Thursday, November 14, 2013

Orange Chicken

This is one of our favorite recipes. The flavor is rich and spicy and the mixture of textures and flavors are a treat for your taste buds. The original recipe is from which is still the best cooking site out there in my opinion. It does cost a few pennies to subscribe to the site for a year, but the recipes all include a "why this works" section, and detailed step-by-step instructions for fail-safe success. I also like this recipe because if you're having guests, as we were last night, you can prepare everything and keep it warm for a few minutes while you clean up. This is pretty important on a boat so I look for recipes that allow me to do that. There is the disadvantage of the deep frying smell in the boat, but for the taste of this recipe I'll put up with that!

Orange Chicken

1.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup orange juice (2 medium oranges)
1.5 tsp grated orange zest (from one orange)
8 strips of orange peel 2" x 1/2" from 2 oranges
6 Tbs white vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 minced garlic cloves (1 Tbl)
1 inch piece grated ginger (about 1 Tbl)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbs cornstarch plus 2 tsp
2 Tbs cold water
8 small whole dried red chilis (optional)
3 egg whites
1 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 cups peanut oil


Trim the fat from the chicken, cut it into bite-sized pieces and place in a ziploc bag.

Combine the chicken broth, orange juice, grated zest, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, and cayenne in a sauce pan. Whisk until the sugar is fully dissolved. Measure out 3/4 cup and pour into the Ziploc with chicken; press out as much air as possible and seal the bag, making sure that all pieces are coated with marinade. Refrigerate 30 to 60 minutes, but no longer.

Bring the remaining mixture in the saucepan to a boil over high heat.  In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch with the cold water; whisk cornstarch mixture into sauce, stirring constantly.  simmer  sauce, stirring occasionally, until thick and translucent, about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in the orange peels and chilis. the sauce should equal 1-1/2 cups. Set aside.

Whisk egg whites in a pie plate until frothy. In a second pie plate, whisk together baking soda, cornstarch and cayenne pepper until well combined. Drain marinated chicken in colander or large mesh strainer; thoroughly pat chicken dry with paper towels. Place half of chicken pieces in the egg whites and turn to coat; transfer pieces to the cornstarch mixture and coat thoroughly.

Place dredged chicken pieces on wire rack set over baking sheet; repeat with other half.  Let chicken dry.

Heat oil in deep, heavy pan to 350°.  Carefully fry chicken pieces in small batches until golden brown (about 5 minutes). Place on large plate covered with paper towels and keep warm in the oven.

When ready to serve, reheat sauce over medium heat until simmering, about 2 minutes. Add chicken and gently toss until evenly coated with sauce. Serve immediately over rice with a side of steamed broccoli.

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