Adam Liaw's American-Chinese orange chicken

Adam Liaw
American-Chinese orange chicken.
American-Chinese orange chicken. Photo: William Meppem

In the US, orange chicken is a Chinese restaurant staple a little like our lemon chicken in which a sweet-sour sauce coats pieces of fried chicken in batter.


1 whole egg, plus 2 egg whites

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 tbsp self-raising flour

2-3 chicken breasts, cut into 2cm cubes

3 cups vegetable oil, for frying

2 thin spring onions, finely sliced

steamed rice, to serve

For the orange sauce

¾ cup unsweetened orange juice

1 tbsp grated ginger, juice only (see tip)

1 bird's-eye chilli, finely sliced

2 tbsp soy sauce

1½ tbsp caster sugar

1 tbsp white vinegar

½ tsp sesame oil

1 tsp cornflour


Whisk the eggs very well until lightly aerated and then whisk in both flours to create a batter. Add the chicken pieces to the batter. In a small bowl, combine all the orange sauce ingredients except the cornflour. 

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok to 180°C. Remove the chicken from the batter and fry in batches in the oil for about 2 minutes a batch until the chicken is golden brown. Drain the chicken well. 

Pour the oil out of the wok, leaving just 2 tablespoons in the base. Add the orange sauce and simmer for a few minutes until slightly thickened. Mix the cornflour with 2 tablespoons of water and add slowly to the sauce until it becomes thick enough to coat the chicken. Return the chicken to the wok with the sauce, add the spring onions and stir to coat the chicken. Serve with steamed rice. 

Adam's tip The flavour of ginger – found almost entirely in its juice rather than the fibrous pulp – goes fantastically with orange. To extract the juice from ginger, grate it and squeeze either with your fingers or between two spoons.