This is the flavor combination you did not know you needed in your life. This recipe is for crispy chicken tenders with that classic Mandarin Orange Chicken from your favorite take-out joint. It is the perfect combination of sweet and savory!
I had been seeing chicken tenders trending and I absolutely love them. So, I knew I had to share my recipe too! As a lover of Trader Joe’s and Panda Express orange chicken, I had to make a saucy tender that pays respects to the Asian inspired classic!
For the sauce, I add my soy sauce (you can use Tamari for a gluten free version! )and fresh orange juice and zest. This will give it a fresh citrus flavor. I personally like using fresh squeezed and then adding sugar rather than using bottled orange juice. I find they add too much sugar, but bottled juice will work as well, you just do not have as much control of the flavor. But this just my personal preference. I also add my rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, white sugar, and garlic and ginger paste. This give the sauce the perfect umami flavor. I let this simmer on low to medium heat and add a slurry to thicken it. A slurry is a mixture of cornstarch and water. I used 1 tsp cornstarch to 2 tsp water. Keep an eye on the sauce and let simmer to thicken.
For my tenders, I simply breaded them in flour (or gluten free flour) and egg. I dipped my tender in flour, then the egg, and back to the flour. This gives it a double coating for extra crunch! When frying your tender, I always do about medium high heat. I want to make sure the chicken cooks thoroughly along with the outside. If I have the heat too high, the outside will get golden brown before the chicken fully cooks.
Once the chicken is cooked and your sauce is about a medium thickness, you can toss in your tenders with the sauce. Do not soak them too long or the outside will get soft. You want just the perfect coating on each tender. I garnished with some green onion and sesame seeds. Seriously, you will enjoy this fun food fusion!
Delicious Mandarin Orange Chicken Tenders
- 10 Chicken Tenders
- 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
- 1/2-3/4 cup Orange Juice (fresh squeezed from 2 Oranges)
- 2 tsp Ginger Paste
- 2 tsp Garlic Paste
- 2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
- 2 tbsp White Granulated Sugar
- 3-4 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Sesame Oil
- 4 Cups Vegetable Oil
- 2 Eggs
- 2 cups Flour
- 2 tbsp Preferred chicken seasoning
- 1-2 tsp corn starch
- Add your soy sauce, orange juice, garlic, ginger, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, white sugar, and brown sugar into a pot and let simmer.
- Next, in a separate bowl, add 1 tsp water and 1 tsp cornstarch and mix. Add the "slurry" liquid into the sauce. This will help thicken it.
- Set aside
- Bread chicken by coating in flour, then dipping into the egg wash, then back into the flour. This will double bread the chicken for a crispier tender.
- Fry on medium to high heat for about 6 minutes a tender. This will make sure the chicken inside is fully cooked.
- In a separate bowl, toss tenders into the orange sauce.
- Garnish with green onion and sesame seeds and serve immediately