Like sweet and sour chicken, Orange Chicken is a staple at Chinese restaurants, but its flavor is amplified by the addition of oranges. My experience in the restaurant industry and my own cooking and extensive dining out have taught me how to produce authentic Chinese orange chicken.
Ingredients for this orange chicken dish include fiery chili pepper flakes, star anise, and tangerine peels that have been dried. You won’t believe how much the orange chicken sauce benefits from these aromatics. The chicken is marinated in flavorful seasonings before being fried to a golden crisp. The sauce is sweet and slightly tangy (with a hint of spice) and goes wonderfully with the chicken’s crispiness and savory flavor. But seriously, this is a simple orange chicken recipe, so give it a shot!
If you’re craving Chinese takeaway, I highly recommend our original General Tso’s Chicken, which features broccoli and a lovely toasted sesame flavor.
Put your thoughts on this one first, and let’s get started.
For the chicken:
- 1 pound of boneless chicken thighs; cut into chunks
- 1 ½ cup of canola or vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup of cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon of Shaoxing wine
- 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1/8 teaspoon of white pepper
For the sauce:
- 6 dried red chili peppers
- 3 to 4 pieces of dried tangerine peel
- 2 star anise
- 1 scallion (1 1/2-inch pieces)
- 1/4 cup of fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup of chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil
- Combine the Shaoxing wine, white pepper, garlic powder, salt, and sesame oil, then toss the chicken and let it sit for 20 minutes.
- To make the coating, heat the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and pour it into a small pot and the cornstarch in a shallow basin. Cornstarch dredged chicken pieces fried to a golden crisp. Slide onto a paper towel-lined plate.
- Bring a tablespoon of oil to a wok and set it over medium heat. For about 20 seconds, without burning the aromatics, add the dried chili peppers, tangerine peel, and star anise.
- Put in the orange juice, chicken broth, vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce.
- To thicken the sauce, bring it to a simmer and add the cornstarch slurry, stirring frequently.
- Add the chicken and scallions to the sauce after it has thickened enough to coat a spoon. Rapidly toss and serve!