March 16, 2011

crispy orange chicken

I am still smiling 4 days after my engagement to Michael. It was the most perfect night of my whole life. I am still sorting through the pictures and figuring out the way I want to share our story. I will write that blog post soon, I promise!

By the way married ladies, does this whole 'staring at my ring all the time and smiling' thing ever stop? I hope not.

As for this Crispy Orange Chicken - oh my goodness. It is so delicious.

I love Chinese food, I really do. I love sweet and sour chicken, general tso's chicken, lemon chicken, etc. Bring it on.

However, one thing I try to avoid when eating Chinese take out is cutting into one of the chicken pieces. It is this swirly, white/brown, slimy mess and I start to wonder what it actually is. Then I can't continue eating and swear I will never eat Chinese take out again... but the cycle continues.

The beautiful thing about this dish is that it tastes like Chinese take out. Except you know that it's real, white meat chicken. Can I get an amen to that one?

It has beautiful things in it too, like orange zest.

The delicious orange sauce doubles as a marinade for the chicken pieces. Pour it into a gallon baggie and pop that sucker in the fridge for 20 - 30 minutes.

The frying station consists of one pie plate with egg whites and one pie plate with cornstarch, baking soda and chili powder. The cornstarch/baking soda mixture is the secret to getting that golden, puffed up crust on the outside of the chicken - just like real Chinese takeout.

Also, make sure you pat the chicken dry with paper towels to get some of the marinade off.

The chicken goes into the egg whites, cornstarch and then into hot oil to fry up. They will get slightly puffy and golden. Beautiful things.

Just don't crowd the pan! In the recipe, I suggest doing this process in thirds.

Put all the chicken pieces into the sauce and stir carefully. The thick, caramelized orange sauce covers the chicken. Then pour it over plain white rice and you have a delicious meal.

Chinese takeout. No slimy brown meat. Score.

Here's the recipe!

Crispy Orange Chicken

print this recipe

4-5 cups cooked white rice
1 pound chicken breasts or tenders, cut into bite size pieces

For the marinade and sauce:
1/2 cup water
1 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons warm water

For the coating:
3 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil

To make the marinade and sauce: combine water, orange juice, orange zest, vinegars, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, salt and pepper in a large saucepan. Whisk together. Measure out about 3/4 cup of the sauce and transfer it to a gallon baggie. Add the chicken pieces to the sauce, pressing out the excess air and mixing with your hands. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes, but no longer. Place the saucepan with the remaining mixture on the stove over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water. Whisk to combine and pour into the sauce. Continue simmering and stirring for 2-3 minutes while the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.

To make the coating: put egg whites in a pie plate and whisk until frothy. In a second pie plate, combine cornstarch, baking soda and chili powder, mix together. Heat up a large skillet over medium high heat with vegetable oil. Take the chicken out of the baggie using tongs and place on paper towels. Pat to dry. Place 1/3 of the chicken pieces in the egg whites, toss to coat. Then place them in the cornstarch mixture and coat thoroughly, shaking off excess. Place in the hot oil and fry for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Continue with remaining chicken pieces.

Reheat the sauce if necessary. Place all the chicken pieces in the sauce and stir carefully. Serve over rice.

Serves: 4 - 5


  1. I love takeout chicken, but I'm with you on disliking the "mystery meat" component of what's under that breading. I've always been too intimidated to try making it at home, but I think I could handle your recipe. Thanks!

    Also, I've been married two years as of last Monday and I still stare at my ring and smile. :) In fact, it's probably a traffic hazard when the sun is shining in my car windows because I can't not peek at the sparkle for at least a second. Or two.

  2. Congratulations on your engagement. The chicken looks lovely - especially the grated orange zest.. yum! :)

  3. congrats on your happiness again jenna- i am so happy for you and how better to celebrate than to eat some yummy orange chicken! mm and tomorrow's saint patty's day so isn't it a tradition for couples to wear green together and hold hands tomorrow? just sayin' :D and no, the whole ring excitement and happiness does not go away, through the thick and thin of marriage, it does not! ~ellen :)

  4. This looks yummy! I do love chinese food but also prefer to know exactly what's in my food :)

    And congrats again! I keep looking at your pics from your engagement post and smiling because you can see how genuinely happy you are based on the GIGANTIC grin you have and the tears in your eyes :) Love it!

  5. I am still so overwhelmingly happy for you!!!

    I can't eat take out anymore because that gross weird brown slime factor got to be too much for me to handle. But I love the idea of making it yourself! Orange chicken is an old favorite of mine...thanks for this stellar recipe!

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