Looking for a quick weekend night dinner recipe, better than take away? Chinese style? This quick and easy orange chicken is the new family favorite. It is sweet, tangy, a little spicy, crispy, and saucy; all of that in one bite. I’m so happy to share this spicy orange chicken and rice recipe. What else, I have tried it twice before I perfected it to be shared with you. Let me give you a little introduction to this dish first.
Is Orange Chicken Chinese?
Orange chicken was invented by Chef Andy Kao of Panda Express in 1987. This dish is widely served in North American Chinese restaurants. It is not traditional Chinese food and obviously, doesn’t have a Chinese origin. Learn more on Wikipedia.
Orange Chicken, secret ingredient!
The orange chicken has a sweet and sour taste with a spicy tangy kick and it is crispy and juicy. It is super is easy to make and you can easily tweak the sauce to your spice and tangy preference. To make the sauce, I’m using Orange juice powder (like Tang) which easily available and gives the same taste every time. Don’t get tempted to make this chicken with freshly pressed orange juice as it is unlikely to give the same taste. If you still want to use fresh orange juice then go for tart varieties of orange.
If you do not have orange juice powder than use any processed orange juice that is pure and sugar-free (like Nestle). A sweeter, sugary orange juice can spoil the taste.
Tips to make Orange Chicken Crispy
Orange chicken is all about crispy fried chicken and juicy chicken so my first tips are how to attain that.
- Use boneless flesh of chicken thigh because it is juicier.
- Marinate the chicken overnight (6-12 hours) in the fridge so the chicken is tender and absorbs all the seasoning.
- What makes orange chicken crispy is cornflour coating and a few serving techniques that I’m discussing below.
- Prepare the sauce before you fry the chicken. So you can serve the crispy chicken immediately. Fry chicken as needed. (This is the method, I share in the recipe card.)
- If you are serving it to a larger group, here’s how to manage. Make the orange sauce and set aside. Fry chicken on medium heat in small batches until very lightly golden and set aside. Just before serving, fry chicken once again on high heat until golden and crispy. Throw it in sauce and serve immediately. You can fry in larger batches when frying the second time.
- Lastly, if double frying is not possible; fry chicken crispy and golden, and keep the fried chicken in the preheated oven at 200 F or less. Mix with sauce as needed. (You can keep the fried chicken in a pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes. Keeping for very long will dry out the chicken.) Check this recipe for baked orange chicken.
- To keep the recipe simple, I used white sugar to make the sauce. Use brown sugar for the best taste.
- Do a taste test for orange sauce and adjust salt or spices if needed.
How to make Orange Chicken from scratch?
- Step 1 and 2: The boneless chicken is first marinated in seasoning for at least 30 minutes (preferably overnight) to absorb flavors and tenderize.
- Step 3: Mix plain flour, cornflour, and seasoning thoroughly.
- Step 4: Then coated with seasoned flour.
- Step 5: Fry chicken in hot oil until crispy. Do it in small batches.
- Step 6: Do not crowd the chicken. Place it on a strainer to crisp for 2 minutes then mix with orange sauce and serve. (Do steps 5 and 6 after preparing the sauce.)
How to make Orange Sauce?
The orange chicken sauce is made of orange zest, orange juice, vinegar, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, and salt.
- Step 1 and 2: Mix cornflour, soy sauce, orange juice powder, orange zest, chicken cube, salt and 2 cups water in a bowl. Set aside.
- Step 3: Fry chili flakes, whole red chili, ginger and garlic in oil for a few seconds then add the prepared mixture. (Whole red chili is not visible in the photo.)
- Step 4: Mix well and simmer on medium heat for 2-3 minutes with constant stirring. Add more water if needed to adjust thickness of the sauce.
- Step 5: When the sauce is thick and bubbling hot, add the remaining seasonings that are chili garlic sauce (spicy ketchup), sugar and vinegar. Simmer for another 1-2 minutes on low heat. The sauce is ready.
- Step 6: Mix with fried chicken and serve immediately with white rice or vegetable fried rice. (See the above tips section for more details.)
Serve Orange chicken with vegetable fried rice. Hungry for more fried chicken? Check these!
- Chicken 65
- Chicken Manchurian
- Crispy Chicken tender (with cornflakes coating)
- Sesame Chicken Nuggets
- Ground Chicken Nuggets
- Smoky Chicken and Rice with tomato basil sauce
- Barbecue Tikka Chicken and rice
Spicy Orange Chicken
- 500 gram chicken, cut in cubes (about 1.1 pound)
- 4 tablespoon cornflour
- 1 Nos egg
- 1 tablespoon soya sauce
- ½ tablespoon ginger paste
- ½ tablespoon garlic paste
- ½ tablespoon vinegar
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ chicken cube, (or ½ teaspoon chicken powder or ½ teaspoon salt)
Orange sauce mixture
- 5 tablespoons orange drink powder, like Tang
- 4 tablespoon corn flour
- 1½ tablespoon soya sauce
- ½ chicken cube , or 1 teaspoon chicken powder or ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups water, or more as needed
Seasonings for Sauce
- 2 tablespoon oil, preferably sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ¾ tablespoon red chilli flakes , or to taste
- 4 Nos red button chillies, You can use any other red chillies too.
- 3 tablespoon vinegar
- 2 tablespoon chilli garlic sauce, or any spicy ketchup
- 1½ tablespoon sugar
- ½ cup cornflour
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 stalk green onions, finely chopped
- 1¼ cups rice, uncooked
- Put all the ingredients to marinate chicken in a bowl and mix well. Set aside for 30 minutes. (or preferably over night).
Make orange sauce
- Take all the ingredient of orange sauce mixture in bowl and mix well until smooth.
- Heat oil in a pan, fry ginger, garlic, red chilli flakes and red button chilli for 1 minute. Add the prepared mixture in the sauce and cook for 3-4 minutes until thick. Add more water if needed to adjust the consistency of the orange sauce. (We need a medium consistency as sauce will thicken as we add fried chicken).
- Cook rice as per instructions on the packet and set aside. You can also make vegetable fried rice. (recipe here)
- Mix all the ingredients of coating in a plate to make seasoned flour.
- Coat chicken pieces in flour mixture one by one and set apart in another plate.
- Fry coated chicken in small batches until golden crispy. Transfer chicken to a sieve or paper towel. Rest it for a minute then mix it to the sauce. Serve Orange chicken immediately with rice. (See tips section above for details on frying.)