It’s crispy, it’s sticky, it’s sweet and it’s tangy and I’m quite disappointed that I’ve eaten it already, as I could just eat it all over again!
I can see why it’s one of the most popular dishes on the Panda Express menu!
Being in the UK, we don’t actually have Panda Express, and you rarely see Orange Chicken featured on the menus of our Chinese restaurants. I remember it well from our US holidays though and I felt I had to recreate it at home.
I think this will be a regular dish for us. It’s definatly vying for the top dinner spot against my crispy chilli beef!
It’s worth marinating the chicken to get the best depth of flavour. If you marinade in the morning or the night before, you can have this on the table in 20 minutes after getting home from work. That’s probably quicker (and healthier!) than ordering takeout. Give it a go, I’m sure you’ll love it!
Sticky Orange Chicken (Serves 4):
- Juice of 2 large oranges
- Zest of half an orange
- 4 tbsp. caster sugar
- 5 tbsp. soy sauce (make sure it’s gluten-free soy sauce if you’re gluten intolerant)
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped/grated
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 500g lean chicken thighs, chopped into chunks
- 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp. cornflour
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 200g sugar snap peas
- Boiled rice
- 4 spring onions/scallions chopped on the diagonal
- Mix the orange juice, zest, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and rice vinegar. Pour into a zip lock bag with the chicken and leave to marinade for a couple of hours or overnight (it’s not absolutely essential to marinate, so don’t worry if you don’t).
- When you’re ready to cook, pour the marinade into a small pan . Bring to the boil, then let it simmer gently to reduce down a little. If it’s looking too dry, add in a splash of water (this is also a good time to put your rice on).
- Heat the oil in a wok or large frying. Pat the chicken dry with some kitchen roll, then mix the cornflour with the salt and pepper and toss the chicken in the cornflour until completely coated. When the oil is hot, tip the chicken in and fry until crispy. I try not to move the meat around too much as this seems to reduce the amount of crispiness you get. It generally takes about 9 or 10 minutes to crisp up the chicken, with about 3 or 4 stirs during that time. Some people would say to crisp the chicken in batches, but I’m far too lazy for all that, and so long as you’re using a large pan, and very hot oil you can get away with doing the lot in one go. Once the chicken is crispy and cooked through, remove the chicken using a slotted spoon, and place in a bowl lined with kitchen roll to soak up excess fat.
- There should still be a little oil left in the pan at this point. Turn the heat down a little and add the sliced red pepper and sugar snap peas. Fry for a minute or two, then pour over the orange sauce. Turn up the heat and add the chicken back in. Give it a stir and heat through for 1 minute. If your sauce is looking too thin, you can stir in a little bit of cornflour mixed with cold water to thicken.
- Once bubbling and thick, serve up with boiled rice. Garnish with the spring onions/scallions.