Orange Chicken

Last week, I made Orange Chicken.  Like the kind you get in a Chinese restaurant.  I love orange chicken, and wanted to make a great recipe of it at home.  I learned several new cooking techniques, which always makes me happy.

This was a fairly labor-intensive and time-consuming cooking experience.  This is fine, as it gives me plenty of time to sample the wine.

Chicken breasts into bite-sized chunks – check.  Bite-sized chunks bathing in 4 eggs and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch – check.  This step is called ‘velveting‘, by the way, in case any of you are uncultured swine like myself, and don’t know this…

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While the chicken chunks were ‘velveting’, I put together the sauce, and started heating the oil.  The sauce contained grated ginger, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, orange juice, orange zest, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, corn starch, and water.  I also started the rice cooker.

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Rice vinegar and sesame oil were new to my pantry.  I resent that I had to pay $7.00 for a bottle of sesame oil I only needed 1/4 teaspoon of, but hey…that’s Moab for you.

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The other new cooking technique I learned is deep frying.  I’ve used an electric deep fryer, and I’ve helped my mom deep fry food on the stovetop, but I’ve never done it for myself.  Seems pretty easy, but I feel like my oil didn’t stay as hot as it should have.  More fire next time!

I used tongs, and started putting the chicken chunks into the hot oil (350°F), one at a time.  This is the part that was time-consuming.  The chunks stuck to the bottom of the pan and to each other, so I could only fry a few at a time, and separate and unstick them as I went.

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Here’s what they looked like when they were done frying:

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While I was waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for the chunks to be done frying, I chopped up the scallions to top the finished product, and removed the sauce from the heat.

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Once all the frying was done, I was supposed to put all the small batches of fried chunks BACK IN THE OIL, and fry them again.  They all stuck to the bottom and to each other all over again.  We didn’t actually eat until after 8:00pm, thanks to all the time-consuming frying.

After the frying was FINALLY done, I put them in a glass bowl, and tossed them in the sauce.  I plated them, and topped them and the rice with scallions, and voila!  Here it is, all done and shiny.

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I felt like it should have been sweeter, and gooier (wow – spell-check is actually okay with that word), and saucier.  However, the flavor was great.  I would definitely make this again, but I would alter the sauce to make it all of the above.

The original recipe came from here:  The Pioneer Woman.  The actual recipe is way at the bottom of her page, below all of her much-better-than-mine photos.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

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