Vegan Orange Chick'n
Updated: Oct 26, 2020
Let's make some ORANGE CHICK'N like PANDA EXPRESS but VEGAN and BETTER!
I haven't eaten Panda Express in a loooong time, but I used to guzzle down Orange Chicken like nobody's business. This is WAY better to be sure!
I also realized that Orange Chick'n hasn't been featured in a sandwich, so I went ahead and whipped up TWO different sandwiches. A HOAGIE and a FRIED CHICK'N SANDWICH! It might actually be better in sandwich form, but you'll have to see for yourself!
If you want to make the above Sandwich, just use a bunch of the Gardein Chick'n Strips to form a patty, or use the Scallopini filets, as I do in a bunch of my other Fried Chick'n Sandwich recipes.
The white sauce I used on the sandwiches is just some Vegan Mayo and Rice Vinegar and it's super good! Could totally use it on some coleslaw too I bet!
Overall, this recipe is pretty simple, all you gotta do is fry up your Chick'n, make the sauce, and then give them a little bath in said sauce!
A few tips for Fried Chick'n:
If using Gardein Chick'n products, thaw them overnight in the fridge or on the counter top for about an hour. DO NOT microwave or you'll end up cooking them and they won't be pliable.
Use an electric Deep Fryer like this FryDaddy.
If not using an electric deep fryer, get a deep fry thermometer. You can use a different one if you fry in a pan, but for my money, the deep fry thermometer has been a big help. I like to fry at 375° F.
Use a wire rack after frying to prevent the chick'n from steaming itself and getting soggy. You can also keep the Fried Chick'n warm in the oven on a wire rack. Just set the oven to lowest setting possible. Mine goes down to 170° F as an example.
Don't use olive oil to fry. You need to use something with a high smoke point, I usually fry with peanut or vegetable oil.
For the vegan buttermilk, really let the plant-milk and vinegar sit for a good 5 -10 minutes. I have found that different plant-milks will thicken more or less. If it's not thick enough, add some more vinegar.
Shake off the excess flour and batter when you dredge.
Make sure you press the flour into the chick'n so it sticks!
You can freeze these for later, just Air Fry to reheat (I would do it at 380° in 5 - 6 minute increments and check until it's heated through). Or if using an oven, preheat to 400° F and let the Chick'n sit at room temperature while the oven heats up. Then cook on a wire rack for 10 - 15 minutes.
I'm using Gardein Scallopini filets in this recipe, but you could just as easily use my recipes for Tofu Fried Chick'n HERE or my recipe for Fried Seitan Chick'n HERE or even my recipe for Fried Oyster Mushrooms HERE.
Air Fryer Option
If you prefer less oil, you can also use the same technique for Air Frying with THIS RECIPE.
Additionally, you can use half the ingredients for the dry and wet batter and Air Fry this recipe too. All you need to do is line your Air Fryer with some parchment paper that you've poked holes with (the parchment paper keeps the batter from sticking to the air fryer). Then do a single dredge and place your chick'n in the air fryer. Make sure not to crowd the air fryer, you don't want any pieces touching. Next, spray the chick'n with some cooking spray, you want to make sure you don't see any dry flour. Then flip them and spray again.
Air Fry for about 6 minutes at 380° F, then flip and spray them again, and repeat the process until they are at your desired doneness!
One important note, DO NOT preheat your Air Fryer with the parchment paper. Otherwise the paper will fly into the coils and cause a fire! NOOOO!
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Makes 6-8 Servings
2 packs Gardein Chick'n Strips (thawed)*
1 cup plant milk
1 Tbsp Sriracha
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp all purpose seasoning
1 tsp Chinese five spice
Oil for frying
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp red chili flakes
1/2 tsp ginger powder
2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup agave
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp sriracha
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp hoisin sauce (optional)
1 Tbsp Chinese hot mustard (optional)
Few dashes of sesame oil
*You can use Tofu instead of the Gardein Strips. Just use Firm Tofu, freeze and thaw at least once (though twice is twice as nice!) and then press out all the liquid and tear off bite size chunks.
Thaw your Gardein Chick'n strips either overnight in the fridge, or on a wire rack on the counter top for about 30 minutes.
Once the Chick'n is thawed, heat up a pot of oil to 375 fahrenheit.
While the oil heats up, form your Chick'n strips into bite size pieces.
Prepare your dredging station. Combine the plant milk, sriracha and apple cider vinegar in one bowl, let it sit to form the buttermilk. Make sure it's thick enough to stick to the chick'n, if not, add more vinegar. Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and seasonings in another bowl.
Once oil is up to 375 degrees, dredge your Chick'n pieces first in the wet mixture, then dry, and then repeat to double dredge, shaking off any excess flour and batter. Place carefully in oil (making sure not to crowd the pot, I did 4-5 at a time) and let them fry until golden brown. Let them rest on a cooling rack.
In order to keep your Chick'n warm and crisp while you prepare the sauce, add them to the oven and lower the heat to whatever the lowest setting your oven can do. Mine was 170 and that was perfect!
Let's make the Orange Sauce. In a wide skillet, add about a tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add the red pepper flakes, ginger and garlic powder. Whisk and toast the spices for a minute.
Add the orange juice, lemon, agave, sriracha, soy sauce, and white and rice vinegar. Whisk to combine.
If using the hoisin sauce and hot mustard, add them now and whisk.
In a small bowl or ramekin, whisk the 1 Tbsp of water and 1 Tbsp of cornstarch to create a slurry. Add this to the pan and whisk to combine.
Cook over medium low until the sauce has reduced down to a thin syrup. You want something that will stick to the Chick'n but not be too goopy either.
Add a few dashes of sesame oil, then add your Chick'n pieces to the pan and thoroughly coat them in the sauce.
Serve over rice, or in a hoagie!