Did today’s post title throw you off? I know, it’s kind of strange to put pantry clean out and orange chicken in the title together, but let me explain. If you’ve spent any time on Pinterest, you’ve probably seen countless pins on budget living, frugal menu planning, and other various ways to save money. After seeing so many inspiring blogs on these topics, I decided to challenge myself to save some money this month by using up the “old food” in our pantry. You know, all that stuff that’s gathering dust and keeps getting pushed further back on your shelves. So a hunting I went and this is one of the first items I found…this bottle of Smucker’s Simply Fruit Orange Marmalade.
That’s a good find, right? The first thing that came to mind was orange chicken. My kids love orange chicken, IF it’s from Panda Express. I’ve tried countless orange chicken recipes over the years and all have failed me. They were either too heavy in the vinegar, not enough flavor, or just plan awful. So, when I found this easy orange chicken recipe on Balancing Beauty & Bedlam, I was skeptical. I had mentally prepped myself for another “not a keeper” meal.
I was so wrong! Folks, stop your orange chicken recipe search right here. I did make a few minor changes, but I kept pretty close to the original recipe.
When I eat chicken with any type of sauce on it, I like the coating to be crunchy. So, the first change I made was to dip the raw chicken pieces into an egg wash and then into equal parts cornstarch and flour mix before frying. This gives the chicken a nice thick and extra crispy coating. If you don’t like a thicker coating, just use the egg wash and plain flour. Otherwise, follow the original recipe instructions and you’ll get a moist soft crusted chicken.
Super crispy chicken before orange sauce coating.
The second change I made was to skip the pepper flakes and substitute Gochujang paste. I often use this paste if I want a subtle hint of heat. Plus, I don’t have to worry about one of the kids burning their delicate tongues on a pepper flake.
Below is this what the chicken looks like after it is lightly tossed in orange sauce.
Served on a hand painted plate, courtesy of my oldest daughter.
Easy Orange Chicken:
Adapted from Beauty & Bedlam Blog
- 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (I used one large bag of chicken thighs)
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup flour
- 3/4 cup cornstarch
- Choice of oil
- 3/4 cup orange marmalade or jam
- 1-2 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar (I usesd rice wine vinegar)
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1-2 teaspoon ground ginger (fresh is best, but ground ginger works as well)
- 1-2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or chili paste (I usesd one tsp. of Gochujang to keep it mild for the kids)
Chicken Strips Preparation
- Cut chicken breast/thighs into 1 inch strips.
- Dredge chicken in egg and then into flour/cornstarch mixture.
- Heat (medium-high) just enough oil to fry your chicken in a large skillet.
- Remove chicken from pan and drain on paper towels.
Orange Chicken Sauce Instructions
- Heat up orange marmalade, garlic, soy sauce, water, ginger, chili paste or red pepper flakes, and vinegar in a large pan.
- Cook on medium – high heat until sauce begins to thicken slightly. Reduce heat. Initially, it will be very watery and seem as if it won’t thicken, but it will. If your sauce isn’t tightening up, go ahead and add a little bit of cornstarch/water mix. I had to use a mix of 2 tsp. cornstarch/3 T. water to thicken the sauce and get it to stick or form a glaze on the spoon. **If your sauce gets too thick, add a bit more water. **
- Once the sauce has thickened, you can add all your fried chicken into the sauce pan and toss. If you don’t like a lot of sauce, place half of your chicken into a large bowl with just enough sauce to lightly coat your chicken pieces. **I prefer to lightly coat, since it’s easier to add more sauce if needed**
Number of servings (yield): 6