Homemade Orange Chicken, I say screw Panda Express fast food!

My kids ask for fast food Orange Chicken at least twice a week. It drives me nuts! Now I refuse to buy Panda Express. After a little battle this week about fast food, I said, “screw it, how hard can it be?” Well, to my surprise (after a few failed attempts), it’s not so hard after all. Here’s how:

Ingredients:  Serves 4-6 brats

  • 4 chicken breast or 12 chicken tenders (cut up in bite size cubes)
  • 1 cup Cornstarch, plus 1 tbsp
  • salt/pepper/garlic powder
  • Broccoli
  • 1 Celery stalk
  • Green onion
  • Yellow onion
  • A chunk of garlic log or garlic gloves-minced

Sauce: You can buy ready-made teriyaki sauce or orange flavor sauce if you don’t want to make your own.

  • 1 1/2 cup orange juice
  • The zest of 1 orange peel – finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Ponzu sauce
  • 1 cup Brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp Honey
  • 2 tsp Chili sauce
  • 3-4 Candied orange peels (see Italian Cassata cake on instructions)
  • Cashew nuts or Almonds if you have them
  • 1 tbsp corn starch

 

Give your chicken cubes a good rinse and pat dry with a paper towel.
This is my tub of corn starch.  Let’s just say it comes in handy in my kitchen.  It’s like flour, but more potent.  Trust me, dust your chicken in this and the breading won’t be so darn thick around the chicken chunks.

 

 

Season the chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Then toss them in the zip lock back with 1 cup of corn starch. Zip it, then shake the bag until all the pieces are coated.

 

 

 

Make sure you take off all the excess cornstarch from the chicken before frying.  Get your pan ready.  A deep fryer works great since it can tell you the temperature of the oil.  I used canola oil for this fry and my Copper Chef pan.  Make sure your oil is hot enough  (350-360) before you dump the chicken in there.  It will be soggy of the oil is not hot enough.  You want crispy chicken.  Deep fry for 2 minutes only.

 

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Chicken should be nice and browned.  Don’t over cook it. Dry chicken is bad.  Your kids will make ugly faces at you and tell you “This is not Panda Express!” Which means you’ll need two glasses of wine.

 

While the chicken drains on a paper towel, chop your veggies.   My daughter is picky with veggies so I just use broccoli, onions, celery, garlic and green onions. But you can use anything you want that has a pretty color and is healthy of course.
Prepare your sauce.  Combine orange juice, soy sauce, Ponzu sauce, chili pepper, honey, brown sugar and salt in a sauce pan.  Use 1/2 of orange juice and mix with 1 tbsp of corn starch.  Pour it in your sauce pan and whisk until it comes to a soft boil.  Lower the heat to simmer and watch it thicken.

You don’t have to use candied oranges, but I did.  I needed something in there that looked fancy.

Saute the veggies for a few minutes in an oiled cast iron skillet or in a wok if you have one.  Then toss in the chicken and the sauce.

Ta-Da! It’s done.  You are a star!  Serve over jasmine rice.

I made a side of zucchini for the veggie lovers in my house and a plate of chicken with no fried chicken or rice for me.  Low calorie, low carb dinner plate for me.  Can you see which plate is for mama?  Yup, no rice plate;)

I reserved a few chicken pieces so that I could saute them in a pan for my low-calorie dinner.  I used the sofrito to flavor my blah chicken cubes. Click here to see the recipe for sofrito.  It was perfect.

Good luck!

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