Thursday, April 12, 2012

Orange Chicken

My favorite restaurant: The Cheesecake Factory.
My favorite drink there: the Mojito.
My favorite entree there: Orange Chicken or Crusted Chicken Ramono.
I can never decide and it is a last minute decision when the waiter or waitress is at the table staring at me debating between the two and everyone is waiting for me to choose.

The orange chicken just has a wonderful citrus flavor and just the right about spice to it. 
Not too much breading.
The right amount of sauce.
It makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

Since the closest Cheesecake Factory is almost an hour away, and there is almost always a wait, and the one meal costs $15, plus another $5+ for my drink, and then another $7-8 for my cheesecake (dulce de leche all the way) I have been on the hunt for a recipe that is comparable to the orange chicken I can make at home.
I have tried several recipes over the last year, and with some tinkering with all of them, I think I have come up with my favorite combination!
It takes some prep work, but it is very much worth it when you eat it.
Very much.

Orange Chicken
Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 30 minutes Servings: 4-6
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1 inch pieces) -about 2 pounds 
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Vegetable oil for frying

1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 tbsp orange juice
4 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp sweet soy sauce (or soy sauce if you don't have the sweet soy)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 cup water
3 tbsp cornstarch

In a large frying pan or wok add enough oil to fry chicken. I coat it about 1/4-1/2 inch deep. Let heat.
Meanwhile, in a bowl beat egg, add the diced chicken and toss to coat each piece well.
In a large ziploc bag add flour, salt and pepper.
Add egg coated chicken to the flour mixture.
Shake to coat well.
Add chicken pieces to the hot oil and let fry until all pieces are to a golden brown, turning occasionally.

Meanwhile, while chicken is frying, in a medium-sized saucepan, add the brown sugar, water, rice vinegar, orange and lemon juice, sweet soy sauce, ginger and pepper flakes.
Bring to a boil for a few minutes. 
Reduce heat to simmer

In a separate small bowl, combine 1/4 cup water with cornstarch and stir until cornstarch is dissolved.
Pour into the orange sauce mixture and mix well.
Continue to let simmer over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until glaze thickens.

Remove chicken pieces onto a plate lined with paper towels to soak excess oil from the chicken.
Move chicken to a serving platter and pour the orange glaze over,
Serve over a bed of rice.

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