Panda Express has a dish called mandarin chicken, which consists of chunks of dark meat chicken in a sweet and salty brown sauce. It’s pretty tasty. It inspired me to make an at-home, easy, healthier version of mandarin chicken. I’m really happy with what I came up with.
I went with lean chicken breast instead of dark meat chicken to lighten it up a bit. I used orange juice and brown sugar for sweetness, and soy sauce for that salty flavor.
The whole thing comes together pretty quickly. Since the chicken is chopped up into chunks, it doesn’t take very long to cook.
I served mine with rice and broccoli. I also added sliced green onions as a topping. Sesame seeds would also be nice a nice optional topping.
Corn starch is used as a thickener for the sweet, yummy sauce. This is pretty common in Chinese cooking. But, it can make leftovers a bit of a challenge. Once the sauce is cooled, the cornstarch makes the sauce turn into a gel. Leftovers will still taste great, but the consistency won’t be quite as good as when the mandarin chicken is first made. That’s just something to keep in mind when you’re deciding how much of this dish you want to make.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized chunks
- 1 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. water
- 1 tbsp. corn starch
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
- optional: sliced green onions, sesame seeds
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil and the chicken. Stir the chicken to coat it in the oil. Let the chunks of chicken cook until they start to brown on a couple of sides, stirring occasionally (about 5-7 minutes).
- In the meantime, add the orange juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, water, corn starch, and black pepper in a bowl. Stir or whisk until well combined and corn starch is dissolved.
- Pour the sauce over the browned chicken and stir to coat. Once sauce has come to a bubble, reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the chicken and sauce simmer for 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
- Serve hot. Sprinkle with optional green onions and/or sesame seeds.