Panda Express Orange Chicken

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • vegetable oil, for frying

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon red chili pepper paste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • green onions, for garnish (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat at least 4-5” of vegetable oil in a heavy stockpot or Dutch oven until it reaches 375°F.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the chicken pieces. In a shallow bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, paprika, black pepper, garlic salt, and onion powder. In a second bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
  3. Dip the chicken pieces (a few at a time) first into the milk mixture and then into the flour mixture to coat evenly.
  4. When the oil heats to 375°F, cook the chicken by carefully dropping several battered pieces at a time into the hot oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the batter is light golden brown. Lift the chicken from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper bag or paper towels to soak up the excess oil.
  5. For the sauce: In a saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil over medium heat. Add the chili pepper paste, garlic paste, and ginger paste and saute for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  6. Add the remaining sauce ingredients: soy sauce, orange zest rice vinegar, and sugar. Whisk the cornstarch into the orange juice and add that too the saucepan as well. Stir and simmer sauce for a few minutes until it has thickened.
  7. Toss the cooked chicken with the finished sauce to coat completely and serve immediately.

DONNA’S NOTES

  1. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days; but chicken is crisp and best immediately after frying.
  2. Maintain a steady temperature between 350° and 375°F for the cooking oil. If the temperature falls too low, the chicken will absorb too much oil and take longer to cook. Oil that is too hot will burn the batter on the chicken quickly. If using the stovetop (versus a deep fryer), you will likely need to monitor and adjust the frying oil throughout the cooking time.
  3. Vegetable oil, shortening, and peanut oil are all options for fry oil. We typically use liquid vegetable shortening.
  4. The chili pepper paste and ginger add the spice in this dish and can be adjusted for spicier flavor. As written, the recipe is mildly spicy, like Panda Express.

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