Mess Level: High
Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 20 min
For the Dish:
- 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
- 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Bunch Scallions
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Canola or Grapeseed Oil for Frying
- 3 Large Garlic Cloves
- 1 Small Fresh Knob Ginger
- 1 Orange Peel (Optional)
For the Sauce:
- ½ Cup Orange Juice (Not from Concentrate)
- ¼ Cup Chicken Stock or Water
- ¼ Cup Brown Sugar
- 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 1-2 teaspoons Cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Divide the flour into two bowls and salt and pepper them well. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add salt and pepper.
- Dredge the chicken in the flour, the egg mixture and then the other bowl of flour. Repeat till all the chicken is coated.
- Heat the frying oil to 350 Fahrenheit. Fry the chicken in batches till golden brown on the outside and an internal temperature of 165 Fahrenheit. Set the chicken on a rack or paper towels to drain.
- Peel and finely mince the garlic and ginger.
- In a jar, combine all the sauce ingredients and shake well. Heat a wok or cast iron pan to medium high and add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom. Add the ginger, garlic and orange peel, stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Shake the sauce again and add it to the hot wok. Cook until the sauce thickens to your liking, taste it and adjust the flavor if needed. Toss the chicken back in to coat it.
- Slice the scallions thinly on a bias and use as a garnish. Serve immediately.
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Can I make this without a wok?
- Any ole' pan will do!
Absolutely, woks are great because you can use the sides to keep stir-frying but your favorite pan will do just fine!
What if the sauce doesn’t thicken?
- Did you get it hot enough?
Make sure you’ve brought it to a boil. If it still doesn’t thicken mix one teaspoon of cornstarch with 1 teaspoon of water and add it just a little at a time till the sauce thickens.
Can I make this gluten free?
- Absolutely! Find a Gluten Free Breading or...
Skip the frying all together and cook the chicken in the pan, or you can use cornstarch instead of flour to dredge the chicken.
Can I make this ahead of time?
- Don't mix it up!
You can do everything but combine the fried chicken and the sauce. If you let those sit together the breading will be soggy and it won’t be very delicious.
Ramblings of a Line Cook
I don’t know a single person who doesn’t love orange chicken. The sweet, sticky sauce, the crispy breading, the incredibly average, but still so satisfying, American-Chinese dining experience. Ugh… It’s so good!
I took a Facebook poll to see if people would rather see an easy recipe with a jar of marmalade or a recipe with fresh oranges that took longer and was messier. Hands down the marmalade won. Something about needing dinner on the table before 9:00 pm I suppose. That and the fact that out of season, oranges aren’t really that delightful which is why people started jarring them in the first place.
So I went out and discovered that orange marmalade is scantily carried, usually by one brand, at most of the stores here in Utah. So I bought the jar and gave it a try and I was entirely displeased with the quality of the marmalade. It barely had any orange flavor to it and tasted primarily like corn syrup. Plus I don’t love the little floating bits of peel in there, it just makes me feel weird, like nails on a chalkboard or listening to someone brush their teeth.
So back to the drawing board, I went after scrubbing the cooked sugar off of my pots and giving the offensive jar of marmalade a few dirty looks. I’d made a few recipes in the past with orange juice but they were all thickened with SO much cornstarch that they tasted like the thickener and had an unpleasant, jello-like texture to them.
Here’s the thing about cornstarch: It has twice the thickening power of flour and like flour, when using it as a thickener, you must bring it to a boiling temperature before it will activate and thicken your sauce. So use just a teeeeeny bit and turn up your heat!
I’m happy to say the final version of this recipe is the best orange sauce I’ve ever tasted and it’s so easy! So give it a whirl, you’ll be the dinnertime hero! You can also skip breading and frying the chicken for an easier, healthier version (Also Gluten-Free!)! Just cook it on the stove top and then add the sauce.