After a long quest for a great orange chicken recipe, I have finally found success! Here is my solution:
Take a trip to Costco and buy a box of Orange Chicken from the freezer section. Now wait! Don't laugh yet - I'm not done. I used just the chicken from this box and I made my own sauce from scratch. This chicken is wonderful - crispy, easy to cook, and no "questionables." The sauce recipe is a supposed "clone" from Panda Express. We loved it!
Here is the recipe, including the directions for cooking the frozen chicken.
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 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp minced water chestnuts
1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1 rounded tsp chopped green onion
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
7 1/2 tsp cornstarch
3 tsp arrowroot**
4 1/2 Tablespoons water
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine all of the sauce ingredients, except the cornstarch, arrowroot and 4 1/2 Tbsp water. Stir often while bringing mixture to a boil. When sauce reaches a boil, remove it from heat.
In a small bowl, combine cornstarch with arrowroot. Add 4 1/2 Tablespoons of cool water. Stir until cornstarch and arrowroot have dissolved. Pour this mixture into the sauce and set the pan over high heat. When sauce begins to bubble and thicken, cover and remove it from heat.
Cook chicken according to directions on package:
Heat 1/4 cup oil in a non-stick skillet on med-high heat.
Remove chicken from bag. Place frozen chicken in a skillet and cook for 15-20 minutes. Turn chicken continuously to heat evenly until crispy and golden in color.
Pour sauce over chicken and bring to a simmer. Serve over rice.
*This makes a lot of sauce! If you like a lot of sauce for your rice (like us) then make the whole sauce recipe and cook with 1 bag of chicken (from box). If you are serving to more people, you can use two bags of chicken with this one sauce recipe.
**Arrowroot is similar to cornstarch, but better for you and thickens at a lower temperature than cornstarch. Here's a link with some interesting information about arrowroot. I found mine in the spice section of my regular grocery store. If are unable to find any arrowroot, I'm sure you could substitute cornstarch.