Panda Express Orange-Flavored Chicken Reduced-Fat
By Todd Wilbur
Andrew J. C. Cherng lived in China, Taiwan, and Japan before he came to the United States to study mathematics at Baker University. After graduation in 1973, Andrew used his extensive education and business savvy to open an Asian restaurant in Pasadena with his father; Master Chef Ming Tsai Cherng. Southern Californians went crazy for Andrew's Panda Inn and its cutting-edge menu that blended the styles of Szechwan and Mandarin cooking.
Today the chain—now called Panda Express—includes more than 320 units in thirty-two states and is famous for the addictive fried chicken dish with the tangy orange sauce. We can re-create this dish using a baking technique to avoid the fat that's unavoidable when frying.
Serving size–1 sliced chicken breast
Calories per serving–400 (Original–580)
Fat per serving–12g (Original–30g)
Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.
This recipe is available in
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon minced water chestnuts
- 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 rounded teaspoon chopped green onion
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 5 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspooons arrowroot
- 4 skinless chicken breast fillets
- 1/2 cup ice water
- 1/4 cup egg substitute
- 1 cup self-rising flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Vegetable cooking spray
- Do This
1. Combine all of the sauce ingredients—except the cornstarch and arrowroot—in a small saucepan over high heat. Stir often while bringing mixture to a boil. When the sauce reaches a boil, remove it from heat and allow it to cool a bit, uncovered.
2. Slice the chicken breasts into bite size chunks. Remove exactly 1 cup of the marinade from the pan and pour it over the chicken in a large resealable plastic bag or other container that allows the chicken to be completely covered with the marinade. The chicken should marinate for at least a couple hours. Cover the remaining sauce and leave it to cool until the chicken is ready.
3. When the chicken has marinated, preheat your oven to 475 degrees F.
4. Combine the cornstarch with arrowroot in a small bowl, then add 3 tablespoons of water. Stir until the cornstarch and arrowroot have dissolved. Pour this mixture into the sauce, and set the pan over high heat. When the sauce begins to bubble and thicken, cover and remove it from heat.
5. Beat the ice water and egg together in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl, combine the flour and salt.
6. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with a generous coating of oil cooking spray.
7. First dip each piece of chicken into the four, then into the egg mixture, and finally back into the flour. Arrange the coated chicken pieces on the baking sheet. When all of the chicken is positioned on the baking sheet, spray a coating of the oil cooking spray over the top of the chicken.
8. Bake the chicken for 4 to 6 minutes or until it begins to brown on top. Turn the oven up to high broil for 2 to 3 minutes or until the chicken has browned and has a crispy coating.
9. As the chicken cooks, reheat the sauce left covered on the stove. Stir it occasionally.
10. Pour the chicken into a large serving dish. Cover it with the thickened sauce. Stir gently until all of the pieces are well coated.
I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker
For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.