I'm the director of culinary innovation for Panda Express, here's how we're going to make the original orange chicken at home start with fried chicken.
We feel like when you cut the thigh meat into about a one-inch cube, I kind of gives you the best texture out of every bite, and also retains the best moisture, so we wanted to use the dark meat to help to sort of keep that moisture in there, while the outside is crispy, the inside is nice and tender and juicy.
Using the wet batter to coat the chicken, it gives a little bit of aeration to the crust, and it also coats the chicken better, so the batter itself has a leavening agent, such as an egg, and we also use cornstarch plus AP flour to help to have some sort of a crust with the wheat, and then also a little bit of starch, so that there's a crunch Alpana.
Express is the originator of orange chicken, the story goes back to 87, chef Andy Cow was working with local chicken, he was testing couple different badges, people smelled it, so the customer was just automatic says I want that. Instead, founder and chairman Andrew saw the whole thing, he was like this might be it, we actually want to fry the chicken in badges at 350 degrees, it's roughly about 25 pieces at a time, so that way the pockets would get overcrowded, we want to fry at least six minutes.
One of the things that we'll also need to remind people is that the shade of the color that you fry in here by the time you take it out and rest, it's going to go one shade darker, so we always want to go a little bit lighter.
When people think of fast food, they think is processed with Chinese food, there is no way to cheat it, they always have to do it exactly the way that is, or else it doesn't come up with the riving salt, everything is very technical, that's one thing that we're really proud of.
I think orange juice definitely give the assimilate as needed, the vinegar has to be the potency in it, so you want it to the nose if you boil it earlier, the vinegar comes off then you don't get it, so that's why you can always smell the orange chicken when you go to the stores, because that vinegar really hits.
So we're looking for almost like maple syrup consistency when the chicken is nice, and when you drop it into the sauce, there's going to absorb, by the way, so it could be a little bit wetter, the sesame oil it gives extra Sheen, and also a toast that nuttiness to the dish.
One of the reasons why I think it becomes an iconic dish, there's a certain Italian about a taste of sweet and sour, think about ketchup post slaw barbecue sauce, when you think about a sweet and sour flavor combined with sort of something, very iconic as fried chicken, that really hits home really good.