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Orange Chicken

Posted by LladyRusty at recipegoldmine.com May 26, 2001

Source: Posted by Cookin' Dad - 30 November 2000, 9:16 am - Original Date: 15 October 2000 8:52 am

My father-in-law is back in Taiwan again for two weeks after a short trip to China. In spite of him not being at home that much these past few days, I did manage to get in a few lessons. For those of you who did not read the past messages related to this topic, my father-in-law is a chef with about 50 years of experience. I can't help but be awestruck as I watch him work in our kitchen at lightening speed in spite of his advanced age.

Yesterday I made a chicken dish that is somewhat similar to orange chicken (call it that for lack of a better name). He didn't supervise me the whole time, but rather gave me a list of ingredients with approximate measurements.

For starters, I cut up about 3 cups of chicken breast meat and set it aside. Next, I made the following sauce which is surprisingly simple, but delicious:

1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (approximation)
Approximately 1/4 cup water or low-sodium chicken broth
    (to dilute soy sauce - otherwise too salty; I used water)
2 or 3 garlic cloves (crushed)
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

Note: At first I was against using so much sugar and vinegar, but my father-in-law insisted on using large amounts of near equal portions of both. Who's to argue with 50 years of experience?

About 2 hours prior to making this dish, I poured a little of the sauce mixture in with the breast nuggets so meat would soak up flavor. To do otherwise would not allow the sauce to deeply penetrate the meat. Yesterday, after frying my first batch of chicken, I tasted a piece and it was delicious without the sauce! After pouring enough of sauce to cover chicken pieces, I mixed in cornstarch (1/4 cup!) and let mixture sit in refrigerator.

While mixture sat in refrigerator, I cut up some red and green bell peppers and green onion (total of approximately 1 cup). Later, I beat a couple of egg whites until frothy and set aside. After removing chicken from refrigerator, I poured off sauce mixture and dipped chicken pieces in egg white (my father-in-law claims that this helps to tenderize chicken pieces - VERY IMPORTANT.

Next, I mixed in at least 1/2 cup cornstarch (using large quantity - VERY IMPORTANT - and mixed with hands until mixture became very gooey. After placing meat back in refrigerator, I heated bit of oil in wok, added 1 clove of minced garlic and saut?ed bell peppers for about 3 minutes before adding green onions. I saut?ed for another 1 - 2 minutes before removing from fire and adding more oil to fry chicken.

After oil was hot (about 360 degrees), I placed chicken pieces in oil, trying to separate them as best as possible. After frying chicken (about 1-1/2 - 2 minutes per piece), I drained pieces on paper towel-lined plate.

Next, I added sauce to wok and heated for a minute or so before adding about 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with equal amount of water. After stirring, I added vegetables and brought mixture to boil. Afterwards, I reduced heat and simmered until mixture started to thicken, at which point I added chicken pieces and heated for about 1 minute.

This dish was served over white rice and was delicious. The flavor was tangy and sweet, nothing like anything I've had before. This would also be great with pork!

I made this dish without my father-in-law's supervision because he had a bunch of errands to run. He said I did a pretty good job, but should have added a little oil to the egg white/cornstarch mixture before frying the chicken. This would have made the nuggets crispier. Oh well, I guess experience is the best teacher.

P.S. I also learned a vegetable and sauce trick which I will post in the near future. Tomorrow I will probably make a crispy beef dish with my father-in-law. This time, however, he promised to walk me through the steps instead of tell me what I should do and then disappear . I feel I have good cooking instincts, but they can only carry me so far--especially when it comes to making Chinese food (lol)!

Servings: 4

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