I fell in love with orange chicken when I went to college at Long Beach State. There was a Panda Express across the street from my apartment complex as well as on campus. The smell of fresh orange chicken being poured into the catering tray to pass out to hungry students was enough to draw a crowd in minutes. Students would wait up to 15 minutes to get the fresh, crunchy, shiny orange chicken rather than having to eat the soggy left overs from the last batch. As my palate became more sophisticated I began to wonder if the food that I’d fallen for was really just a glorified chicken nugget with an amazing sauce on it. When I started to face the fact that I couldn’t continue eating this questionable dish I decided to make my own version so I would know what was in it. The chicken is an exact replica with the exception of the questionable meat. I use the Panda Express orange chicken sauce that can be purchased at your local Panda Express store or at your local grocery store. Give this recipe a try. You won’t be disappointed.
Serving size: 6
Active time: 30 minutes
Inactive time: 5 minutes per batch for frying
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast, diced
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. white pepper
1/2 C. cornstarch
1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1 T. ground ginger
1 T. granulated garlic
1 t. red pepper flakes
1 T. rice wine
2 C. water
1/4 C. green onions, sliced
8 C. peanut oil
20.75 oz. (1 bottle) Panda Express orange sauce
1. Heat oil in a large pot on medium heat.
2. Dice raw chicken and place into a large bowl.
3. Add all the remaining ingredients except for the green onions.
4. Stir until everything is combined. The mixture should be the same consistency as pancake batter.
5. To check if the oil is ready, place a wooden spoon handle into the center of the pot, if bubbles form around the spoon at the surface of the oil then the oil is hot enough to begin frying.
6. Using tongs, place one piece of chicken at a time into the oil. Make sure you add as many as will fit into your pot without the chicken pieces touching. Adding too many pieces or adding more than one piece at a time will cause the chicken to clump together and cook as a unit instead of as individual pieces.
7. The chicken will begin to float and turning golden brown when they are ready. If your dices are about 1″ in size it will take approximately 5 minutes per batch. Take out one piece and cut it open to make sure it is cooked all the way through and there is no pink. Use a second clean set of tongs to remove cooked chicken to prevent cross contamination.
8. Place cooked chicken in a large bowl.
9. Continue to fry the remaining chicken.
10. When you are done frying the chicken pour as much orange sauce as you want, add the sliced green onions, and enjoy!
- Tofu can be substituted for chicken.
- Teriyaki, sweet and sour, General Tso, and buffalo wing sauces can all be substituted for the orange chicken.
- Any high smoke point oil can be used to substitute the peanut oil.
- This dish can be served over rice or eaten alone.
- Only use medium heat so the oil doesn’t burn before you finish frying.