February 19, 2013

Orange Chicken with Broccoli

Ah, Chinese take-out. You always sound so easy and delicious, but I am always disappointed! Why must you be so artificially sweet, so gloppy and greasy?? Why can't you be simply flavorful and delicious?? I love Asian food. It's so hard to pick a favorite region! Thai, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese... Chinese is starting to drop pretty far in the ranks. It's been an awfully long time since I have good Chinese food! And yet, I remember a place in Colorado Springs that was fantastic... so I know it does exist! Until I can find a restaurant that lives up to my expectations, I guess I'll just have to make it at home. But fortunately for YOU, I happen to have a completely awesome recipe for Orange Chicken!!

Orange Chicken with Broccoli (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)
Printable Recipe

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut in 1-2 inch pieces
3/4 cup chicken broth
Juice and zest from 2 oranges
5 Tb rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press
1 piece fresh ginger (about 2 inches), peeled and grated
heaping 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tb cornstarch
2 Tb water
dried chili peppers (optional)

3 large egg whites
1 cup cornstarch
heaping 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp baking soda
peanut oil for frying (you can use other oil, but this is our favorite)

Place chicken in large ziplock bag. Combine chicken broth, orange juice, zest, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, and cayenne in small saucepan. Whisk until sugar is fully dissolved. Measure out 3/4 cup of the sauce and pour into the bag with the 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.

Bring remaining mixture in saucepan to boil over high heat. In a separate small bowl, stir together cornstarch and water, then whisk into the sauce. Add a few chilies  if using (they'll amp up the heat!) and lower to simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened. (You could also use chilies for a garnish) Cover and/or set on very low, just to keep warm.

In a small bowl, whisk egg whites till frothy. In a second bowl, whisk cornstarch, cayenne, salt, pepper, and baking soda together. Drain the chicken chunks, then pat them dry with paper towels. Go ahead and leave bits of orange zest on! Dip chicken in egg whites, coating completely, then in cornstarch mixture, also coating completely. (I'll let the boys demonstrate!)
Such good helpers!!
Joe loves doing the eggs. Stephen refuses, they gross him out!

In a large, heavy pot, heat oil on medium-high to high heat until oil registers 350 degrees on instant-read or deep-fry thermometer (I don't have a thermometer. I know it's ready when I dip a corner of the chicken in and it sizzles, but doesn't immediately start to brown) Place half of the chicken in the oil, with tongs, one at a time. Fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes, turning each piece with tongs halfway through (when the bottoms start to turn golden). Transfer fried chicken to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with remaining chicken.
Move all chicken to a large bowl, pour sauce (still warm) over the top. Stir/toss until all pieces are coated. Serve immediately over rice. (We like steamed broccoli with it too)
Now, THAT'S what I'm talking about!! This chicken is fantastic! Bright, tangy, and packed with orange flavor (running across a piece of zest is my favorite!) not too sweet, but don't forget some kick! If you aren't one for spicy, just add a pinch or two of cayenne. You'll be glad for the flavor, minus the heat!
The chicken fries up crisp and crunchy, without all the heavy breading, and the meat stays tender and oh-so-juicy, with extra flavor from the marinade!
You don't end up with tons of sauce to glop up your rice, and it goes wonderfully with fresh, steamed broccoli! See, we're almost being healthy here! 
Definitely a family favorite. Delicious as leftovers too, even if the chicken isn't quite as crunchy!

Shared at Tasty Tuesdays


  1. Oh man... when are you opening up your carryout business? hehe :) Yummy yummy!

  2. Can you overnight some of this to me? Please and thanks :)

  3. oh goodness! My husband would love this! I may just have to try out the recipe..


  4. Oh April....we've been on the road for a while now and your dish makes me long for a home cooked meal! Can I borrow the boys to help cook?

  5. Oh my goodness, this is ticking all my boxes April! I must make and I just happen to have some chicken breasts in my fridge at the moment. I hate greasy gloppy take out chinese food, and it is all too often that. I prefer to make my own. Bookmarked and Pinned! Love you! xoxoxo
    PS - Can I borrow your breaders?? That is the part I hate to do as I hate dirty fingers!


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