Proving a refreshing, citrusy alternative to your usual lemon chicken option, this sweet orange chicken recipe combines a hint of spice from cayenne pepper and ginger with the clean and delightful sweetness of orange zest and freshly-squeezed orange juice for a dish that is singularly incredible, whether you’re serving it as part of a themed menu or simply to add a special touch to your everyday meal. The white vinegar adds a slight pucker which will prove a tempting contrast, and the minced garlic cloves and rich, savory chicken broth for simmering will enhance the savoriness of the crunchy, well-coated and fried chicken, and will keep it from veering into dessert territory. Toothsome without being cloying, unusual yet piquant to even the choosiest tastebuds, sweet orange chicken is bound to be a hit when you choose to whip it up in the kitchen. Definitely a recipe worth keeping in your repertoire!
For the marinade and sauce:
- 1 ½ lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1 ½” pieces
- ¾ cup low sodium chicken broth (water is fine)
- ¾ cup fresh squeezed orange juice (fresh is great but use what you have)
- 1 ½ tsp. grated orange zest (optional, but oranges it up)
- 8 thin strips orange peel (optional)
- 6 tbsp. distilled white vinegar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger (or a tsp. of powdered)
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 2 tbsp. cold water
For coating and frying:
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 cup cornstarch
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 3 cups peanut oil (or canola oil)
For the marinade and sauce
- Place the chicken in a Ziploc bag; set aside. In a large saucepan, combine the chicken broth, orange juice, zest, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper; whisk until the sugar is fully dissolved. Measure out ¾ cup of the mixture and pour it 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 the marinade. Refrigerate 30-60 minutes, but no longer.
- Bring the remaining mixture in the saucepan to a boil over high heat. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and cold water; whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauce. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and translucent, about 1 minute. Off the heat, stir in the orange peel (if using); set the sauce aside.
For the coating
- Place the egg whites in a pie plate and beat with a fork until frothy. In a second pie plate, whisk together the cornstarch, baking soda and cayenne until combined.
- Drain the chicken in a colander or large mesh strainer; thoroughly pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
- Place half of the chicken pieces in the egg whites and turn to coat. Transfer the pieces to cornstarch mixture and coat thoroughly. Place the dredged chicken pieces on another plate or a baking sheet.
- To fry the chicken, heat the oil in an 11- to 12-inch dutch oven or straight sided sauté pan with at least 3 qt. capacity over high heat until the oil reaches 350° on an instant read or deep fry thermometer.
- Carefully place half of the chicken in the oil; fry to golden brown, about 5 minutes, turning each piece with tongs halfway through cooking.
- Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Return the oil to 350° and repeat with the remaining chicken.
- To serve, reheat the sauce over medium heat until simmering, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and gently toss until evenly coated and heated through.
- Serve immediately (with steamed broccoli and white or stir-fried rice).
Recipe Source here
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