Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fake Out Take Out Orange Peel Chicken

A guilty indulgence of mine is the spicy orange peel chicken from two of my favorite Asian restaurants - PF Chang's and Bamboo Club. Every time I visit one of those places, I vow to try something new, but I always end up ordering the same thing - because I couldn't duplicate it - until now. I came across this recipe, and it was amazing. I made very little changes, and served it with steamed broccoli & brown rice.

Spicy Orange Chicken
adapted from Joelen's Culinary Adventures & America's Test Kitchen

Marinade & Sauce:

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces I used chicken breasts
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons grated zest and 8 strips orange peel (each about 2" long by 1/2" wide) from 2 oranges
6 tablespoons distilled white vinegar I used 2 tbsp white vinegar & 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce I used 1/2 cup low sodium
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3 medium garlic cloves, minced I used 4 cloves
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 cayenne
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
8 small whole dried red chiles (optional) I didn't have them, but I added red pepper flakes, approximately 1/2 tsp....I like it spicy!

Coating & Frying oil:
3 large egg whites
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3 cups peanut oil

* Place the chicken in a 1-gallon zipper-lock bag; set aside. Combine the chicken broth, orange juice, grated zest, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and cayenne in a large saucepan (with at least a 3 quart capacity); whisk until the sugar is fully dissolved. Measure out 3/4 cup of the mixture and pour into the bag with the chicken; press out as much air as possible and seal the bag, making sure that all the pieces are coated with the marinade. Refrigerate 30-60 minutes, but no longer.

* Bring the remaining mixture in the saucepan to a boil over high heat. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and cold water with the cornstarch mixture into the sauce. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and translucent, about 1 minute. Off the heat, stir in the orange peel and chiles, if using (the sauce should measure 1 1/2 cups); set the sauce aside.

* Place the egg whites in a pie plate, using a fork, beat until frothy. In a second pie plate, which the cornstarch, baking soda and cayenne until combined. Drain the chicken in a colander or large mesh stainer; thoroughly pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Place half of the chicken pieces in the egg whites and turn to coat; transfer the pieces to the cornstarch mixture and coat thoroughly. Place the dredged chicken pieces on a wire rack set over a baking sheet, repeat with the remaining chicken.

* Heat the oil in an 11-to 12-inch dutch oven or straight sided saute pan with at least a 3 quart capacity over high heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees on an instant read or deep fry thermometer. Carefully place half of the chicken in the oil; fry to golden brown, about 5 minutes, turning each piece with tongs halfway through cooking. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Return the oil to 350 degrees and repeat with the remaining chicken.

* Reheat the sauce over medium heat until simmer, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and gently toss until evenly coated and heated through. Serve immediately.


Joelen said...

I agree about this recipe - its pretty darn close, if not exact to what the restaurants serve! Glad you liked it - we certainly do :)

Carrie said...

I don't really like spicy, but I might have to try this it sounds great.