Growing up, my brother and I would beg my parents at least once a week to allow us to order Chinese takeout. My mum, a lover of a good home-cooked meal, always gave us some pushback, but would ultimately concede. Our young palates were obsessed with the addictive sweet and salty balance that only orange chicken and soft noodles could provide.
Our now-adult taste buds have still not outgrown this obsession and probably never will. Over quarantine, when my brother and I could not go out and get the meal we so desperately craved, I began experimenting in the kitchen. With such a versatile array of flavors, Chinese cuisine is truly an art form, open for reinvention time and time again. Today, I present to you my take on crispy orange chicken served over fresh and flavorful stir-fry noodles. Whether you are planning on having a night in with friends or family, or are just dining by yourself, this dish is worth the extra effort.
Crispy Orange Chicken and Garlic Vegetable Noodles
(Yields servings for 4 people)
For the chicken/breading:
2 lbs of chicken breast tenderloins
½ cup flour
½ cup cornstarch
Cracked black pepper
4 eggs (whisked)
Canola oil for frying
For the chicken’s sauce:
4 cloves of minced garlic
3 cups of fresh-squeezed orange juice
1½ cups of sugar
1 or 2 zested oranges
4 tablespoons ponzu
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of cornstarch (will combine with water)
For the garnish:
Chopped green onions
For the noodles: (*for picky eaters, simply serve chicken over sticky white rice)
14 oz of stir fry rice noodles (Thai Kitchen brand is my favorite)
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 white onion
3 cloves minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons of mirin
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 can organic baby corn
1 bunch bok choy
1 cup shredded carrots
(*add jalapeno for some heat)
For the garnish:
Chopped green onions
RECIPE: Orange Chicken
- Start out by the dicing chicken tenderloins into bite-sized pieces. Set aside in a bowl in the fridge.
- Place a large pan on medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil and minced garlic pieces.
- Once they start to brown, add the orange juice, sugar, orange zest, ponzu, soy sauce, sesame oil, and vinegar. Let this simmer for around 2-3 minutes.
- While this is simmering, create a slurry with the cornstarch. For every tablespoon of cornstarch, combine with 2 tablespoons of water. Stir together until a paste is formed, then add this into the mixture on the stove.
- Cook for 10-12 minutes and make sure you are stirring as you go. The sauce will thicken, and then you can turn off the heat and set aside.
- Heat another deep pan with 3 inches of canola oil, allowing it to reach 350 degrees before frying.
- While the oil heats, combine cornstarch and flour in one flat baking sheet and whisk eggs together in a deep bowl.
- Then remove your pre-cut chicken piece from the fridge and begin dredging them, moving them from the egg to the flour and directly into the fryer. They need about 3 minutes to cook all the way through and turn a golden color.
- Prepare a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil off the chicken.
- Make sure to not overcrowd the fryer and instead do the frying in batches. Salt the chicken lightly immediately after frying, pat dry, and then stir into your reserved perfect orange sauce.
- Garnish with slices of ripe oranges and chopped green onion to add a sophisticated touch.
RECIPE: Garlic Vegetable Noodles
- Start out by dicing up peppers, onions, and garlic and add to a pan on medium heat with two tablespoons of olive oil. Once translucent, add in baby corn and shredded carrots.
- Boil and salt a pot of water for your noodles and cook them through (This step will go quickly).
- As the noodles cook, whisk together the soy sauce, mirin, and white wine vinegar and add to the vegetables making sure to coat them fully.
- Once the noodles are al dente, drain them and add them directly to the stir fry
- Continue to toss the noodles and vegetables until they are fully coated. If you need more sauce, feel free to adjust the soy sauce additions to your liking.
- Garnish with chopped green onions and bean sprouts for a pop of freshness and color.
Photos Courtesy of Alexandra Morin / Heights Staff