©annascuisine.wordpress.com (2013)   Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material herein without expressed and written consent from this blog’s author, Annabelle Bedell, is strictly and completely prohibited.

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