Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Orange chicken

Made orange chicken tonight, best crust ever so far. This recipe calls for 75:25 ratio cornstarch-to-flour. This worked really well, I think it maybe was just a tad too thin. However, I have to say that parts of it fried up exactly like restaurant-style chinese fried chicken: that kind of crispy, almost glassy transparent yet toasty thickness with a good crunch. More than the batter, the key I think is the double-fry technique: blanch at low temp, cool, then re-fry at high temp.

Next time I recommend:
  1. Try cornstarch only; cornstarch lends crunch, flour lends chew.
  2. Try using a bottle of Blue Moon Amber Ale for the batter: should make it more crispy, and Blue Moon naturally pairs well with orange, as any respectable bartender will tell you. Or, seltzer water should help enhance crispness.
  3. Make sure the liquid that's added to the batter is cold! May even consider refrigerating the batter.
  4. Slightly thicker batter. The recipe below has been adjusted to reflect this already.


4 chicken thighs, de-boned, skin off and cleaned of excess fat, cut into 1" chunks
3 thick scallions, cut into 1" rings
At least 4 c. vegetable oil, for frying

  1. In a plastic bowl, combine chicken pieces and marinade. Stir to combine, and let sit 1-2 hours.
  2. Drain chicken in colander, reserving 1/3 cup of marinade. Pat chicken dry with towels.
  3. Make sauce (without slurry) and set aside.
  4. Combine batter ingredients and set aside.
  5. In a large pot, heat oil to 350 degrees (use a fry thermometer!).
  6. Working in 4 batches, dip 1/4 of chicken in batter, shake off excess, and add pieces quickly but one at a time (so they don't stick together), fry for 1 min, turn, fry for 1 more minute (2 min total). Use spider or slotted spoon to remove to paper-towel-lined plate or sheet pan to drain and cool.
  7. Repeat for remaining 3 batches. Make sure oil temp stays around 350 degrees. Don't stack cooked chicken on top of each other, it needs to be spread out to cool.
  8. Reheat oil to 375-380F.
  9. Starting with coolest pieces (1st batch that has cooled), work in batches to refry the chicken for 1.5-2 minutes. Return the oil to temperature before adding next batch. Drain on separate paper-towel-lined sheet pan.
  10. When last batch is finished, heat sauce to boiling, whisk in slurry, bring to boil.
  11. Pour over chicken, toss chicken (like you would for chicken wings), then serve immediately.


1/4 c mirin
2-3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 c vegetable oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 pinch chili flakes


(3/4 c cornstarch + 1/4 cup all purpose flour) OR (1 c cornstarch)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup COLD liquid (cold water, cold beer (see intro note), or cold seltzer water...)
1-2 tbsp water (extra)

Whisk dry ingredients together. Whisk in 1/2 cup liquid ingredients except extra water together. When combined, batter should coat a piece a chicken so you can't see the raw meat when you dip and shake off the excess batter. I think perfect crust would be at just the moment when it ceases being transparent; too thick and then it's not good either. Whisk in extra water only if the batter is too thick (it may be).


1 c chicken stock
1/4 c ketchup
1/4 c white sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 c chicken marinade, reserved
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sesame oil
1 pinch chile flakes
Juice of 1 orange
4-5" x 1" strip of orange peel, chopped into 1/2" pieces
Corn starch slurry: 1 tbsp corn starch, dissolved in 2 tbsp water

Combine all ingredients except slurry, bring to a boil in a sauce pan, reduce heat to low. When chicken is ready, bring back up to a boil, whisk in slurry all at once, return to a boil and boil for 1 minute till you get sugary, foamy bubbles. Pour immediately over chicken, toss and serve.

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