Orange Chicken

Orange chicken and I go back. Way back.

I was first introduced to the dish by my dear, dear friend Katie. Once I tried that chicken I knew my life would never be the same. And either would our high school lunches our senior year when we were allowed to leave school (remember how damn exciting that was?!). I have no shame in admitting that we – two 18 year old girls – would go to the mall only to sit in the food court and eat our double orange chicken from Panda Express. It’s really that good.

It’s weird because I’m not normally a creature of habit when it comes to food. But for some reason, if I walk into any sort of Chinese food establishment I will automatically want orange chicken. Unfortunately, I don’t eat too much Chinese out these days but I still find myself craving that sweet, spicy chicken. It can be kind of overwhelming sometimes.

My life is hard.

I started experimenting with this dish YEARS ago. Anybody remember that show Take Home Chef? Where that Australian guy would attack random women at the grocery store and then follow them home and cook for them? My favorite part was when the husband would come home and they would all hide and then awkwardly be like “SURPRISE I FORCED YOUR WIFE TO LET ME IN TO YOUR HOUSE TO COOK FOR YOU BOTH – I’M TOTALLY NOT SHADY!” Shocking that the show isn’t on anymore, right?!

Anyway, once the Australian guy made orange chicken, so I decided I could too. However, his recipe didn’t taste exactly right so I spent a few years tweaking and re-tweaking until I made one I was super happy with it. The secret? Orange marmalade! It’s the only way you can get that sweet, thick sauce to coat the chicken perfectly.

Oh goodness, writing about this is making me so hungry.  Let’s do this.

Orange Chicken (serves 4)

1 lb chicken, cut in small pieces

1/4 cup corn starch

1/2 cup flour

1 egg

3 cloves cloves, minced

2 t ginger, minced

2 T soy sauce

1/2 cup orange marmalade

1/2 cup orange juice

2 jalapenos, seeded and thinly sliced*

2 T canola oil

For the sauce, combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, orange marmalade and orange juice. Whisk well and set aside.

Put the flour, egg and corn starch in three separate bowls or plates. Lightly beat the egg and add a pinch of salt to the flour. Lightly coat each piece of chicken in flour, then egg and then corn starch. You want a thin coating so make sure to shake off any excess on each piece. I found that the measurements above were enough for me, but if you want to be on the safe side just start out with more. It’s better to throw away a little flour and corn starch than have to pour more in with goopy hands. Believe me.

When all the chicken is coated, heat up one tablespoon of oil in a medium sized skillet. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken in a single layer. You don’t want any overlapping action happening, so you’ll probably have to do this in batches. I used about two tablespoons of oil for all the chicken. Cook the chicken until it’s brown on all sides and almost fully cooked through – it will finish cooking later. Remove the meat and set aside.

Give the sauce one more whisk and then pour into the pan (the same one you cooked the chicken in!). Let it bubble/boil, while scraping up all the bits from the bottom of the pan. Once it’s cooked for about a minute add the jalapeno slices and chicken. Let the dish simmer for a few minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked and the sauce has thickened. Make sure you spoon some of the sauce over the chicken as it cooks.

Serve with rice, vegetables, whatever!

* I know this sounds like a lot of jalapeno, but it’s really not! If you take out the seeds, the jalapenos just add a really nice flavor to the dish – very little spice. I promise!



Leave a comment


  1. That look super delicious, friend! Definitely trying soon. You’ve totes inspired me to get back in the kitchen.


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