Thursday, July 28, 2011

Orange chicken

Wow. People actually view my blog now. It's craziness. I probably won't win any awards or anything, but in my books 240(ish) views is a lot! Naturally, as soon as the numbers jump I have to study for my French midterm and I abandon my legions of adoring fans for... well, for far too long, in any case!

So, as a reward for your patience, I am going to give you a real treat: orange chicken! It's a Chinese takeout favourite of mine and it is notoriously hard to get a good recipe for it! Everyone wants "authentic" orange chicken. Not me, no sir! I want the crispy, deep-fried, drenched in orange sauce kind that you get from the good takeout places. So, here goes nothing!

I adapted this recipe from this website, which has lots of Chinese takeout recipes. Now, you could just go to that website and get the recipe there, but mine has a little something extra, plus there are no pictures over there. Not cool. There is also a video, but she makes it look deceptively easy. Also not cool.

You will need the following ingredients for this recipe:

-1.5lbs chicken breast (~3 breasts)
-2 large green onions
-2 carrots
-Peanut oil, for frying

1½ cups orange juice (preferably fresh squeezed, but it does not have to be!)
-¼ cup brown sugar
-2Tbsp soy sauce
-1Tbsp chili garlic sauce
-2Tbsp cornstarch

Chicken Coating:
1 cup cornstarch
-1 cup flour
-2 eggs

The instructions can get a little tricky, so please be careful to read the recipe thoroughly.

Start by cutting your chicken into 1-inch chunks. If this sort of thing is difficult, I like to try and think of the size of orange chicken pieces when I get takeout.

Then cut the carrots and green onions (green AND white parts) into thin slices. Don't worry if you don't have quite as many green onions as I do in the picture. I bought mine from the Hutterites at the Farmers' Market and they grow some really big green onions!

Set the chicken and veggies aside.

Mix together all the ingredients for the sauce except the cornstarch (orange juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, ginger).

Mix the cornstarch for the sauce (the 2Tbsp portion) with a little water, just until it dissolves.

We'll now be talking about the ingredients for the chicken coating.

Beat the two eggs and put them in a bowl.

The next phase will be easiest if you set up a little station for yourself: one bowl of flour, one bowl of beaten eggs and one bowl of cornstarch. Next to your little station have a place to put the raw, coated chicken pieces.

Take each piece of chicken and dip it first in flour, then in egg, then in cornstarch and set aside. I recommend changing hands between the egg and cornstarch otherwise you'll get a ton of buildup on your fingers.

Your chicken will look something like this:

Heat up 2-3 cups of peanut oil in a wok. Take the coated pieces of chicken and deep fry them in the oil. Do not over-crowd the wok. I put about ten pieces of chicken in at a time. Deep fry them for five to six minutes, until golden and crispy. They should look like this when you're through:

Drain the chicken on a paper towel as I have done.

Remove your oil from the wok. Unless it is already old or it looks dirty, your oil can be saved and reused a couple of times before you discard it.

Wipe out the wok and add the sauce mixture to it and bring it to a boil. Add in the cornstarch and water mixture. It will begin to thicken right away, so stir thoroughly to avoid getting lumps in the sauce.

Stir until thick. This does not take long at all.

Add the chicken to the wok and coat well with the mixture. Then add in the carrots and onions. If you want your carrots to be cooked, I suggest steaming them beforehand. I, myself, like the crunch.

The chicken should already be cooked from the keep frying, so don't worry about leaving it in the wok for any amount of time. Just let it soak up the flavour and you're good to go!

This dish is super-yummy served with rice.



Boring version of recipe instructions:

Cut chicken into 1-inch chunks and slice carrots and green onions thinly. Mix together all sauce ingredients except cornstarch and set aside. The sauce's portion of the cornstarch should be mixed together with a little water until dissolved. Beat eggs. Dip each piece of chicken in flour, then egg, then cornstarch (chicken coating portion). Heat 2-3 cups peanut oil in wok. Deep fry chicken in batches for about 6 minutes. Drain chicken. Remove oil from wok and wipe out wok. Add sauce to wok and bring to a boil. Add in cornstarch and water mixture and stir until thick. Add chicken and coat well. Add carrots and onions and coat well. Serve with rice.


erin said...

looks awesome, someday when i have the time i will make it! minus the carrots, obviously.

Anonymous said...

Yummiest orange chicken ever!!
Pear :)

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