This orange chicken is as good as or maybe better than Panda Express.
2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about a lb., but you could do more, there's lots of sauce.)
1/4 c. cornstarch
salt and pepper
1 c. orange juice
1 c. water
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
3 strips orange zest--1" wide by 2" tall (or the equivalent in small ones that you're likely to get.)
1/2 c. lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
4 whole dried red chilies, broken in half (I used a few shakes of red pepper flakes.)
2 Tbsp cornstarch, for the slurry
2 Tbsp. water, for the slurry
In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat about an inch of vegetable or canola oil to about 375F. Heat the oven to 250F.
In a large zip top bag combine the cornstarch, salt and pepper. Add the chicken chunks and seal the bag. Toss to coat completely. (As an alternate method, I salted and peppered the chicken, and tossed it in a bowl with the cornstarch.)
Add the coated chicken to the hot oil in two or three batches. Cook until lightly golden and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160F. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Hold the chicken in the oven. (You could skip the oven and just warm up the chicken in the sauce right before you serve it, or make the sauce first, then the chicken and put it in warm.)
In a sauce pan, combine the water, orange, lime and lemon juices, vinegar, orange zest, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and dry chilies. Stir to combine. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the sauce reduce by 1/3.
In a small bowl, prepare the slurry by combining the cornstarch and water until smooth. Pour the mixture into the sauce and whisk until the sauce thickens. Take the sauce off the heat. Take out the orange zest. Stir in the chicken pieces.
I was thinking that you could also just saute the chicken and skip the frying. Also, don't leave out the orange zest. I'm pretty sure that's the difference between just okay orange chicken and really great orange chicken.
The recipe also has instructions for fried rice, but I haven't tried it yet. Some people in my house refuse to eat any rice that isn't white and covered in soy sauce. Let me know if you want me to post it.