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In perusing this month's issue (April 2013) of Brookshire's Grocery Store's Celebrate Cooking, I was pleased to discover a recipe for Orange Sesame Chicken. I have adapted it to my taste (adding in chile flake, adding in fried orange peel, changing the white sugar for brown, changing the apple cider vinegar for rice wine vinegar, and removing the sesame seeds) to make a close approximation of Chinese restaurant Orange Chicken, my go-to dish. It is a lot of work, but it's worth it. I also used mostly boneless, skinless chicken thighs. (The recipe calls for breast meat.)
- 4 cups orange juice (I think I will try fresh squeezed next time, for less acidic flavor.)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into one inch cubes (I added about half a breast of breast meat, as well)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1⁄4 cup brown sugar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon red chili pepper, flake
- 17 tablespoons cornstarch (1 cup plus 1 T)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 -2 cup oil (I used vegetable, the recipe calls for peanut)
- 1 orange (orange part of peel only)
- In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups orange juice, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and sesame oil. Add chicken and marinate 15-20 minutes. (I actually let mine marinate for longer, closer to an hour.).
- In a small saucepan, add remaining orange juice, remaining soy sauce, sugar, chicken broth, garlic, vinegar, and chile flake. Simmer until liquid is reduced about three-fourths (The recipe calls for 15 minutes, but it took A LOT longer for me).
- While that is reducing, peel the orange using a vegetable peeler, being sure not to peel off any of the bitter pith. Slice the strips into narrower strips (about 1/4 wide and no longer than 1 1/2 inches). Heat one cup of oil in a deep pan or wok until it begins to smoke. Add in the strips and fry until the edges begin to brown. Remove IMMEDIATELY to prevent burning. Store on a paper towel-lined saucer.
- Mix one tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water. Add the mixture to the sauce. Heat until sauce thickens and add in salt.
- Return the oil to the heat and add 1 cup more oil if needed. Drain chicken and toss in one cup of cornstarch. Shake off excess and fry in several batches 4-5 minutes or until cooked through and browned. Drain chicken on paper towels.
- In a medium bowl dump chicken and orange peel. Pour heated sauce over and mix well to cover. The chicken in sauce may be kept warm in a 200 degree oven to wait for side dishes and rice to be ready, if need be. I've found it improves the coating if this is done. Serve over rice.
- *The rest of the orange may be "supremed" and served as another side dish with the chicken and rice.