New obsession in our household: homemade orange chicken. Yes. And it tastes just as good, if not better than takeout.
This orange chicken ticks all the boxes for us. It’s sticky, crispy, sweet, citrus-y. It’s AH-mazing to eat with a bowl of hot steamed white rice. So much comforts.
And of course, we cannot do an orange chicken without adding some spice to it! We loveee our spicy food!
The sauce is definitely the star of this dish. Without enough flavours and the right texture, the dish can become a bit bland.
To get that strong orange flavours, you must must must use both orange juice AND orange zest. The orange zest holds so much flavour and aroma, it’ll take your orange sauce to the next level.
And the type of orange you use does make a difference. We used a large navel orange since it’s commonly sold in grocery stores and we find it has the perfect balance between sour and sweet.
And the sticky, luscious texture of the sauce! Oh so luscious! It’s all about the cornstarch. If you’re familiar with Chinese cooking, then you know cornstarch is a pantry staple.
The amount of cornstarch to add depends on your preference really. You can add more if you want a stickier, gooey sauce. Or less if you want it to be more runny. We suggest adding 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch (diluted in 1 tbsp of water) first and go from there. If it’s too gooey then you can always thin the sauce by adding warm water one tablespoon at a time until you get the consistency you like!
This sticky, spicy orange chicken is so good with a bowl of hot steamed rice. It’s like eating a bowl of comfort. Soo perfect for these cool autumn nights in Canada.
Spicy and Crispy Orange Chicken
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized cubes
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- oil for frying
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 1/2 tsp orange zest grated
- 3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 1/2 tbsp brown sugar or depending on sweetness of orange juice
- 1/2 tbsp sambal oelek or chilli sauce of your choice
- 7 tbsp water
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp cornstarch for cornstarch slurry
- 2 tbsp water for cornstarch slurry
- green onions chopped, for topping
In a mixing bowl, combine the cubed chicken thighs, eggs, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, and soy sauce. Mix well and set aside.
Whisk together the all-purpose flour and the rest of the cornstarch and add them into the bowl marinated chicken. Combine well. Chicken pieces should be covered with sticky batter.
Fill a deep frying pan up to about 1 inch deep with canola oil and heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Fry for about 2-3 minutes and remove from oil. Place chicken on drying rack for about 5 minutes. Fry the chicken another time on high heat for another 2 minutes or until golden brown and fully cooked. Remove from oil and let cool on a drying rack.
To make the sauce mixture, in a mixing bowl, combine the orange juice, orange zest, low-sodium soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, sambal oelek chilli sauce, 7 tbsp of water, and garlic until well mixed and the brown sugar is well dissolved.
To make the cornstarch slurry, combine 1 tbsp of cornstarch with 2 tbsp of water in a small bowl and mix well until there are no more lumps in the mixture. Set aside.
Pour sauce mixture into a pan and heat over medium high heat. Once the sauce boils, add the cornstarch slurry while stirring the sauce continuously, making sure to break any lumps that may form. Let sauce come back to a boil and thicken, and remove from heat. If the sauce becomes too thick, add one tablespoon of water at a time to thin the sauce until you reach the desired consistency.
To assemble dish
Place fried chicken pieces in a large mixing bowl, and pour the orange sauce over the chicken. Toss until every piece of fried chicken is coated with the sauce and top with chopped green onions.