Orange Chicken


Orange Chicken


These crispy, batter fried chicken smothered in a tangy, sweet orange sauce is probably one of the most popular dishes in the “American Chinese” cuisine. I am not exactly sure about how original this dish is or how closely it defines the Chinese cuisine, but growing up with “Indian Chinese”, I know how a certain dish is able  adapt to the needs of a country, set it roots and almost claims to have belonged there forever. In the process an entirely new cuisine is born.



Orange Chicken


Anyone who is even vaguely familiar with the “American Chinese”  and the regular Asian take outs, will know how the “Orange Chicken” is sought after. My daughter absolutely loves this. And we hardly ever do take-outs or eat “Chinese” in America, for we love our “Indian Chinese” too much to change loyalties.



Orange Chicken



I am not so fond of it. The Orange Chicken I mean. While I like the tangy sauce, it is the sweet in it that I really have not been able to appreciate yet. So I added plenty of chili pepper to my version.


Orange Chicken


Every Chinese restaurant in America has their own version of this dish. They all kind of taste the same to me or that I stop at one bite has not allowed me to investigate deeper into the difference of flavors. One evening the daughter wanted “Panda Express Orange Chicken“. When I say wanted, it is that kind of intense, uncontrolled craving. I understand that kind of craving. I have had them, only never for Orange Chicken. But a craving is a craving and it better be tended to.


Orange Chicken


So I started getting the ingredients together, wanting to give it a try… and at last “Orange Chicken” happened in my kitchen.



I am making no claims that this is the restaurant style. It is only what I came up with and it left my girl completely satisfied. And that is what finally matters, right?


Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken

Ingredients: (serves 4)

  1. 1.5 pound chicken breast (cut into bite-size cubes – about 3/4 inch to 1 inch)
  2. 1 tablespoon vinegar
  3. 6 dried whole red chili peppers + 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  4. 2 tablespoons garlic (minced)
  5. 2 inch ginger (minced)
  6. 3 teaspoons orange zest
  7. 3 stalk scallion (white parts and green parts, sliced finely in rings)
  8. 3/4 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
  9. 1/4 cup water or broth
  10. 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  11. 1 – 2 teaspoon light soy sauce (adjust amount to suit your taste
  12. 4-6 tablespoon sugar/brown sugar/ (adjust to how sweet you want it to be)
  13. 1/6 teaspoon white pepper powder
  14. 1.5 tablespoon cornstarch
  15. 1.5 tablespoon oil  + 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil for flavor
  16. salt to taste

Note: if you want a nice glazed look on the chicken, you can use a couple of tablespoon of orange jelly/marlamade while cooking the sauce. If you use this, adjust the juice and the sugar.


For the batter fried chicken:

  1. 1 egg
  2. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  3. 1/4 cup corn starch
  4. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  5. a small drizzle of oil
  6. 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  7. 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  8. salt to taste
  9. white pepper, adjust to taste
  10. water, just enough to make a paste/batter that would coat the chicken pieces
  11.  oil to deep fry 




Wash the chicken and pat dry. In a non reactive bowl add the 1 tablespoon vinegar, salt, minced ginger and garlic, white pepper powder and toss them well; allow it to sit for about 15-20 minutes.

Combine egg (whisked), all purpose flour, corn starch/flour, oil, baking soda and water and until smooth and there are no lumps. Heat oil to deep fry. Add the chicken pieces to the batter (make sure they are well coated) and deep fry them in batches. Transfer on paper towels and set aside.

Combine orange juice, water/broth, vinegar, soy sauce, zest, sugar, salt, pepper powder and corn starch; stir well and set aside. If you want extra sauce, add extra water.

In a deep bottomed pan or wok, add 1.5 tablespoon of oil and then add the crushed pepper if you are using and the dried whole chili peppers. As the oil heats up and the peppers start to change color add the minced ginger and garlic and quickly stir-fry them until fragrant.

Now add the sliced white parts of the scallions and the batter fried chicken. Toss well  for about a couple of minutes for the oil to coat the chicken.

Add the sauce mix  that you had set aside to the wok. Stir-fry  until the sauce starts to bubble and thicken. Switch off the heat when you think you have the right amount of sauce and consistency. The sauce should have coated the chicken pieces well.

Drizzle the toasted sesame oil and garnish with the scallion greens.

Serve hot with white rice or fried rice.



Orange Chicken


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10 comments to Orange Chicken

  • As usual nice photographs!! Love it.. Did you get back your camera?

  • Here MLC does have Orange chicken on their menu but have never tried it. Ki bhalo dekhacche Soma … next time chicken anle korbo. Blr e shob shomoye orange pacchi. 🙂
    With bone korle ki sheddho hote time lagbe? Ba sheddho kore fry korle? Boneless khub ekta bhalo lage na.

    bone korle, cut in small pieces and vinegar salt diye marinate kore rakho. Then with some soy, minced garlic ginger and little water boil/precook the chicken. the smell goes away and also makes it easier for it to get cooked faster while frying.

  • It looks good, and while I am not so fond of sweet chicken dishes, I am fond enough of chicken to overlook the sweetness. So with the extra chili, I am guessing this is the Indianized version of american chinese chicken?

    Love that last shot.

    Not sure of the Indianized version 🙂 I think they use some chili peppers here too, but they are more for flavor than the heat.

  • That curry must taste ever so good! What wonderful flavors. Such chicken dishes are simply terrific.



  • Magi

    This sounds yummy, but there is too much sugar in it for me. If I made this dish I would back off the sugar by using the half light brown sugar, half Splenda product. The brown sugar taste would be terrific with the heat of the peppers coming through.

    I agree with you. The brown sugar works really well and I mentioned it in the list. The amount is of course to be adjusted to suit your taste. If I had made it for myself I would use way less sugar as I do not like sweet.

  • perfect balance of sweet and savoury with a tempting flowery fragrance, whats not to love

  • Deepa

    Simply wonderful looking curry blended well with orange. Have bookmarked it. For the 1st time I am looking at an American Chinese dish.

  • Sreeparna

    Soma, You have given us some wonderful fruit desserts. With summer here in all its Texan glory, I turn to your webpage for suggestions. Anything up your sleeves?

  • Looks too good to be true!
    So tempting ! So inviting !
    A great, gorgeous way to feed chicken to my hubby 🙂

    Thanks for the recipe and mind-blowing pictures.

  • Oh magnificent! And I am so sure that this has nothing to do with restaurant orange chicken and why would we want that in front of yours. It looks amazing! I love sweet sauces with meat but I do think your idea to up the heat is a good thing to balance it out. I so want to try making this! I love your recipes!

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