Orange Chicken is a very popular Chinese dish in the United States, originating from the Hunan province. This marvellous super delicious dish is made with tender pieces of boneless chicken coated with a spicy flour marinade; deep fried and then cooked in a mixture of orange juice & chicken stock; flavoured with ginger and garlic, roasted orange peel and slightly thickened with just enough starch to give the chicken a glistening lustre of sweetness and glaze.
Traditionally in Chinese, the Orange chicken is known as orange peel chicken or tangerine chicken derives its name from the used of dried orange peel used in the recipe. The use of fresh peel gives an amazing zest and glow to the dish. Orange chicken is highly delectable, delicate, subtle in flavours; tender marinated then fried chicken coated with an orange sauce is loaded with intensely delicious and stimulating flavours from the orange peel.
It doesn’t have lot of gravy in the sauce and cooked in chicken stock enhances the taste of the dish. This dish is very refreshing, vibrant orange colour & flavour and goes well topped over a bed of hot rice. Orange Chicken is a very popular and commonly found dish in most fast food restaurants at North America which is a classic dish made with fried chicken pieces coated in a sweet orange flavoured chili sauce which thickens or caramelizes to a glaze.
In Chinese, the dish is always known literally as old peel chicken referring to dried orange or tangerine peel which is popularly used in traditional Chinese medicine as well as cooking. While this dish is popular in China, the authentic orange chicken is generally unknown outside of Asia. The typical recipe prepared in American Chinese restaurant often use orange juice or fresh orange peel rather than dried peel and great deal of sugar.
The original recipe of Orange chicken has its roots from Hunan province, China, while its predecessor was Chinese but this dish is now totally American. If given a close look, this recipe is very similar to the lemon chicken or the General Tso’s chicken hence it is often found as a variation of both. Traditional recipe of Orange chicken actually uses the dried orange or tangerine peel which is also well used in traditional Chinese medicine but nowadays the present recipe is simplified and most are using the fresh peel.
Dried Orange Peel or Tangerine peel Chenpi or Chen pi is the sun dried tangerine (mandarin) peel used as traditional seasoning in most Chinese cooking and traditional medicine. Generally they are aged by storing them dry and have a pungent and bitter taste. Tangerines are smaller than common oranges and are usually easier to peel and to split into segments. The taste is considered less sour but sweeter and stronger than that of an orange.
Dried orange peels have long been used as an ingredient in potpourri mixes for an extra citric tang. During the middle ages, cooks more likely used dried orange peels as seasonings than to serve the fruit or the juice. Orange peels are used as dried seasoning. They are often used in Chinese soups, stews, desserts, marinades, teas, and even snacks. Dried Tangerine Peel is also known to help with digestion and wet coughs due to excessive phlegm in the lungs.
Additionally, the fruit peel is used for stimulating blood circulation. The peel of orange has proven medicinal value, mainly for digestive problems, stomach aches and high blood pressure. Orange peel is thin, dark, and has a more intense aroma, with a pleasant sweet odour, is capable of softening other taste impressions. Orange Chicken is an excellent and yummy party dish that has a mixed flavors of sweet and little spicy coming out from the simple ingredients used.
The orange flavor springs out an amazing twist in the succulent chunks of tender chicken pieces. The dish looks very attractive, glazy and appetizing. There are a variety of Chicken recipes, but this would be an amazing traditional and authentic twist with a blend of mixed flavours which is a cinch to prepare. The strong flavour of an orange or citrus seasoned with orange zest gives an awesome zest to the Orange Chicken.
Do not use the white pith beneath the orange surface as it makes the dish bitter.
How to make Orange Chicken:
Chicken (boneless) - 500 gms
All-purpose flour - 1 tbsp
Butter - 1 tbsp
Chicken stock - 1 cup
Ginger, chopped - 1 tsp
Spring onions, chopped - 2 tbsp
Corn flour - 1 tbsp
Egg - 1 no
Garlic, chopped - 1 tsp
Oil for deep frying Pepper powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Sesame oil - 2 tbsp
Orange peel - 2 pieces
Soya sauce - 1 tsp
Sugar - 2 tsp
Take a bowl and add the boneless tender chicken pieces, salt, pepper powder, corn flour, all-purpose flour, egg and mix well. Rest this marinated chicken in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours. Heat oil in a pan and deep fry the marinated chicken pieces. Keep it aside. Take the peel of the orange and remove the pith (white part) and cut the peel into very thin juliennes. Heat some sesame oil in a pan and roast the juliennes of orange peel, sprinkle very little salt and keep aside.
In the same oil, add chopped garlic, ginger, chicken stock and let this come to a boil. Add salt, pepper powder, sugar, soya sauce, orange juice, butter and boil well. Add corn starch slurry to slightly thicken the gravy. Add the fried chicken pieces, sprinkle roasted orange peel, chopped spring onions and serve hot with rice. This dish has mixed flavours such as sweet, sour and mildly spicy flavours blended with few strands of roasted orange peel to give that extra tang and sheen.
A really nice dish to pair with freshly steamed rice and some stir fried or even blanched vegetables. Next time when you plan to prepare a Chicken dish, do try making this yummy recipe. Your guest and family would truly enjoy eating.