Orange Chicken – Chinese take out style, quick, easy and baked, not fried.

Posted on Mar 7 2016 - 5:00am by Barry C. Parsons

Orange Chicken – quick, easy and baked, not fried; a very flavourful version of this Chinese style take-out dish that uses economical frozen orange juice concentrate as the base of the tangy sauce.

Orange Chicken - Chinese take out style

Orange Chicken – Chinese take out style

This Chinese take-out style of orange chicken seems to be everywhere on Pinterest and food sites these days. I am constantly seeing some version of it in my newsfeed on Facebook too. As a kid, I first began cooking even before my teens. I was known to be a pretty big experimenter with common ingredients at our house. This recipe came from one of those early experiments and was probably even simpler back in the day.  My brilliant idea at the time to get intense orange flavour into the sauce was to use frozen orange juice concentrate. Coming from a family of 8, this was also the most economical choice as well.

I modelled that first sauce after a sweet and sour chicken recipe we used to make from common ingredients too, and it turned out pretty well. These days I add a few more flavour elements to it like a little toasted sesame oil and Chinese Five Spice powder.  That spice blend has become an indispensable addition to many Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes on this blog such as Five Spice Ginger Beef or Five Spice Teriyaki Salmon.

While many of the recipes you will find for this dish, fry the small nuggets of chicken, I’ve borrowed the idea from our very popular recipe for another Chinese take-out classic, General Tso Chicken, and quickly baked it using a minimum amount of oil. I’ve also used a smaller amount of natural honey in this recipe which adds a lot to the flavour of the dish, rather than refined sugar which would be used in may restaurant versions.

We served the orange chicken over some thin Chinese Noodles but plain steamed rice would be equally as good. We all enjoyed my little flashback to my early cooking days and it goes to show that you can always keep improving on your favourite recipes, even 40 years later.

Orange Chicken - Chinese take out style

Orange Chicken – Chinese take out style

Orange Chicken - Chinese take out style

Orange Chicken – Chinese take out style

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Orange Chicken - Chinese take out style
Print
Orange Chicken - quick, easy and baked, not fried.
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
Orange Chicken - quick, easy and baked, not fried; a very flavourful version of this Chinese style take out dish that uses economical frozen orange juice concentrate as the base of the tangy sauce.
Course: Easy Dinner, Quick &amp
Cuisine: Asian Inspired
Author: Barry C. Parsons
Ingredients
For the chicken
  • 4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 8 boneless skinless well-trimmed chicken thighs)
  • tbsp a few peanut or canola oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp five spice powder
  • 1 egg + 2 Tbsp water
For the sauce
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil or canola oil
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen orange juice concentrate Approximately. I used a 295 ml container
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger root
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 2 tsp crushed chili paste or chili flakes to taste
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp corn starch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
Instructions
  1. Heat a cookie sheet in the oven at 425 degrees F. This speeds up the cooking time later.
  2. Cut the chicken into about 2-bite pieces and season them lightly with salt and pepper
  3. Sift together the flour, salt, pepper, powdered ginger and five spice powder.
  4. Whisk together the egg and water to make an egg wash.
  5. Dredge the chicken pieces into the flour dredge to coat them, then dip the pieces into the egg wash and back into the flour and spice dredge again.
  6. Working quickly, retrieve the cookie sheet from the oven and lightly brush the entire bottom with the oil. Add the coated chicken pieces to the pan but don't crowd them together. They should not be touching. Lightly drizzle a little more oil over the chicken pieces. A spray bottle works well for this too.
  7. Pop the chicken into the oven for 8 minutes. Take the pan out and turn the chicken pieces over before putting them back into the oven for another 7-8 minutes. Cut one open to see that they are fully cooked. This should be plenty of time at that temperature.
  8. Toss the cooked chicken pieces wight he sauce and serve over steamed rice or Chinese noodles.
  9. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and chopped green onions if you like.
To prepare the sauce
  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, quickly sauté the garlic in the peanut oil for only a minute or so.
  2. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the pot, except the cornstarch and water.
  3. Bring the sauce to a slow simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir the cornstarch into the water and immediately add it to the sauce stirring constantly. Simmer for only another minute, stirring constantly before serving.
Recipe Notes

We most often serve steamed vegetables on the side with this dish but if you like, you can also toss in red peppers, cooked green beans or snow peas, water chestnuts, or steamed broccoli with the chicken when adding the sauce. Use any combination of vegetables you like to make this a complete meal.

 

 

5 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Liz March 7, 2016 at 10:59 am - Reply

    Thank you Barry for the nice recipe. I know it’s delicious.

  2. Joshua Hampton March 9, 2016 at 12:05 am - Reply

    That orange chicken looks amazing. And it seems like it’s a lot lighter than takeout chicken. Thanks for the recipe.

  3. Audrey freeman January 2, 2017 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    Have made this a few times and the whole family loves it…It’s one of those come back to recipes.Thank you for the dozens of Rock Recipes I have made over and over!

  4. chancey January 4, 2017 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    I don’t get the 1 tablespoon of egg and 2 of water
    do you beat the egg and get a tbsp. of it? will eggbeaters work as well?

    • Barry C. Parsons January 9, 2017 at 8:55 am - Reply

      Typo there. 1 egg 2 tbsp water. I’ve never bought egg beaters, so no experience to share there, I’m afraid.

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