This recipe expresses my love for Panda Express. I was working as a Lead Counter at the Chinese Fast Food Chain for 3 out of my 4 years at Penn State. I didn't learn the recipe there as I could buy their sauce there but how much did I miss Orange Chicken when I came back to India. So for those of you who don't know about the dish, here it is.What is Orange Chicken?Orange Chicken, is a sweet and tangy type of a dish. The preparation allows for the boneless chicken to be dipped in wet & dry batter before deep frying it. The fried chicken is then wok tossed in the sauce to make the recipe. The sauce made with basic Chinese ingredients and sauces, leaves a tangier (non-pineapple) version of Sweet & Sour Chicken but as starters. It's not a long recipe, and hardly takes 30 minutes. It goes well with both fried rice and tossed noodles. You can go a step further and make a Rice Bowl out of it, it will taste yum. To Double Fry or to not to?I always recommend double frying, whether it's this recipe or something basic like French Fries. It adds to the crunch, leaving the chicken and the outside layer of flour, crispier.Roasted Dried Chili or Birds Eye ChiliThere are a couple types of Chillis you may use for this recipe. The first is using Dried Kashmiri Red Chili's. To use them, simply roast them directly on flame or kept on a wire rack (like you would do for an eggplant) until the red skin is kind of black and looks burnt. You'll know it when you start coughing.The next is Birds Eye Chili- which is the more traditional optional but equally flavourful. You would just need to chop these finely prior to any use.Breading the ChickenLike the Chilli Chicken, this recipe requires the chicken to breaded with eggs, flour & cornflour, prior to deep frying it - to add to the crunch. Now, it's extremely important to be generous while breading, so it comes out crunchy. The easiest way to do is by taking 3 bowls. In the first bowl, add eggs with soya sauce. In the second, mix together both cornflour and all purpose flour. And keep the third bowl empty. Take a piece of cut chicken, and dip it in the wet bowl properly, followed by the dry ingredient bowl (generously) and then keep it in the third bowl. Ready to fry!!So let's get to it then. Here's how you can make Panda Express style Orange Chicken at Home:
- Deep Frying Pan
For the Chicken
- 500 gms Boneless Chicken (Breast or Thighs)
- 2 Egg
- 1 tsp Salt
- Pinch of Black Pepper
- 1 tbsp Oil (Plus more for Frying) (Try using Sesame here)
- 1 tbsp Soya Sauce
- ½ cup Cornstarch
- ¼ cup Flour
For the Sauce
- ½ tbsp Corn Starch
- 1 tbsp Rice Wine
- ⅛ cup Water
- ½ tsp Sesame Oil
- 1½ tbsp Soy Sauce
- 3 tbsp Sugar
- 1 tbsp Honey
- 5 tbsp White Vinegar
- 1 zest Orange
- ¾ tbsp Ginger Minced
- 1 tsp Garlic Minced
- ½ tsp Red Chilli Minced/Crushed (Birds Eye or Kashmiri)
- Start by heating Oil in a Frying Pan and by coating the Chicken. Take a bowl and add Egg, Salt, Black Pepper, Soya Sauce and Oil & whisk together.
- In a separate bowl, add Flour & Corn Starch and mix together. Dip Chicken Pieces in the Egg Mixture and then dredge in the Flour Mixture. Fry the Chicken for a couple of minutes (3-4) until Golden & Crispy.
- Transfer to a Cooling Rack and repeat with the remaining chicken. You may choose to double fry the chicken as well if you want it extra crispy. While you are double frying the chicken, you can get started with the sauce.
- Next make the Sauce. Combine: Corn Starch, Rice Wine, Water, Sesame Oil, Soy Sauce, White Vinegar and Orange Zest in a bowl and whisk well.
- Take a wok on high heat, add Ginger, Garlic & Red Pepper. After approximately 20 seconds, add the Orange Sauce to it and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the Sugar followed by Honey and mix well.
- Turn off the heat, add Fried Chicken to it and mix well until combined. You can top it up with Sesame Seed and Spring Onions also. Serve hot & fresh!
I miss Panda Express for their Orange Chicken the most. This recipe made me miss Penn State a little less. Try it at home now and let me know your thoughts. This recipe is a part of the Back to College tribe, for more such recipes click on the links below:
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