Mastering the Art of Making Homemade Orange Chicken
Sep 01, 2023 By Susan Kelly

Have you ever craved something that hits just the right balance between sweet and savory? Look no further – orange chicken is here to save the day! This delectable dish, a staple in Chinese-American cuisine, marries succulent pieces of chicken with a tantalizing orange-infused sauce that will have your taste buds dancing.

In this article, we're going to explore the world of orange chicken, from its origins to a mouthwatering homemade recipe that will leave you craving more.

Origins and Popularity

Believe it or not, orange chicken didn't originate in China but rather in the kitchens of Chinese immigrants in the United States. It's a perfect example of how culinary creativity knows no boundaries. This dish gained immense popularity in the 1980s and has been a favorite of many since then.

Its appeal lies in the harmonious blend of textures and flavors – tender chunks of chicken coated in a crispy batter, drenched in a glossy orange sauce that's equal parts sweet and tangy.

Cooking Up the Perfect Orange Chicken

Now, let's dive into the fun part – crafting your very own orange chicken masterpiece in the comfort of your kitchen. Below, we present a simple yet utterly delicious orange chicken recipe that will make you the star of your dining table:

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Orange Chicken Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
  • Zest of 1 orange

Instructions

Here is how you are going to make it!

  • Coat the chicken pieces in a bowl with cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Make sure they're evenly coated.
  • In a deep skillet or wok, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat for frying.
  • Carefully add the coated chicken to the hot oil and cook until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
  • To prepare the orange chicken sauce, heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan. Add minced garlic and grated ginger, and sauté until fragrant.
  • Pour in the orange juice, chicken broth, soy sauce, granulated sugar, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Stir well to combine.
  • Allow the sauce to simmer and thicken for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the red pepper flakes and orange zest to the sauce, giving it that signature kick and citrusy aroma.
  • Once the sauce has reached your desired consistency, toss in the fried chicken pieces. Coat them generously with the luscious orange sauce.
  • Serve your homemade orange chicken over a bed of steamed white rice, and garnish with chopped green onions for freshness.

Why Homemade Orange Chicken Rocks?

When you're in control of the kitchen, you can adjust the sweetness, spiciness, and overall flavor of your orange chicken sauce to suit your palate. Plus, the satisfaction of creating this restaurant favorite from scratch is truly unbeatable.

Customizable Goodness: When you're in control of the kitchen, you can adjust the sweetness, spiciness, and overall flavor of your orange chicken sauce to suit your palate.

Quality Ingredients: Opt for high-quality chicken and fresh orange juice, ensuring a restaurant-quality experience without the hefty bill.

Healthier Cooking: By making your orange chicken at home, you have control over the cooking methods and can opt for healthier alternatives, such as baking the chicken instead of frying.

A Burst of Flavor in Every Bite

Picture this: You take a forkful of crispy orange-glazed chicken, and the first thing that hits your taste buds is a delightful sweetness, swiftly followed by a tangy punch. The textures play their part, too – the crunch of the golden-brown crust gives way to the juicy and tender chicken inside. The orange zest adds a fragrant aroma that elevates the dish to a whole new level.

Pairing and Serving

Orange chicken pairs beautifully with a variety of sides, creating a balanced and satisfying meal. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Steamed Vegetables: The vibrancy of steamed broccoli, carrots, and snap peas complements the orange chicken's flavors while adding a healthy touch.

Egg Fried Rice: The nuttiness of fried rice, speckled with scrambled eggs and colorful veggies, creates a harmonious contrast to the tangy chicken.

Crispy Noodles: Add a crunchy element to your meal with crispy chow mein noodles. They not only add texture but also soak up the delicious sauce.

Conclusion

Orange chicken is more than just a dish; it's an experience. The balance of flavors, the play of textures, and the sheer joy it brings with each bite make it a favorite for many. And now, armed with a simple yet amazing homemade orange chicken recipe, you can embark on a culinary adventure right in your own kitchen.

So, gather your ingredients, put on your apron, and let the magic of orange chicken unfold before you. Your taste buds will thank you for the explosion of flavor, and you'll gain a new appreciation for the art of Chinese-American cuisine.

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