A bag of oranges laid on the kitchen floor. I juiced some and they were pretty sour; very juicy but tart! So I decided to make orange chicken the same way I would lemon chicken. The dish turned out really fantastic; the interplay of sticky sweet, tangy and spicy flavours coating the juicy pan-fried chicken made it a mouthwatering dish. In fact I think I now prefer this to lemon chicken, the depth of flavour from the orange juice and zest was simply delectable. Reduced with sugar, chopped garlic and bird’s eye chilies, it almost resembled chili jam. I coated the chicken with a salt and pepper cornflour mix before frying them as this creates a crispy outer layer which the orange sauce will adhere to nicely.
Sticky Orange Chicken
4 chicken thigh fillets ( approximately 650 g)
60 g cornflour
2 tsp salt and pepper mix (click here for the salt and pepper mix)
1 cup oil, for frying
Juice from 3 navel oranges
Grated zest from all 3 oranges
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 bird’s eye red chilies (chili padi), finely chopped
2 tbsp light soy sauce
4 tbsp raw sugar (add 1/2 tbsp more if you like it really sweet)
- Trim off the excess fat from the chicken.
- Add the salt and pepper mix to the cornflour; mix well. Heat the oil in a 9-inch pan/skillet until hot (180oC); coat each chicken thigh fillet well with the flour and shake off excess before adding to the hot oil.
- Reduce to medium heat and fry the first side for 7 – 8 minutes. Turn the chicken fillets and cook the next side until golden brown; this might take less time than the first side
- Transfer chicken to a clean chopping board; wait for them to cool slightly before cutting into chunks in thirds or fourths.
- Discard most of the oil from the pan (you may reserve this for future use) but leave around 2 tablespoons of the pan drippings ( oil + residue from frying the chicken); reheat this, add the chopped garlic and chili and fry until fragrant. Add in the orange juice, zest, light soy sauce and stir in the sugar; bring to the boil then reduce to medium heat and cook, continuously stirring until the sauce is thick and sticky.
- Add the chopped chicken to the pan and coat evenly with sauce.
- Serve (goes well with steamed rice)