One of the cult favorites, orange chicken has found its way on my blog! I can’t believe it took me soooo long to put it up! Chicken chunks coated in batter, fried till crispy and tossed in a sweet and tangy orange sauce. what’s not to like? It pairs so well with fried rice, steamed rice or chow mein noodles! One of the our weekend favorite meals! For the health conscious folks out there, I have a BAKED option and healthy substitutes in the post as well, so don’t leave the page just yet.
Of Course Panda express was the first place that introduced us to the world of orange chicken. And it really is our go-to place when we want to quickly grab a take out. But lately I’ve been trying to make all meals at home to have more control over the ingredients that goes in to my food. Like the level of salt or the quality of orange juice or the type of soy sauce or oil. With this at-home fake-out, I also add cabbage which honestly goes so well with the dish! And that, folks, is my “why” for making this recipe at home. Now lets dig right into the deets.
How to make easy orange chicken
Step 1 – Coating and frying/baking the chicken.
The first step of this recipe is to coat the chicken and fry it. The ingredients for the coating are very basic. You simply dump all the ingredients for the coating in a bowl and whisk it together to form a batter! It’s that easy! Then you drop your chicken in the batter and let it sit in it for 15 to 20 mins. Not shown in the picture is a little bit of orange zest, that I like to add to the batter to give it a little orange-y kick.
After your chicken has rested, its time to fry it. Pick up your chicken, letting the excess batter fall back into the bowl and drop it in a deep fryer with hot oil. Fry until they get a nice golden brown color. And remember to fry at high heat.
Remove the fried chicken from the oil and set aside in a plate lined with kitchen towel.
Alternate cooking methods
For air frying or baking, I’d recommend to coat the chicken cubes into a light layer of all purpose flour and then cook them. Just take a box with a lid, add a cup of flour, toss your battered chicken, close the lid and shake the box. Your chicken will be coated!
- Air frying
- Oven baked – Lightly grease a tray and place your chicken on it. Spray the chicken with cooking spray. Bake at 425 F for 25 mins. Flip the chicken over after 10 to 12 mins.
Step 2 – Preparing the orange sauce and assembling
Moving on to orange sauce. Making the sauce is just as easy as making the batter. Put the honey, cornflour, spices, seasonings, sauces and orange juice in a bowl and mix together till you get a smooth liquid.
Now to assemble the dish. In a wok or a deep saucepan, throw in your chopped garlic with oil and saute till it gets to a golden brown color.
Then add in your chopped cabbage. I used cabbage because I think the flavor works really well, but you can use any veggie that you like, or skip the veggie altogether.
Saute the cabbage for a minute or so and then throw in your fried chicken and sauce. Cook the sauce for about 2 minutes at medium flame or until it thickens. Top it off with sesame seeds and chopped green onions and viola! your orange chicken is ready!
Serve hot with fried rice or noodles.
TIP: You can freeze the remaining batter in a ziplock bag and use it later for another marination. You can also use it to marinate any number of things you like, fish, prawns or cauliflower.
- You can always air fry or bake the chicken instead of frying.
- You can also skip the coating altogether and simply marinate the chicken in seasoning and grill it on a grill pan
- You can use low sodium soy sauce for the sauce.
- You can try the same recipe with fish or prawns if you want sea-food
- Use cauliflower instead of chicken if you are in the mood to make something vegetarian.
- Try adding more paprika and hot sauce to create a spicy version.
- Skip the sauce altogether and use the fried chicken as an appetizer served with honey mustard.
- Throw in noodles and a chicken cube to create orange chicken noodles.