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Original Orange “Chicken” by Panda Express {Vegan Version}

Original Orange "Chicken" by Panda Express {Vegan Version}

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In 1987, Chef Andy Kao created the Original Orange Chicken recipe for Panda Express. I used his original recipe as posted in this video by Tasty and veganized it to create my Original Orange “Chicken” by Panda Express {Vegan Version}. It was beyond amazing!

Original Orange "Chicken" by Panda Express {Vegan Version}

About the vegan protein alternatives I’ve chosen…

I decided to use a combination of Butler Soy Curls and TVP Chunks. You can choose your own vegan protein of choice, but my personal favorite were the chunks. The combination of the two textures was really nice however. Regardless of which you choose, you’ll need to rehydrate them in hot water. I let them go about 15 minutes, drain and pat as dry as I can with paper towels. Allow them to continue to air dry while you prepare the remainder of the recipe.

If you haven’t tried these vegan proteins, you really are missing out. The way I prepare them, I would challenge any non-vegan to tell the difference!

Original Orange Chicken by Panda Express Vegan Soy Curls

Let’s prepare the batter!

Salt, pepper, cornstarch and flour are whisked together to combine. Add a flax “egg” (1 tbl ground flax plus 3 tbl water allowed to sit for 10 minutes), add water and a touch of oil. This should resemble a pancake batter. Thin enough to coat, but thick enough to adhere to our vegan proteins.

Original Orange "Chicken" by Panda Express {Vegan Version} Batter

After soaking, draining and pressing dry, this is what the soy curls and tvp chunks look like.

Original Orange "Chicken" by Panda Express {Vegan Version} Rehydrated Soy Curls

Coat in the batter, allowing any excess to drain off.  Place into a preheated skillet with about 1 tbl of oil.

Original Orange "Chicken" by Panda Express {Vegan Version} Batter Dipped Soy Curls

Allow to cook and brown on one side, flip and repeat.

Original Orange "Chicken" by Panda Express {Vegan Version} Pan Fried Soy Curls

Drain any excess oil on paper towels and they will continue to get crispier as they sit.  Just look at how they’ve already transformed from the initial stages!

Original Orange "Chicken" by Panda Express {Vegan Version} Crispy Soy Curls

Let’s make the most amazing orange sauce you have EVER tasted!

Oh my gosh, this sauce is everything! I was eating it with a spoon right out of the pan as I was preparing this recipe.

It begins with combining the following: red pepper flakes, freshly grated ginger, minced garlic, sugar, brown sugar and orange juice (*the only adjustment I made to this recipe was to increase the amount of orange juice, as it seemed to need it). Add the vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil.

Meanwhile, combine water and cornstarch to create a slurry.

Original Orange "Chicken" by Panda Express {Vegan Version}

Allow to come to a boil and cook for just a few minutes until it thickens. You can see the consistency change really quickly. If it’s too thick, thin with more orange juice.

Original Orange "Chicken" by Panda Express {Vegan Version}

Isn’t this just beautiful? The one tip I really don’t want you to skip, is a sprinkling of salt just before serving. Salt brings out the flavor in any dish, but it just elevates this one to new levels!

P.S. I am a “dipper” and therefore added the obligatory extra side of orange sauce 🙂

Original Orange "Chicken" by Panda Express {Vegan Version}

Panda Express Copycat Fried Rice Recipe…

I created another recipe from Panda Express and that is their iconic Fried Rice. You can find the recipe here.

By they way, that “egg” is actually from a review I did in the above post for the Vegan Egg by Follow Your Heart. It performed beyond my expectations and you should go check it out! I give you a few cooking tips (through trial and error) to get those perfectly scrambled “eggs”.

Original Orange "Chicken" by Panda Express {Vegan Version}

Did you make this recipe for my Original Orange “Chicken” by Panda Express {Vegan Version}? Leave me a comment below and let me know what you thought!

In hindsight, the only changes I would have made for myself to the original would have been the garlic. I don’t know why, but I am just not a fan. Otherwise, I am going to exclaim right here and now that is is BY FAR the best veganized recipe I have created to date – and that says a LOT!


Original Orange "Chicken" by Panda Express {Vegan Version}

If you enjoyed this recipe, why not PIN IT FOR LATER! This site is still young (and growing), so it really helps me out when you guys comment, like and share so I just want to let you know how much I appreciate it! 🙂

Original Orange “Chicken” by Panda Express {Vegan Version} PINTEREST PIC

Original Orange “Chicken” by Panda Express {Vegan Version}

Original Orange “Chicken” by Panda Express {Vegan Version}
Course Main Course
Cuisine vegan
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author aimee

Ingredients

FOR THE VEGAN "CHICKEN" USING SOY CURLS or TVP CHUNKS:

  • 2 c Vegan Soy Curls and/or TVP Chunks I liked the combination of both
  • 1/2 tbsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 c Cornstarch
  • 1-1/2 c Flour
  • 1 Flax "Egg" 1 tbsp ground flax PLUS 3 tbsp water, allow to sit for at least 10 minutes
  • 1-1/4 c Water
  • 1 tsp Oil

FOR COOKING:

  • 1-2 tbsp Oil for pan-frying

FOR THE ORANGE SAUCE:

  • 1/2 tbsp Oil
  • 1/8 tsp Dried Red Pepper Flakes/Chili Flakes
  • 1 clove Fresh Garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh Ginger grated
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/4 c Brown Sugar
  • 1 c Orange Juice *this was the only deviation I made from the original. Not only did my sauce get really thick, but it also made more sauce.
  • 2 tbsp White Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Soy Sauce or Tamari
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

FOR THE CORNSTARCH SLURRY:

  • 2 tbsp Water
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarch

FOR SERVING:

  • 1 recipe My Copycat Panda Express Fried Rice
  • pinch Salt do not omit this - I promise you, it elevates the flavor of the dish!
  • Orange Zest and/or Wedges for garnish
  • 1-2 Scallions/Green Onions for garnish

Instructions

TO PREPARE THE VEGAN SOY CURLS:

  1. Place the soy curls/tvp chunks into hot water and allow to sit, submerged, for at least 10-15 minutes. They will expand. Drain and press dry with paper towels. Allow to continue to air dry as we prepare the rest of this recipe. They do not need to be completely dry.

TO MAKE THE BATTER:

  1. Whisk to combine the salt, pepper, cornstarch, and flour. 

  2. Add the flax "egg", water, and oil until it reaches the consistency of pancake batter. Thin enough to coat, thick enough to adhere.

  3. Add the soy curls/tvp chunks to the batter and at this point, you could refrigerate for up to 30 minutes while you prepare the rice if you wish. Otherwise, it is completely fine to cook right away.

  4. Preheat a wok or large skillet. Add oil.

  5. Drain the excess batter off of the soy curls/tvp chunks and gently place into the oil. I find it easiest to work in batches and use a kitchen spider/strainer or fork to be sure I don't get too much of the excess batter into my final product.

  6. Cook until golden brown on one side, flip and repeat. Remove to paper towels to drain. They will continue to crisp as they sit.

TO MAKE THE ORANGE SAUCE:

  1. Combine the red pepper flakes, ginger, and garlic with the sugar, brown sugar and orange juice. Add to the pan and allow the sugars to fully dissolve in the liquid.

  2. Add in the vinegar and soy sauce, and stir to combine. In the original recipe, they add the sesame oil at the end, I added it here. Either way is acceptable.

  3. Add the cornstarch and water together and whisk to combine. Add to the pan and stir.
  4. Continue to cook the sauce until thickened. If it's too thick, add more orange juice to thin.

  5. Add in the cooked soy curls/tvp chunks and stir until completely coated in the sauce. Remove to a plate of the Copycat Panda Express Fried Rice. 

  6. Garnish with orange wedges and/or zest and green onions.

  7. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and enjoy!

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  1. […] now, you might have seen my recipe for Original Orange “Chicken” by Panda Express {Vegan Version}. I created the companion recipe for Better Than Panda Express Fried Rice because, well – you […]

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