If you’ve been following me for a while you know I love a good flavor fusion. By far, my favorite food cultures to intertwine are Cajun and Asian, as they compliment each other very well in spice, sweetness, and umami flavors.
I went to the grocery store last week with no list, no plan, just vibes. While usually a bad idea, especially when hungry, I got the intense craving for some Chinese takeout-style orange chicken. Orange chicken is nostalgic for me; growing up when mama didn’t feel like cooking, she’d oftentimes pull out the Chinese takeout menu from the junk drawer and order Shrimp Fried Rice for herself, and Orange Chicken for me (with a pu-pu platter and some egg rolls to share, too).
For my homestyle version, I put a southern spin on it by first frying my chicken in Cajun spices, then tossed the chicken in a scratch made orange and honey glaze.
You ever make a dish that you know is going to at least taste decent but then you blow your own mind at how freakin’ good it actually comes out?! That was me when I tasted the orange glaze; as a person who is never short of words, I was speechless! This sauce is a perfect balance of sweet, tangy, spicy, with a little umami to round it out.
I made this batch using chicken drumsticks but it would also work with any cut of chicken, even wings!
Crispy Orange-Glazed Chicken
Crispy Cajun-fried chicken tossed in a melt-in-your-mouth orange honey glaze. It's a homemade twist on Chinese takeout!
Orange Glaze Prep
Heat cooking oil in a deep pot or fryer.
While oil is heating, season chicken with chicken bouillon and black pepper. In a separate zip lock bag or pan, combine flour, cornstarch, Cajun seasoning, paprika, red chili flakes (or cayenne) and garlic powder. Whisk eggs in a shallow dish.
Add chicken one at a time to the flour/cornstarch mixture to coat, then to the egg mix, coating thoroughly, and another dredge in the flour/cornstarch mixture. Set each piece aside on a wire wrack until all chicken pieces are coated.
Check if oil is hot enough by sprinkling a little of your flour mix into the pot or fryer; if it sizzles and pops a little, it's ready. Drop drumsticks into the grease 3-4 at a time, for about 7-10 minutes or golden brown. Adjust heat as needed. Drain cooked chicken on a wire rack lined with paper towels.
In between cooking your chicken or after all chicken is done, prepare the orange glaze. Heat oil in a pot or deep skillet over medium high heat. Stir in garlic and let cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
Add in orange juice, chili paste, honey, ginger, tamari, red wine vinegar, salt & pepper, and chili powder, and stir. Take two of the oranges and use a microplane to grate the orange zest into the sauce. Allow sauce to cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Mix together the cornstarch and water and whisk into the sauce until it reaches the desired thick consistency.
Coat drumsticks in the sauce and set on serving dish. Top with chopped green onions and add oranges slices from your remaining orange, and serve!