When it comes to popular Chinese-American dishes, one name that stands out is Panda Express. Known for its flavorful and satisfying meals, Panda Express has become a go-to option for many.
Among its extensive menu, one dish that has captured the hearts and taste buds of countless customers is Panda Express Orange Chicken.
The tangy and sweet combination of flavors makes this dish an absolute treat. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of Panda Express Orange Chicken.
exploring its origins, preparation, and why it has become a favorite among food enthusiasts.
What is Orange Chicken?
Orange Chicken is a classic Chinese-American dish made with battered and deep-fried chicken pieces coated in a tangy, sweet, and spicy orange-flavored sauce.
The sauce typically contains ingredients like orange juice, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sugar, and vinegar, which give it a unique and distinct taste.
Ingredients of Orange Chicken
To make Panda Express Orange Chicken at home, you will need the following ingredients:
- Chicken breast (boneless and skinless)
- All-purpose flour
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
- Orange juice
- Soy sauce
- Orange zest
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
- Green onions (for garnish)
Recipe for Orange Chicken
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make delicious Orange Chicken:
- Cut the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces.
- In a mixing bowl, combine cornstarch and all-purpose flour.
- Dip the chicken pieces into beaten eggs, then coat them with the flour mixture.
- Heat vegetable oil in a deep pan or wok for frying.
- Fry the chicken pieces until they turn golden brown and crispy. Set them aside.
- In a separate pan, combine orange juice, soy sauce, orange zest, ginger, garlic, sugar, vinegar, and red pepper flakes (optional). Cook the sauce over medium heat until it thickens.
- Add the fried chicken to the sauce and toss until each piece is coated.
- Garnish with sliced green onions and serve hot.
Popular Variations of Orange Chicken
While the traditional Panda Express Orange Chicken recipe is widely loved, there are some popular variations worth exploring. These include:
General Tso’s Chicken
A spicier version of Orange Chicken with added heat from chili peppers and a touch of sweetness.
Sesame Orange Chicken
This variation includes the addition of toasted sesame seeds, giving the dish an extra nutty flavor and crunchy texture.
A vegetarian twist on the classic dish, where cauliflower florets are used instead of chicken. It offers a similar taste and texture profile.
Health Benefits of Orange Chicken
While Orange Chicken is undoubtedly delicious, it is important to enjoy it in moderation due to its higher calorie and sodium content.
However, there are some health benefits associated with this dish. The chicken provides a good source of protein, while the orange sauce contains vitamin C and antioxidants from the orange juice and zest.
Additionally, the dish incorporates ginger and garlic, which have anti-inflammatory properties and may support immune health.
How to Serve Orange Chicken
Panda Express Orange Chicken can be enjoyed in various ways. Here are a few serving suggestions:
Serve Orange Chicken over steamed white rice or brown rice for a complete meal.
Pair it with chow mein noodles or lo mein for a delightful combination of flavors and textures.
Add a side of stir-fried vegetables, such as broccoli, bell peppers, and snap peas, to create a well-balanced plate.
Tips for Making the Perfect Orange Chicken
To ensure your Orange Chicken turns out amazing, consider the following tips:
For an extra crispy texture, coat the chicken pieces in the flour mixture twice before frying.
Proper frying temperature
Maintain the oil temperature around 350°F (175°C) to achieve a golden-brown and crispy exterior while keeping the chicken juicy on the inside.
Adjusting sauce consistency
If the sauce is too thick, add a little water or orange juice to achieve the desired consistency. If it’s too thin, simmer it for a few more minutes to reduce and thicken.
How to Make Panda Express Orange Chicken
It may seem like there are a lot of ingredients at play here and a lot of dishes too dirty, but it really does come together pretty quickly.
At the end of the cooking, when you have a plate of this chicken waiting to be eaten, you’ll forget all about that pile of dishes left behind! Check out how to make Panda Express Orange Chicken at home!
Mix all the sauce ingredients together and let the sauce sit while you’re making the chicken.
To make the fried chicken, mix the breading ingredients together, coat the chicken pieces, and fry the chicken in batches. Set to the side until the very end.
This step is where the magic happens! Fry the fresh garlic and ginger and optional red pepper flakes in the bit of oil that is left over from cooking the chicken.
Make sure to drain most of the oil first. Add in the orange sauce and bring it to a boil then immediately turn the heat off.
Carefully add in the chicken making sure to not splatter the sauce. Dinner is served when the chicken is fully coated in the sauce! Enjoy!
FAQs About Panda Express Orange Chicken
Is Panda Express Orange Chicken? spicy?
While Panda Express Orange Chicken? has a tangy flavor, it is not typically spicy. The dish leans more towards a balanced sweetness with hints of citrus rather than heat.
Can I make Panda Express Orange Chicken? with tofu instead of chicken?
A: Absolutely! If you prefer a vegetarian or vegan option, you can substitute tofu for the chicken. The crispy tofu will absorb the flavors of the orange sauce, providing a delightful alternative.
Does Panda Express Orange Chicken? contain gluten?
Yes, the traditional Panda Express Orange Chicken? the recipe contains gluten due to the use of soy sauce. However, you can explore gluten-free alternatives by using tamari or gluten-free soy sauce.
Can I freeze Panda Express Orange Chicken? for later?
While it is possible to freeze Panda Express Orange Chicken?, it may affect the texture of the dish. The crispy coating may become less crunchy after thawing and reheating. It is best enjoyed fresh for optimal taste and texture.
Are there any healthier alternatives to Panda Express Orange Chicken?
If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, you can try baking the chicken instead of frying it. This reduces the amount of oil used while still maintaining a flavorful dish. Additionally, you can use reduced-sodium soy sauce and natural sweeteners to cut down on sodium and sugar content.
Can I order Panda Express Orange Chicken? for catering events?
Yes, Panda Express offers catering services, and Panda Express Orange Chicken? is a popular choice for events. It provides a crowd-pleasing option that can be enjoyed by guests of all ages.
Panda Express Orange Chicken is a delightful dish that has won the hearts of many with its irresistible combination of flavors.
Whether enjoyed at the restaurant or homemade, the crispy chicken coated in the tangy orange sauce never fails to satisfy.
So, gather your ingredients, follow the recipe, and savor the deliciousness of Orange Chicken at home.