Panda Express Orange Chicken is a popular American Chinese dish known for its sweet, tangy, and slightly spicy flavor. Making it at home can be a fun and rewarding experience. Here’s how you can create this dish:
For the Chicken:
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- Pepper to taste
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- Oil for frying
For the Orange Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
Preparing the Chicken:
- Marinate Chicken: In a bowl, whisk together the egg, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat.
- Dredge Chicken: In another bowl, mix cornstarch and flour. Dip each piece of egg-coated chicken into the flour mixture, ensuring a complete coat.
- Fry the Chicken: Heat oil in a deep fryer or large pot to 350°F (175°C). Fry the chicken pieces in batches until they are golden brown and fully cooked, about 3-5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Making the Orange Sauce:
- Sauté Aromatics: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and ginger, and sauté briefly until fragrant.
- Combine Ingredients: Add orange juice, lemon juice, sugar, brown sugar, soy sauce, and white vinegar to the pan. Bring to a simmer.
- Add Cornstarch Slurry: Mix the cornstarch and water to make a slurry. Slowly stir this into the sauce, and continue cooking until the sauce thickens.
- Finish with Orange Zest: Once the sauce is thickened, add the orange zest and mix well.
- Toss Chicken with Sauce: Place the fried chicken pieces in a large bowl. Pour the orange sauce over the chicken and toss to coat evenly.
Serve your homemade Panda Express Orange Chicken hot, garnished with sesame seeds or green onions if desired. It pairs well with steamed rice or noodles.
- Consistency of the Sauce: Adjust the amount of cornstarch slurry to get your preferred sauce thickness.
- Balancing Flavors: Taste the sauce as you cook and adjust the sugar, vinegar, or soy sauce to balance the sweet, tangy, and salty flavors.
- Frying Chicken: Ensure the oil is at the right temperature for frying to get a crispy coating without absorbing too much oil.
Enjoy your homemade version of Panda Express’s famous Orange Chicken with its delightful mix of flavors!