We absolutely love orange chicken and this is a wonderful version that you can make and enjoy at home.
It is important to use either a deep fryer -- or a large heavy pot that can be used for deep-frying -- in the preparation of this Chinese chicken dish.
For the Chicken Thighs:
Enough Vegetable Oil to deep fry the chicken (I usually use about 1 gallon of vegetable oil in my deep fryer)
4 boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
½ teaspoon of Salt
½ teaspoon of Black Pepper, freshly ground
1-¼ cups of Cornstarch (more or less depending on the size of the Chicken Thighs)
¼ cup of Water
For the Orange Sauce:
½ cup of Orange Juice (plus a further ¼-cup of Orange Juice to be used later)
¾ cup of Water
Zest of half of an Orange
2 cloves of Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of fresh Ginger, grated
3 tablespoons of Soy Sauce
cup of Rice Vinegar or White Distilled Vinegar, if you do not have rice vinegar
¾ cup of Brown Sugar
½ teaspoon of Red Chili Flakes
3 tablespoons of Cornstarch
2 tablespoons of Green Onion for garnish
If you are using a deep fryer, heat the vegetable oil to 365 degrees F. Follow the instructions on the deep fryer in terms of the amount of oil to add to the deep fryer. If you are deep frying the chicken in a large pot on the stove, fill the large pot only with about 3 to 4 inches of the vegetable oil and begin to heat the oil to 375 degrees. Add the salt and pepper to the cornstarch and whisk them together. Crack the eggs and add them to a bowl with ¼ cup of water. Beat the eggs and water together. Create a dredge station by organizing your chicken cubes at one end, then the eggs, then the cornstarch, and finally a plate to place the coated chicken on. Then, working in small batches, dip the chicken pieces into the eggs and then the cornstarch and then place them on the plate.
Once your oil is at 365 degrees, begin to fry your chicken in small batches until it turns nice and brown – this usually takes about 5 minutes. When you remove the chicken from the fryer, place it on a plate on top of kitchen paper towels to remove any oil from the chicken.
While your chicken is cooking, begin the preparation of the orange sauce. In a medium-sized saucepan, add the ½ cup of orange juice, the water, the orange zest, the minced garlic, the ginger, the soy sauce, and the vinegar. Stir over a medium heat until everything is well blended. Then add the brown sugar and red pepper flakes, stir them together, and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the sauce cook for about five minutes. If there are still more batches of chicken to fry, turn the heat off on the sauce and let it rest until all the chicken has been fried. Once all your chicken is finished frying, move all of the chicken to a serving bowl.
Now, it is time to finish the sauce. In a small bowl, add the 3 tablespoons of cornstarch to the remaining ¼ cup of orange juice, and mix it thoroughly. Then turn the heat up on the orange sauce, and slowly pour the slurry of the cornstarch and orange juice into the sauce and continue stirring. The sauce should begin to thicken. Once the sauce reaches the desired thickness (about 3-5 minutes), pour it over the chicken in your serving bowl. Toss the chicken and make sure all of the pieces are coated with the sauce. Sprinkle the green onion on top for a garnish and serve.