Thursday, 10 October 2013

Copy cat Panda express orange chicken

I think it needs to be said that trashy Chinese in Australia and trashy Chinese in the USA are world's apart. In my opinion, trashy Chinese in Australia (which I do feel like eating sometimes) involve greasy balls of batter, with tiny pieces of meat in them, thin slices of meat "stir-fried" (but really braised) in thick, goopy sauce. Just makes the cut of being "edible".

And before anyone says, oh Chinese in Melbourne and Sydney are awesome, I would like to say - I do not refute that. Melbourne and Sydney have splendid Chinese establishments and delicious chinese BBQ houses. So does Hobart (not the BBQ house bit, but Chinese establishment). But I mean TRASHY - cheap, nasty and fast.

I thought that trashy Chinese in the States would be the same, but I felt like I needed to try it. We were in Vegas (post to come) and we wandered up to the food court and lo and behold, staring straight at us, was none other than Panda Express. I was excited to try their orange chicken and their beef and broccoli. It was delicious and miles ahead of Australian trashy Chinese! Unfortunately, that was the ONLY time we had the opportunity to eat it, so when I got home to Australia, I was still dreaming of this orange deliciousness!

Have I mentioned that Google is my best friend? A quick scan of Google brought me to this page and while I can't remember enough of Panda Express' orange chicken to know if this is comparable, I still think it's pretty delicious!

My recipe for a delicious, easy, orange chicken! (Adapted from here):

Orange Chicken - copycat Panda Express

For frying:

  • enough oil for a deep fry
  • chicken thigh fillets cut in strips (about 500g for four people)
  • cornflour (enough to coat the chicken)
  • a touch of salt and pepper to season
For the sauce (I've doubled the sauce - any extras can be refrigerated and used another time)
  • 3 TBS of light soy sauce
  • 1 cup of sugar (I know, heaps!!! but it balances out with the vinegar)
  • a bit less than 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 3 TBS (or more if you prefer) of orange juice
  • zest of 1 orange
  • cornflour mixed with cold water (to thicken the sauce)
Heat the oil.
Season chicken and add enough cornflour to coat the chicken. It may turn out gloopy, but that's ok.
When the oil is hot enough, deep fry the chicken in batches.
While the chicken is frying, add all the ingredients for the sauce (except the cornflour) in a bowl and mix together.
When you are frying the last batch of chicken (I usually put the cooked chicken in a low oven to keep warm and crispy), heat up a frying pan or wok and put the sauce in. Once all the sugar has melted and the mixture starts to bubble, add the cornflour mixture to thicken the sauce. Once the sauce is of the right consistency, dunk all the fried chicken in and coat with sauce.
Serve immediately with rice. :)

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