This delicious Panda Express Orange Chicken is the perfect combination of wok-fried chicken thighs coated in a sweet and tangy orange sauce! The whole family loves this better-than-takeout version of the popular original orange chicken that I can make at home any time I want!
1lbchicken thighs(boneless, skinless cubed into chunks)
1Tbspoil(peanut or vegetable - divided into two ½ Tbsp portions - plus oil needed for frying)
¼cupcorn starch(plus ½ Tbsp for 2nd portion)
¼tspred pepper flakes
⅛cupwater(plus 1 ½ Tbsp for 2nd portion)
¼cuplight brown sugar
¼cupdistilled white vinegar
zest from one large orange
2green onions(optional garnish - green portion only, chopped)
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To dissolve the cornstarch, mix with the 1st portion of water and stir to dissolve. Set aside.
Make your dredging station for coating the cut chicken pieces: in a medium bowl, whisk to combine egg and 1st portion of oil with salt & pepper. In another medium bowl, combine 2nd portion of cornstarch with flour and mix well.
Heat your fryer, frying pan or wok to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Dredge your chicken pieces by first dipping them in the egg mixture and then moving to the flour and cornstarch mixture and coating them by rolling them through the dry mixture. Transfer to heated oil and cook for 3-4 minutes or until golden and crispy. Remove from oil and place on a wire cooling rack setting in a baking sheet to allow the chicken pieces to drain excess oil.
To make the orange sauce combine soy sauce, the second portion of water, sesame oil, sugar, brown sugar, orange juice, white vinegar, and the orange zest.
Preheat a large skillet to medium high heat and add oil, ginger and garlic. Cook for a few seconds before adding red pepper flakes and cut green onions. Cook for about 20-30 seconds then add the orange sauce. Bring to a rolling boil and add the cornstarch mixture (stir before adding). Continue to stir as it will only take a few seconds to start thickening.
Turn off heat and add the fried chicken pieces, stirring them in to coat thoroughly with the sauce.