Reproduce your favorite Chinese takeout dish at home.
The Gourmand Mom
I just adore orange chicken and its sticky sweet and slightly spicy sauce coating chunks of crispy chicken. As I planned the menu for this little ninja birthday party, it seemed like the perfect fit for a big group of adults and young children. It’s a dish I’ve eaten often and made never.
So, I did a bit of researching. The big surprise for me was that some of the recipes contained not a bit of orange – no juice, no extract, no peel. Many recipes contained more sugar than anything else. And though those recipes may be successful at reproducing the familiar orange chicken flavor from your favorite Chinese takeout restaurant, I just can’t come to grips with an orange chicken recipe made without orange.
So, I played around a bit and came up with the following recipe. It’s pleasingly sweet, just a bit spicy, and packed with a good dose of authentic orange flavor. Prior to frying, the chicken is marinated in a soy-ginger-orange marinade, then dipped in egg, and coated with cornstarch. A simple sauce, made with orange juice and fresh zest is accented with Asian flavors then thickened to the consistency of a glaze with a bit of cornstarch. Definitely a crowd-pleaser!
Cornstarch is an effective (and gluten-free) thickener which can be used in a variety of recipes, including sauces, gravy, pudding, and fruit pie filling. It adds no flavor of its own and produces a clear glaze, as compared with the cloudy effect of a butter/flour roux.