Sunday, October 12, 2008

Orange Chicken

Here's a news flash for some of you...I used to be a vegan. Seriously. I dated this vegan guy for a while and thought I would see what it was all about. I hated to give up my favorite foods so I went out of my way to create vegan meals I loved. I even posted a couple of recipes on a vegan website called vegweb. My favorite was a recipe for General Taos Tofu. It was pretty decent for a vegan recipe.

I wanted something asian this weekend, but not General Taos...fortunately I happened on a recipe for Orange Chicken on Annie's Eats site.

Orange Chicken:
For the marinade and sauce:
1 ½ lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1 ½” pieces
¾ cup low sodium chicken broth
¾ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 ½ tsp. grated orange zest
8 thin strips orange peel (optional)
6 tbsp. distilled white vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup dark brown sugar
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. cold water

For coating and frying:
3 large egg whites - I used Egg Replacer
1 cup cornstarch
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
3 cups peanut oil (or canola oil)

For the marinade and sauce, place the chicken in a Ziploc bag; set aside. In a large saucepan, combine the chicken broth, orange juice, zest, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper; whisk until the sugar is fully dissolved. Measure out ¾ cup of the mixture and pour it into the bag with the chicken; press out as much air as possible and seal the bag, making sure that all pieces are coated with the marinade. Refrigerate 30-60 minutes, but no longer. Bring the remaining mixture in the saucepan to a boil over high heat. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and cold water; whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauce. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and translucent, about 1 minute. Off the heat, stir in the orange peel (if using); set the sauce aside.

For the coating, place the egg whites in a pie plate and beat with a fork until frothy. In a second pie plate, whisk together the cornstarch, baking soda and cayenne until combined. Drain the chicken in a colander or large mesh strainer; thoroughly pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Place half of the chicken pieces in the egg whites and turn to coat. Transfer the pieces to cornstarch mixture and coat thoroughly. Place the dredged chicken pieces on another plate or a baking sheet. To fry the chicken, heat the oil in an 11- to 12-inch dutch oven or straight sided sauté pan with at least 3 qt. capacity over high heat until the oil reaches 350° on an instant read or deep fry thermometer. Carefully place half of the chicken in the oil; fry to golden brown, about 5 minutes, turning each piece with tongs halfway through cooking. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Return the oil to 350° and repeat with the remaining chicken.

To serve, reheat the sauce over medium heat until simmering, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and gently toss until evenly coated and heated through. Serve immediately.

I realized when I got to the breading part that I didn't have any eggs. CRAP! I didn't want to run to the store so I used the vegan egg replacer I used for my General Tao's tofu. This recipe turned out so much better than my tofu version of General Tao's. It was a better than the orange chicken at Panda Express because it wasn't thickly coated in breading. I also only used a 1/2 cup of canola oil for frying so they didn't soak up all the oil. It was GREAT!

What do you have dessert when you eat yummy Orange Chicken? A fortune cookie! Yep. Alex and I keep a box of fortune cookies around just in case we have yummy asian food.
What did my fortune say?


Meg said...

Amazing job! Looks fabulous!

Love the fortune!

Anonymous said...

So glad you enjoyed it! I agree, definitely better than Panda Express!

Zesty Cook said...

Holy Cow... great pictures. The chicken looks amazing. Great job and I hope you saved me a few pieces ...

Pam said...

This is the second time I've seen a recipe for orange chicken recently - it must mean that I should make it. It looks really tasty!