Chinese Orange Chicken
- 1 and 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into 1-inch cubes
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or AP flour)
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- vegetable oil for fying (I used sunflower oil + 1 tbsp of butternut squash seed oil for flavor; peanut oil is excellent for Chinese dishes)
- 1 and 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- zest of 1 large orange (about 1 packed tbsp)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- about 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 3 scallions, sliced
- 1 tsp red chile flakes
- orange slices
- cooked rice
- Sauce. Measure water, lemon juice, vinegar, soy sauce, and orange juice into a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Remove 1 tbsp of brown sugar from the 1 cup measure; add to a small bowl with the 3 tbsp cornstarch. Mix well with a fork and set aside.
- Chicken . In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, salt, peppers, and ginger. Dip chicken pieces first in egg, then toss in cornstarch mixture. Shake off excess and spread pieces on a clean plate.
- Add oil to a large frying pan or wok (I used a 12-inch frying pan and about 2 cups of oil) to about 1 inch deep. Heat over medium flame until the oil is hot & shimmering (375 degrees F) but not smoking. Add chicken in batches (it took me three), stir lightly to cover all chicken in oil, and fry until cooked through, about 3 – 5 minutes (edges should just begin to brown, no hint of pink should remain and/or the middle of the biggest chicken piece should read at least 170 degrees F on an instant thermometer). Remove to a clean plate layered with paper towels to drain. Once drained, transfer chicken to a large bowl.
- Sauce . Add remaining brown sugar, orange zest, garlic and ginger to the sauce mixture. Raise heat and bring to a boil. Add about 2 tbsp of water to the small bowl of cornstarch + sugar: mix well until the cornstarch is well incorporated with no lumps. Add to the sauce and stir until sauce thickens (should happen almost instantly). Once sauce is thickened and bubbling, add to chicken and toss to coat.
- Serve . Add red chile flakes to chicken and toss. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve over hot rice and garnish with a generous sprinkle of sliced scallion and orange slices.