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Orange Flavored Chicken


FoodMuse
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I'd like to make Orange flavored chicken tonight and not the goop you get at the food court. I didn't bother posting this in the China: Cooking Forum since I'm sure this isn't an authentic dish. :)

I have 2 oranges and 1 1/2 lb of chicken thighs. Now what? Any thoughts?

I'm sure I'll be sauteing the chicken and not battering and frying. I love that the orange rind is edible. How do I make that happen? Just stirfrying?

Thanks friends,

Grace

Hosting Note: This topic was moved from the General Cooking forum to this China Cooking forum

Edited by heidih
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Grace Piper, host of Fearless Cooking

www.fearlesscooking.tv

My eGullet Blog: What I ate for one week Nov. 2010

Subscribe to my 5 minute video podcast through iTunes, just search for Fearless Cooking

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Not the goop, really? If anyone should be goop-inclined, there's a good recipe for restaurant-style Crispy Orange Chicken in Stuart Chang Berman's "Potsticker Chronicles". I only make it a couple times a year, but it's one of my kids' favorite things ever. It's a bit higher-class than the food court stuff, but I wouldn't call it "authentic Chinese" -- more what you'd get at a good takeout place.

In the event someone's interested in trying it, here it is. Note that (as in the original) no actual oranges are involved, just a last-second splash of orange extract.

1 lb boneless chicken breasts

cornstarch to coat

BATTER

1 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

SAUCE

1 cup chicken broth

3 TB black or mushroom soy sauce

2 TB dry sherry (or Shaoxiang wine, presumably)

1 TB light soy sauce or Kikkoman

4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

1 TB finely minced ginger

1 TB sugar

1/2 tsp white pepper

1 tsp chili paste (or to taste)

1 TB cornstarch mixed with 1/4 c cold water

3/4 cup sugar, or to taste (I use considerably less)

1 tsp orange extract

4 cups oil for frying

1. Slice chicken lengthwise into 4 pieces, then cut crosswise on a 45 degree angle to create 1/4" slices about the size of a silver dollar (sic). Dust these pieces in cornstarch, shake off excess, and lay out on a cookie sheet.

2. Make the batter: Mix the flour and 1 cup cornstarch with 1 cup cold water. Batter should be fairly thick but not too thick to stir.

3. Heat oil (in a wok or dutch oven or deep-fryer) to 350F. Add the chicken to the batter, stir to coat. Deep fry the chicken pieces in batches without crowding until crusty and white, 3-5 minutes. Drain. Return oil to 350F and fry a second time until golden, 1-2 minutes longer. Drain.

4. Make the sauce: Combine sauce ingredients in a wok over high heat. Bring to a boil while stirring. Add the cornstarch mixture. Boil until thickened.

5. Immediately add the chicken pieces to the sauce and very quickly toss until the chicken pieces are all coated with the sauce. Continuing to stir and toss the chicken, add the sugar gradually, pouring from about 12 inches above the wok (a helper is useful here, or quickly alternate sprinkling and tossing) as you toss the chicken underneath. Once glaze has formed, splash the orange extract over the chicken. Toss several times to mix. Serve immediately.

John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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Yeah, Cook's Illustrated published an excellent recipe a while ago that I used to make quite frequently, but it too battered and deep-fried the chicken. Obviously one can make an orange-flavored sauce for sauteed chicken, but to me, that's just not "Orange Chicken." Then again, who cares, if it tastes good? I believe the main constituents of the sauce were orange juice and soy sauce: the orange peel was simmered in the mixture for 10-15 minutes, along with garlic and ginger and a couple dried red peppers. The orange peel and peppers were removed, and the chicken deep-fried with a cornstarch/egg white crust (very, very crisp), and then the chicken pieces were tossed in a light coating of the sauce. Not gloppy, not oversweet, and the chicken was crispy. Mmm. I loved that stuff.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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John and Chris

I'm a huge fan of battering and frying. I was just feeling lazy today. I'm already girding myself for Thanksgiving. I'm hosting a dinner for 6, so feel that all meals until then should be one pot, or one baking dish and low cleanup. No dishwasher here, just me whining the whole time. :)

Chris, can you message me the recipe? I don't think that breaks the Cook's Illustrated rules.

Grace

Grace Piper, host of Fearless Cooking

www.fearlesscooking.tv

My eGullet Blog: What I ate for one week Nov. 2010

Subscribe to my 5 minute video podcast through iTunes, just search for Fearless Cooking

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Grace, the sauce is 3/4 cup chicken broth, 3/4 cup OJ, 6 T white vinegar, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 1 T minced garlic, 1 T grated ginger, 1/4 t cayenne, plus the peel of the orange you got the juice from and a few dried red peppers. Mix it all together and bring to a boil. Cool half to use as a marinade for the chicken. Add a cornstarch slurry to thicken the rest to taste (somewhere between 1 and 2 tablespoons).

ETA: For reference this is p. 21 of the May 2005 Cook's Illustrated, recipe by Rebecca Hays. My paraphrasing, obviously.

Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I'd like to make Orange flavored chicken tonight and not the goop you get at the food court. I didn't bother posting this in the China: Cooking Forum since I'm sure this isn't an authentic dish. :)

I have 2 oranges and 1 1/2 lb of chicken thighs. Now what? Any thoughts?

I'm sure I'll be sauteing the chicken and not battering and frying. I love that the orange rind is edible. How do I make that happen? Just stirfrying?

Thanks friends,

Grace

If you don't like the food court "goop," you might try making the original, authentic Hunan orange chicken, which is much less sweet, and uses dried orange or tangerine peels.

______________________

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Yan-Kit So has a Hunanese recipe for Beef with Preserved Tangerine Peel that I have made successfully. Here's the recipe. I'm sure if you wanted to substitute chicken, it would work just as well.

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I am sorry to say Chris, I followed the Cook's Illustrated ingredient list and it was a total failure. Even boyfriend who tends to say, "Eh it's not bad." said, "Eh it' not that great".

I made goop. Damnit.

It was a fun experiment though.

Grace Piper, host of Fearless Cooking

www.fearlesscooking.tv

My eGullet Blog: What I ate for one week Nov. 2010

Subscribe to my 5 minute video podcast through iTunes, just search for Fearless Cooking

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Grace, the sauce is 3/4 cup chicken broth, 3/4 cup OJ, 6 T white vinegar, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 1 T minced garlic, 1 T grated ginger, 1/4 t cayenne, plus the peel of the orange you got the juice from and a few dried red peppers. Mix it all together and bring to a boil. Cool half to use as a marinade for the chicken. Add a cornstarch slurry to thicken the rest to taste (somewhere between 1 and 2 tablespoons).

I don't have access to the Cook's Illustrated recipe, but based on this list, it seems like it would come out gloppy to me, Chris's experience notwithstanding. Don't beat yourself up, Grace.

I really recommend you try Yan's recipe I linked to about, if you want something a little less...saucy.

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Do you have a recipe or a link, Jaymes? I for one would be really interested in it.

I lived in Hong Kong in the late 60's and I definitely wasn't into cooking in those fun, madcap, somewhat wild and misspent days of my youth. In fact, although I'm certain I must have had a kitchen in my bachelorette flat, I don't recall ever being in it, so I have no recipes from that time to share.

I was, however, enthusiastically into eating out. I just remember ordering an orange chicken dish often in the restaurants that specialized in Hunan food. It was a favorite. It seems to me that there was a Schezwan version also. When I returned to the US, I ordered it in a Chinese restaurant somewhere and I remember thinking that it was considerably different.

So I don't know that I have what I would consider to be an "authentic" recipe and thinking back over some forty years, the memory gets a little fuzzy. I'm not certain how these compare. But these are two recipes I've used with some success:

Dried Peel Chicken

Orange Peel Chicken

My advice to the OP would be that indeed you should post your question in the China forum (I'd even suggest you ask a mod to move this thread). I suspect you'll be far more likely to get direction and guidance there as to some less "goopy" Westernized versions.

And of course there's going to be some sort of authentic Chinese dish combining citrus flavors and chicken. After all, the Chinese are famous for the length, breadth, depth, scope of their utterly amazing, inventive and ancient cuisine. They do have oranges and they do have chickens, so it would be absolutely astounding to discover that in all these thousands of years in millions of Chinese kitchens, nobody ever thought about combining the two.

________________________________

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I am sorry to say Chris, I followed the Cook's Illustrated ingredient list and it was a total failure. Even boyfriend who tends to say, "Eh it's not bad." said, "Eh it' not that great".

I made goop. Damnit.

Sorry you didn't care for it: IMO, if you wound up with goop, you probably just added too much cornstarch. Which is neither here nor there if you didn't care for the flavor.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Chris,

Wasn't trying to spread the blame! I wrote that posting in the depression following a meal I failed at making well. :)

You're right I completely went overboard on the cornstarch. I'll try again and use some slurry restraint. :laugh:

Grace

Grace Piper, host of Fearless Cooking

www.fearlesscooking.tv

My eGullet Blog: What I ate for one week Nov. 2010

Subscribe to my 5 minute video podcast through iTunes, just search for Fearless Cooking

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My version would be considered very non-authentic... :sad:

But it was a favourite in my restaurant days.

I used 1.5 chicken breasts per order, cut into long strips about1/2 inch or 2 cm thick. These were dressed with salt (MSG optional), a touch of orange essense, and an egg. Then I added a tbsp of flour/cornstarch mixture and mixed it into the strips. This will be wet and silky. I coated the strips with fine crumbs made from soda crackers, then deep fried these until golden.

While the chicken is cooking, I'd make up the sauce: water, white vinegar, orange essence, shredded re-hydrated and fresh tangerine peel (when avaiable - more for the colour), five-spice powder, crushed chili flakes or acouple chilis cut up. Once it comes to boil in the wok (about 1 1/2 cups), I'd slowly add cornstarch slurry, just thickened enough to coat a ladle. The sauce should still be clear, not opague. Turn off the heat, add the chicken and toss quickly so that all pieces have SOME coating, but not coated completely.

Never goopy!

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Grace, no worries: I'd just pass the blame on to Cook's Illustrated anyway :raz:. But I generally make the sauce quite thin: I'm not even sure I use the amount of cornstarch I listed as the minimum above, to be honest. My technique is to make up the slurry and then add it bit by bit until I have the texture I want. The recipe as quoted probably also makes enough to lightly coat a couple pounds of battered chicken: I agree with Dejah's suggestion that the pieces should not be completely coated with the sauce, just tossed enough so that each piece has some on it.

Dejah, that recipe sounds great: when you say "orange essence" is that like an orange extract?

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Hi Chris,

Yes. Orange extract. I add it to the chicken as well as the sauce so the flavour really stays on the chicken as well as being in the sauce.

Thought I should also mention whether you are using re-hydrated tangerine (orange peel) or fresh, make sure you scrape off the pith before using or it will taste bitter when you bite into a piece of peel.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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I'd like to make Orange flavored chicken tonight and not the goop you get at the food court. I didn't bother posting this in the China: Cooking Forum since I'm sure this isn't an authentic dish. :)

I have 2 oranges and 1 1/2 lb of chicken thighs. Now what? Any thoughts?

Historically, "Orange Chicken" is a Sichuan style dish in China. They use dried mandarin orange peel to make this dish. And have nothing to do with fresh oranges or orange juice or orange essence extracts.

Somehow in the US or diaspora, it seems the name remained but the dish evolved into Kentucky Fried Chicken, extra crispy, coated with orange-juice or orange flavored sweet and sour syrup.

Don't know how "real" you want to make. Perhaps start with not using any fresh oranges. Dried mandarin orange peel (pronounced "Chan Pei" in Cantonese), rehydrated... is what signify this dish.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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