A delicious Orange Chicken recipe like the irresistible shopping mall food court variety. Crispy bites of juicy chicken in a sticky, sweet and savoury orange sauce.
I have a real soft spot for mall Chinese food. I can’t help it. Most of it is brazenly inauthentic, I know – (hello, giant chicken balls with cherry sauce) – but I just love the crispy, sweet, salty thing that goes on in those magical food warmers. I made this recipe after one of my food court favourites – Orange Chicken. Juicy bites of lightly-coated chicken with deliciously sticky orange sauce.
I partnered with Tropicana Canada on this recipe, and it starts with Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice (which has just one ingredient from grove to glass, the sunshine-y juice squeezed from fresh oranges – no flavours or colours or sugar added). I live for bright citrus this time of year when the winter is full force.
Paired with garlic, crushed red pepper, soy sauce, and a splash of rice vinegar, this glossy orange sauce hits the full spectrum of flavours – sweet, savoury, sour, salty – making it completely irresistible. (You might want to double the recipe, it’s decidedly more-ish.)
I pile our plates up with lots of stir-fried veggies and brown rice, so my version is definitely a notch or two healthier than combo number 13. And so delicious. The kids devour it, too.
The chicken benefits from a quick marinade while you prepare all of the other ingredients. It’s lightly coated and lightly fried until golden brown, and when the orange sauce is thick and sticky, the chicken is tossed in to finish cooking.
We enjoy it for dinner, but you could also serve the chicken bites with little skewers or toothpicks as a crowd-pleasing appetizer.
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs cut in 1" pieces
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice
- 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 cup honey or brown sugar
- 4 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- oil for cooking
- Sliced green onions to serve
Toss chicken pieces with soy sauce and let stand at room temperature while you make the sauce.
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook the garlic until fragrant, then add the orange juice. In a bowl or measuring cup, whisk the cornstarch with the soy sauce until smooth, then stir into orange juice mixture. Add the honey, sugar, vinegar and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook a few minutes more until sauce is thick and glossy. Remove from heat.
Heat 1 inch of oil in a large wok or dutch oven. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and baking powder. Add the water, stir gently to combine, then add the chicken and any liquid in the bowl. Stir to evenly coat the chicken.
When oil is shimmering hot (or 350ºF), add some chicken pieces using tongs - work carefully and in batches so that the pieces don't overlap. Cook chicken, turning once, until pieces are deeply golden brown and reach 165º in the centre. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and continue with next batch until all chicken is cooked. Just before serving, gently reheat the sauce and add the chicken, tossing until coated. Top with green onions to serve.