Easy Orange Chicken recipe

There’s something magical about the combination of tangy oranges and succulent chicken, creating a symphony of flavors that dances on your taste buds. Orange Chicken, a popular dish in Chinese-American cuisine, holds a special place in my heart as it reminds me of joyful family gatherings and delightful meals shared with loved ones. Today, I invite you to join me on a citrusy culinary adventure as we dive into the delicious world of homemade Orange Chicken.

Course and Cuisine: Main Course, Chinese-American Cuisine

Orange Chicken is a beloved main course in Chinese-American cuisine, featuring crispy chicken pieces coated in a vibrant orange sauce. It beautifully blends sweet, tangy, and savory flavors, making it a favorite dish on restaurant menus and home dinner tables alike.

Nutritional Information and Dietary Considerations

Calories per serving: Approximately 400-500 calories (varies based on portion size and ingredients) Dietary information: Can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free flour and soy sauce, and ensuring other ingredients are gluten-free.

Cooking Time: 30 minutes Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Orange Chicken:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying

For the Orange Sauce:

  • 1 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed or store-bought)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey or brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
  • Zest of one orange
  • Sliced green onions and sesame seeds for garnish

Garnishes and Accompaniments:

  • Steamed white or brown rice
  • Stir-fried vegetables (such as broccoli, bell peppers, and snow peas)
  • Chinese tea or a citrus-infused mocktail

Origin and Cultural Significance:

Orange Chicken is a classic dish that originated in the United States, particularly in Chinese-American restaurants. Its creation is often attributed to chefs experimenting with combining orange flavors with crispy fried chicken, resulting in a dish that quickly gained popularity for its vibrant taste and texture. While not a traditional Chinese dish, Orange Chicken has become iconic in Chinese-American cuisine and is enjoyed by people worldwide.

orange chicken
orange chicken

Ingredient Substitutions and Variations:

  • Substitute chicken breasts with chicken thighs for a juicier and more flavorful option.
  • Use maple syrup or agave nectar instead of honey for a vegan version of the sauce.
  • Add red chili flakes or sriracha for a spicy kick to the sauce.

Beverage Pairing:

The citrusy notes of Orange Chicken pair wonderfully with Chinese tea, such as jasmine tea or oolong tea, enhancing the overall dining experience. For a non-alcoholic option, a refreshing citrus mocktail with soda water, orange juice, and a splash of lime juice is a delightful choice.

Common Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Crowding the pan while frying the chicken, which can lead to uneven cooking and soggy coating.
  • Overcooking the sauce, resulting in a thick and sticky consistency.
  • Skipping the cornstarch slurry, as it helps thicken the sauce evenly.

Health Benefits of Key Ingredients:

  • Oranges are rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber, promoting immune health and digestion.
  • Chicken provides high-quality protein and essential nutrients like iron and B vitamins.
  • Garlic and ginger offer anti-inflammatory properties and digestive benefits.

Regional Variations:

While Orange Chicken is primarily associated with Chinese-American cuisine, you may find variations in different regions, such as Orange Beef or Orange Tofu, offering options for different dietary preferences and tastes.

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Chicken:
    • Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
    • Dredge chicken in cornstarch until evenly coated, shaking off any excess.
  2. Fry the Chicken:
    • Heat vegetable oil in a skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
    • Fry chicken pieces in batches until golden brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes per side.
    • Transfer fried chicken to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
  3. Make the Orange Sauce:
    • In a separate saucepan, combine orange juice, chicken broth, soy sauce, honey (or brown sugar), rice vinegar, minced garlic, and grated ginger.
    • Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat.
    • Stir in the cornstarch slurry and orange zest, and cook until the sauce thickens, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Combine and Serve:
    • Toss fried chicken in the orange sauce until evenly coated.
    • Garnish with sliced green onions and sesame seeds.
    • Serve hot over steamed rice with stir-fried vegetables on the side.

Troubleshooting:

  • If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of chicken broth or orange juice to thin it out.
  • If the chicken coating becomes soggy, re-crisp it in the oven at 350°F for a few minutes before tossing in the sauce.
  • If the sauce is too thin, simmer it for a few more minutes until it reaches the desired consistency.

Essential Kitchen Tools:

  • Skillet or wok for frying
  • Saucepan for making the sauce
  • Mixing bowls for dredging chicken and making the cornstarch slurry
  • Serving platter or plates for presentation

Sustainability Practices:

Opt for organic oranges and locally sourced chicken to support sustainable farming practices. Use reusable containers for storing leftovers and minimize food waste.

Flavor Profile and Texture:

Orange Chicken delights with its crispy exterior, tender chicken, and a luscious orange sauce that strikes a perfect balance between sweet and tangy flavors. The dish boasts a vibrant color, enticing aroma, and satisfying texture, making each bite a culinary delight.

Best Occasions to Serve:

Orange Chicken is perfect for family dinners, casual gatherings with friends, or as a special treat for celebrations. Its vibrant presentation and delicious flavors make it a crowd-pleaser that’s sure to impress and leave everyone craving for more.

orange chicken

Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken is a classic dish that originated in the United States, particularly in Chinese-American restaurants. Its creation is often attributed to chefs experimenting with combining orange flavors with crispy fried chicken, resulting in a dish that quickly gained popularity for its vibrant taste and texture. While not a traditional Chinese dish, Orange Chicken has become iconic in Chinese-American cuisine and is enjoyed by people worldwide.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 400 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the Orange Chicken:

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying

For the Orange Sauce:

  • 1 cup orange juice freshly squeezed or store-bought
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey or brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
  • Zest of one orange
  • Sliced green onions and sesame seeds for garnish

Instructions
 

Prepare the Chicken:

  • Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
  • Dredge chicken in cornstarch until evenly coated, shaking off any excess.

Fry the Chicken:

  • Heat vegetable oil in a skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
  • Fry chicken pieces in batches until golden brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  • Transfer fried chicken to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.

Make the Orange Sauce:

  • In a separate saucepan, combine orange juice, chicken broth, soy sauce, honey (or brown sugar), rice vinegar, minced garlic, and grated ginger.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Stir in the cornstarch slurry and orange zest, and cook until the sauce thickens, about 2-3 minutes.

Combine and Serve:

  • Toss fried chicken in the orange sauce until evenly coated.
  • Garnish with sliced green onions and sesame seeds.
  • Serve hot over steamed rice with stir-fried vegetables on the side.
Keyword Orange Chicken, Orange Chicken recipe