Kids in the Kitchen: Orange Chicken

orange chickenIt’s been a while since we’ve had a Kids in the Kitchen post. The last time our kids were over, I was consumed with the making of stew, so all we could manage that night for dinner was frozen pizza. (Yes, frozen pizza does grace the Tasty Eats At Home kitchen from time to time…) This weekend, Kids in the Kitchen resumed with Brittany’s dish. She chose China – and wanted to make orange chicken with steamed rice. Orange chicken is actually one of my favorite take-out Chinese dishes, but according to Bee at Rasa Malaysia, it’s an actual, authentic Chinese dish of Hunan origin. I have made Bee’s recipe for orange chicken before, so I knew just how delicious this recipe was. However, this time around, I needed to convert the recipe to gluten-free.

I haven’t done a lot of breading and frying since I’ve gone gluten-free, so I haven’t had a ton of experience in substituting for the flour. I love fried food, in moderation, but honestly, it’s just not the healthiest choice for dinner. I chose to use a mixture of sorghum flour (one of my “go-to” gluten-free flours in baking lately) and masa harina. The crust on the chicken was beautifully crisp, yet delicate. Definitely considering using this batter recipe for other fried foods in the future! Now I’m dreaming of onion rings, fried shrimp…all of these wonderful things I shouldn’t be eating!

Anyway, back to the orange chicken. This is a delicious recipe. It’s not sticky and gooey like Chinese take-out restaurants. It’s flavorful, lightly spicy, and not loaded with sodium – my other complaint with take-out. Brittany definitely enjoyed it (and enjoyed making it!) We’ll definitely be making this again.


brittany zesting oranges

Brittany grating ginger for the orange sauce

Gluten-Free Orange Chicken, adapted from Rasa Malaysia

1/2 lb chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes

5 dried red chiles, soaked in warm water

2 t cooking oil

Oil for deep-frying

For the orange sauce:

1/4 c orange juice

3 T chicken broth

1 T gluten-free soy sauce

2 t Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

1/2 t sesame oil

1 t rice vinegar

5 t sugar

1/8 t ground white pepper

1 t orange zest

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 inch ginger, grated or minced

1 t corn starch

For the batter:

1/2 c water

1 oz sorghum flour

1 oz masa harina

1 oz corn starch

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 egg

1 t cooking oil

pinch of salt

Mix all orange sauce ingredients together and set aside.

Mix frying batter, and dip the chicken pieces into the batter. Heat up a pot/wok of cooking oil to about 350 degrees, enough to deep-fry the chicken. (I used my cast iron dutch oven and filled it about halfway with oil, although you could probably get by with less.) Drop the chicken pieces into the oil and deep fry until golden brown and crispy. Transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels.

In a wok, add 2 t cooking oil and turn on to medium heat. Drain the chiles, and add to the oil. Toss around until you can smell the spicy aroma, about a minute or two. Add the sauce mixture and bring to a bubble, stirring occasionally. Once the sauce starts to thicken, add the chicken, and stir around until warmed through and coated with sauce. Serve with steamed rice and a steamed vegetable, such as broccoli.

Serves 4.


  1. says

    I bet this would be great done with extra firm tofu. I am going to have to try it! Funny – we did a fake Chinese take out night the other week – vegetarian beef and broccoli. It’s fun.

    • tastyeatsathome says

      Tasty – I bet it would be great! And much faster, you could simply sear the tofu in the pan with a bit of oil, and then follow the same steps for the rest of the dish. I love making Chinese food – most stir-fries are fast and easy, once you have all your prep work done.

      Miranda, Angie, Abraham, Alison, and Janis – Thank you!

    • tastyeatsathome says

      Jenn – It’s definitely near the top of my list too!

      Rasa Malaysia – Thank you, glad I can help on the gluten-free side!

      Dad – But where’s the fun in boiled chicken? Fried is the best! :) (Okay, I know, I “boil” chicken for soup sometimes…but that’s another recipe for another time)

      Conor – It is impossible! But if you eat broccoli alongside it, it’s healthy, right? right?

      Divina, Jessie, Rochelle, Cheah – Thank you!

  2. says

    Any dish with orange or lemon is my favourite. Orange or lemon gives a very beautiful flavour to a meat dish. You have cooked such a delicious looking dish. I would love that with rice

  3. says

    My favorite for breading is nuts. I use ground nuts and usually add potato starch. I have used corn meal but I like the potato starch and nuts the best. I also, don’t fry much of it. Rather, I bake it, in the oven. I know that it does not taste as good as fried but it is a lot healthier.

    Sometimes, I fry on high temp, for two minutes till sides are browned and then finish cooking in the oven.

    Experimenting will eventually get us where we want to go.

  4. says

    Making “take out at home” usually does turn out a lot better than the restaurant…
    Looks like Brittany did a fantastic job with this one. —you must have a lot of fun together in the kitchen.
    Looking forward to your next “Kids in the Kitchen” post!

  5. says

    What a great recipe for a family-friendly meal. And at least with frying, as long as the oil stays at temperature, the food doesn’t get totally saturated. Definitely appreciate all the gluten-free adaptations; I have a lot of friends who have allergies, so I forward your recipes to them frequently!

  6. says

    This looks great, I think it’s wonderful how your children help you cook in the kitchen. Very reminiscent on what I use to do with my mother and how that conjured up my passion for food. :) Great post !

    • tastyeatsathome says

      Chaya – Thank you so much for this idea, that “breading” sounds great, especially for baking! I can imagine a cheese-stuffed chicken breast, rolled in this “breading”, baked to perfection. Yum!

      Debi, Chickenless Chick, Reeni, Wasabi Prime, Lauren, and Simply Life – Thank you all so much!

  7. says

    At first glance (at the list of ingredients), I thought it looked way too complicated and time consuming. But on closer inspection, this looks totally do-able, especially if I can round up some help like you have here with Brittany. When I read this post, my thoughts drifted back to the old days and a wonderful, high end Asian restaurant that I occasionally visited. They had the best orange chicken. Maybe those days really aren’t over! Yippee — thanks for this recipe and the inspiration. Love it!

  8. says

    Yummmm. Must try when Son is home. He and I are fans of such dishes. (Mr. GFE not so much.) Stephanie O’Dea of A Year of Slow Cooking has an orange chicken crockpot recipe, too. I just looked at your photo again. Wish I had some for breakfast!


  9. says

    This has been my family all time favourite! Yours look absolutely divine! The best thing was your kids are there to help & have fun together. Cheers.

  10. Ilada Hensley says

    There are gluten-free “coating” flours readily available at any oriental market/stores. They are a rice/tapioca flour/starch mix which leave an incredible coating that hugs any sauces or even just simple broths that are added. My mother has used this combo all my life & now you will see things packaged to say gluten-free on them. These flours also make some of the most incredible breads, even sweet breads, that can be baked or steamed. We have a recipe using mussles that are coated with this flour blend & then fried… add some oyster sauce or even a gluten-free teriyaki sauce (you can also use gf liquid amino) & top on a bed of crispy or just-softened bean sprouts & scallions. It’s wonderful & I never seem to have any left over, even if I triple the recipe. My mother always had a sense of knowing that what was causing us problems physically had to do with what we were eating. She totally had this way of “cleansing” us by avoiding certain foods. My mother is thai/chinese & looking through a (true) thai cook book, I only found two recipes that called for regular flour. And surprisingly, those two dishes were never our favorites in our household growing up. Just thought I’d share this bit of information with those of you who chose or have to go gluten-free. I’v been gf for about 4 months now & I tell you, my body responds better, my skin is better & mental clarity is a bonus. I’m back in school for nursing & I can retain much more information than ever which is a must for all the classes I need to take. My family is super supportive & that’s also a great plus. Oh… and I can’t wait to try this recipe!!!

    • tastyeatsathome says

      Diana, atxglutenfree, glutenfreeforgood, Iris, Linda, gfe, kristy, and Jan – Thank you all!

      Ilada – This is very valuable information! Thank you so much for sharing!

  11. says

    I love Orange chicken, I just wish I could figure out how to make this without adding any sugar. I don’t eat sugar and my son has gluten, and dairy allergies.

    • tastyeatsathome says

      Corliss, If you want to make this without sugar, you can always substitute any sugar substitute you are comfortable with. Agave nectar is one of my favorites. Since it’s not like baking, the finished product really won’t be affected much. Thanks for visiting!


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