This one is also from Ree Drummond’s Dinnertime cookbook and I love it! Comes out pretty close to what you get from Panda Express, but better in my opinion. It does take quite a bit of time, so I prepared the chicken and cut it all up the night before to speed up the process a bit.
The night before, trim the fat off a it 1 1/2 lbs of chicken thighs and cut to bite size pieces.
When you are ready to start cooking, rinse the rice and get it ready to cook, but no need to start it yet. While that is rinsing, whisk together 4 egg whites and 2 tbsp cornstarch together till slightly frothy. Add the chicken to the mixture and mix so each piece is coated then set aside for at least 5 minutes.
Start the sauce by adding 1/2 C orange juice, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1/4 tsp sesame oil, a dash of salt, and a pinch of red pepper flakes (if you like a lot of sauce, make a double batch, but a single batch coats it well). Grate in about 2″ of peeled fresh ginger and 1 clove of garlic. Add the zest of 1 orange (I only did about half because we are not big fans of zest). Bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium high heat. Whisk together 1 tbsp cornstarch and 1/4 C water to make a slurry, then pour it into the sauce. Cook the sauce another minute or so till it thickens, then turn off the heat and set aside. Add a little water if it gets too thick, but I didn’t need to.
Start the rice now.
Heat about 2″ of peanut oil in a skillet to about 375-400 degrees. In small batches, drop in the chicken pieces using tongs and cook for about 2-2 1/2 minutes or till lightly golden brown and cooked through moving them around a bit so they cook evenly. Using a slotted spatula or something like it, remove them to a paper towel to drain. Repeat with the rest of the chicken pieces. Once done, do it again in small batches but only for 1 minute or so to help solidify the crispy outside. Once done, pour the chicken pieces into the sauce and toss around to coat all the pieces.
Top with sliced green onions and orange zest of you like it (we skipped the zest here). Serve over rice or with fried rice if you prefer. Enjoy!