I have a confession to make. I don’t really like “Chinese” food *hides under desk*
Let me elaborate, the reason I say I don’t like Chinese food and the reason I put Chinese in quotations is because the most widely available Chinese Cuisine, is just SO not authentic. I’m pretty sure the mystery pork you get in the sugary, bright Red (#40,) sauce is not an authentic Chinese dish.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m an Asian food snob. Give me a big bowl of Pho with raw beef slices and a side of hot chili sauce and I will slurp it right up. Give me pad Thai, lemon grass chicken or Thai green curry and I will love you forever. Try to feed me an order of sweet and sour chicken balls and I’ll throw a fit and request an order of Cambodian beef luc lac.
The point I am trying to make here is one of the things I DO like (if it is made well) is orange chicken. Chicken breast pieces, lightly battered and fried until crispy, in a slightly sweet but mostly tangy, orange sauce. When you have it over steamed sticky rice the orange sauce seeps down into the rice and ….well just YUM.
I wanted to try to make it at home and this turned out to be a HUGE success! The chicken is crispy the sauce is tangy and fresh, and best of all, most of the ingredients are things you probably already have at home!
Make this now. Then take some for leftovers at work and forget you did that so you eat 2 hot dogs at your work BBQ instead. Then seriously contemplate still eating the orange chicken…
FYI That story was completely fictional.
Mandarin Orange Chicken
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp Cornstarch
1 tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2 tbsp Water
1 Egg White
2 chicken breasts, cut into large dice
Oil for frying ( I used Canola)
2 Garlic Cloves, minced finely
1 thumb sized piece of Ginger, minced finely
2 tbsp bottled Sweet Chili Sauce
1 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 8 oz tin Mandarin Oranges (do not drain)
1/2 Red Pepper, Sliced thinly
1/2 Yellow Pepper, Sliced Thinly
In a large bowl, mix 1/4 cup cornstarch, soy sauce, water and the egg white. Add the diced chicken and mix to coat all the chicken pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes. Heat about 2 inches of oil in a pot over medium high heat until glossy and when you insert a wooden spoon in the oil, bubbles start forming around the spoon.
Fry the chicken in batches, fry each piece for 4-5 minutes per side, until nice and golden brown. Remove to cool on a paper towel lined plate. Once all chicken is fried we can start making our sauce.
In a mixing bowl, mix together the Sweet Chili Sauce, vinegar, sugar, oranges in juice and the remaining tablespoon of cornstarch. Set aside. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add about a tbsp of oil and then saute the ginger and garlic until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the sauce mixture and heat until bubbling and thickened. Add the pepper slices and stir. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until slightly softened. Turn off the heat.