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Orange Chicken Family Style

by Shirley

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orange chicken family style

Orange chicken family-style is healthily delicious. It uses very little oil to pan fry the marinated chicken first to create juicy & crispy chicken bites. Bell pepper and onion not only add additional flavor and color but also nutrients. Serve with freshly steamed white rice or brown rice for a perfect rice bowl dinner.

Keep reading to learn all the tips and tricks to make this at home perfectly every time!

What you need to make family-style orange chicken

orange chicken ingredients

Chicken – since we prefer neat-shaped mini chicken chunks, chicken breast makes it easier to accomplish that goal. However, chicken thigh meat will work great as the chicken thigh is tender and has more flavor.

For marinating the chicken – an egg, Himalayan pink salt and arrowroot flour. Arrowroot flour becomes my go-to starch since I jump-started a healthier living and cooking journey in 2015. Add it to the marinated chicken right before you are ready to cook.

For the pan-frying chickenavocado oil and marinated chicken. Avocado oil is healthy & nutritious cooking oil. It also has a high smoking point, which makes it ideal for pan-frying when the cooking temperature becomes rather high.

For the orange chicken sauceaged soy sauce, light soy sauce, Zhenjiang vinegar, Shaoxing wine, dried Mandarin orange peel powder, organic raw sugar, arrowroot flour, and a quarter cup of orange juice or water.

Mandarin orange peel has a lasting sweet, refreshingly pleasant aroma, which plays an essential role in shaking up the famous orange flavor.

mandarin orange

My family loves sweet & juicy mandarin oranges. I usually save some peels and dry them up for making an orange chicken dish later. Dried mandarin peel also makes great tea.

dried mandarin orange peel

You will need 1 dried mandarin orange peel for about 1.5 lb chicken.

The pith is the spongy white substance that’s between the peel and the fruit in oranges. It has a bitter taste. Therefore, if it is possible, I recommend you remove orange pith as much as you can.

I use a spice grinder to grind the mandarin orange peel into a fine powder before I add it to the sauce. A spice grinder is such a handy tool for home cooking. It helps grind any spices into a fine powder, which not only helps the food absorb the flavor better. It also helps reduces the volume needed for cooking and avoids us from biting on sizeable pieces of spices during meals.

Add a quarter cup of orange juice also helps enhance the orange flavor. I use orange juice when I either have orange juice or orange handy for freshly squeezed orange juice. If I have neither, then water.

For Stir-Fry – You will need green onions, ginger, and garlic as spices. They are the three essential healthy Chinese cooking. I usually like to add one bell pepper, either green or red, and one onion.

Tips & Tricks to make perfect orange chicken

family style orange chicken

1. Prep chicken before cooking

Cut chicken into mini bite-size chunks and marinate with salt and one egg. Egg serves as the “glue” for coating chicken with arrowroot flour later. Let it sit for about 10 minutes while preparing bell pepper and red onion.

marinating chicken

Right before you are ready to pan-fry the chicken, coat marinated chicken with arrowroot flour generously. You shall see traces of arrowroot flour left in the bowl. This is the secret for crispy chicken.

add arrowroot flour to marinated chicken

2. Pan-fry marinated chicken in a quality hard-anodized frying pan

I am such a big fan of this hard-anodized fry pan. It took me a while to find the quality one. They are essential cookware for making pancakes, French Crepes, hash browns, braised fish, and any pan-frying cooking.

They can take heat incredibly well so that food doesn’t get burned. This is especially important for pan-frying, as the cooking temperature can heat pretty quickly as the cooking goes on.

pan fried chicken

3. Let the pan-fried chicken chunks cool down a little before stir-fry

Remove the pan-fried chicken chunks from the frying pan using a slotted turner. The slotted turner helps drain extra oil. The 1/3 cup of avocado oil used for 1.5 lb chicken is just about right, there might be one tablespoon of oil left in the frying pan.

pan-fried chicken for orange chicken

Use 1 teaspoon for stir-fry and save the rest in a small glass jar for future cooking.

4. Stir-fry in a wok makes it easier

Stir-fry in the wok makes it easier to stir-fry the spices and then turn the chicken with vegetables. After pouring in sauce, it also helps fold the sauce with chicken.

Do you like “Better-Than-Takeouts”? Make sure you these too.

family style orange chicken

Orange Chicken Family Style Recipe

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Family style orange chicken brings you this well-liked popular Chinese take-out in a healthy way.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb chicken breast, about 1 chicken breast

For Marinating the Chicken:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground white pepper
  • 6 tbsp arrowroot flour

For the sauce:

  • 1 dried mandarin orange peel
  • 4.5 tbsp Zhenjiang Vinegar
  • 1.5 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 3 tbsp aged soy sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp organic raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup of orange juice or water
  • 1/2 tbsp arrowroot flour

For Pan-frying the chicken

  • 1/3 cup avocado oil

For the Stir-Fry:

  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 10 thin slices of ginger
  • 2 stalk of green onion
  • 1 red or green bell pepper
  • 1 medium-sized red onion

Instructions

Marinating the Chicken:

  1. Cut chicken into small cubes
  2. Add the egg, salt, and white pepper, mix well, and set aside.

marinating chicken

Prep Red Bell Pepper and Red Onion:

  1. Wash red bell pepper, cut the end off, remove the seeds, and then cut vertically about 1-inch apart, and then cut horizontally into approximately 1-inch X 1-inch squares.
  2. Peel the red onion outer layers and trim both ends. Cut vertically 4 times to evenly divide the red onion into 8 sections. Then cut horizontally 2 times to evenly divide into 3 sections. Separate each section into an individual layer.

red onion and bell pepper chunks for orange chicken

Making the Sauce:

  1. Use a spice grinder to grind the dried Mandarin orange peel into a fine powder and add into a small bowl
  2. Add aged soy sauce, light soy sauce, Zhenjiang vinegar, Shaoxing wine, sugar, arrowroot flour, and water into the bowl, mix well using a small whisk or chopsticks and set aside.

Pan-Frying the Chicken:

  1. Turn the heat to medium-high, heat a 12-inch hard-anodized fry-pan for 2 minutes
  2. Add the 6 tbsp arrowroot flour into the marinated chicken, mix well

add arrowroot flour to marinated chicken

  1. Add the chicken into the pan, spread the chicken in the pan, cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Use a wooden turner or chopsticks to turn the chicken and cook for another 2 minutes. Repeat this another 4 times.
  3. After 12 minutes of cooking, the chicken should be fully cooked and slightly caramelized. The chicken should also start to form a crispy surface.
  4. Turn off the heat, remove the chicken from the pan using a slotted turner.

pan fried chicken

  1. Store the extra oil left in the pan in glassware for future use and only leave about 1 tsp for the stir-fry.

Stir-Fry:

  1. Turn the heat to medium-high, heat the wok for 2 minutes
  2. transfer the oil left in the hard anodized fry-pan, add green onion, ginger, garlic, stir-fry for 30 seconds
  3. Add the red onion and red pepper, stir-fry for 30 seconds
  4. Add chicken into the pan. Quickly re-mix the sauce as arrowroot flour may settle to the bottom, and pour a thin layer in a circular motion evenly into the wok.
  5. Use a slotted turner to fold the chicken and vegetable continuously for about 30 seconds. The sauce will be thickening during the process.
  6. All done, turn off the heat. Serve with freshly made white rice.

family style orange chicken

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 servings Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 386Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 729mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 3gSugar: 11gProtein: 34g

Nutrition calculation is provided by Nutritionix to the best knowledge per ingredients description and isn't always accurate.

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