Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Orange Chicken

When thinking about take-outs, my first thought is very often Chinese food or Indian; depending on my mood. And when I am craving for some Chinese, if it's on the menu, I have to get orange chicken. 

Of course, we know orange chicken is not an authentic Chinese food. I, myself was introduced to orange chicken on my first visit to the States many years ago. And yes I had it at that famous Chinese food chain.

Few days ago I was craving for good ol' American orange chicken and unfortunately it's not available at my local Chinese restaurants on the island.

So, this is what I came up with and it is good! It's also very easy to make. If you want you can make the sauce ahead of time and keep it aside. When you're ready you just have to quickly fry the chicken, reheat the sauce and toss the two together. 

The chicken is crispy and the not-so-secret is, it's coated with corn flour. Also it's very important to get the oil to the right temperature before frying. 

The sauce as mentioned before is a no brainer to make. It's deliciously orangey sweet with a nice tang and bit of heat from the cayenne.

So, whenever you have a craving for orange chicken, I hope you give this a go.

Orange Chicken

For the marinade
1 tbsp soy sauce 
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 egg white

500 gr boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into cubes

For the sauce
100 ml orange juice
60 ml chicken stock
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 orange zest
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 garlic clove, finely minced or grated
1 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tbsp cold water
Salt, to taste

Vegetable oil for frying and sautéing 
Cornstarch for dredging
Spring onions

Marinate the chicken by combining the soy sauce, vinegar and egg white in a large bowl and add the chicken cubes. Stir gently to coat and let stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the sauce. Heat one teaspoon of vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat and sauté the garlic until fragrant, about a minute or so. Watching carefully not to burn the garlic. Add the orange juice, chicken stock, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, orange zest and cayenne, if using. Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until it is reduced by three fourths. Stir in the cornstarch and water mixture and continue stirring until the sauce thickens. Season with salt to taste. Turn off the heat and set the sauce aside.

Heat some vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed pot. The quantity of oil really depends on the dimension of the pot you're using.

In a large bowl, toss the marinated chicken with cornstarch until each cube is evenly coated. Shake off any excess before frying. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, carefully fry the chicken in batches until lightly golden on the outside and cooked all the way through. This takes 3-4 minutes. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon and drain on a large plate line with paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.

Reheat the orange sauce and stir in the fried chicken cubes. Mix until well coated. Sprinkle with chopped spring onions and serve immediately with plenty of rice or noodles... Whatever tickles your fancy.