This Vegan Orange Chicken is AMAZING! Made with soy curls and a homemade sauce, this is perfectly crispy and better than takeout.
When I say I am in love with this recipe...I am IN LOVE with this recipe! I really mean it! Where have soy curls been all my vegan life?!? They have the perfect texture to create mock meat. And they crisp up when pan fried. I'm talking better than takeout, super delicious, amazing stuff! Plus the homemade orange sauce is tangy, slightly spicy and delicious! I can't say enough good things about this recipe.
What are soy curls?
If you're like me, and you're new to soy curls, let me give you the breakdown. They are made from soybeans (like tofu and tempeh), are non-GMO and are filled with protein and fiber. They come dehydrated, so they have a long shelf life.
All they need is 10 minutes in boiling water, and they become rehydrated and ready to take on whatever flavors you want them to. They really resemble chicken pieces...it's kind of wild.
The key to a great texture with soy curls, is to press as much water as possible out of them after they've soaked. So just grab them with your hands and give them a good squeeze.
How to make Vegan Orange Chicken sauce
While the soy curls are taking a soak, throw together the orange sauce. Just add all of the ingredients to a sauce pan and let the sugar dissolve. I purposely made the sauce less sugary - some recipes call for ½ cup sugar 👀 If you find the sauce isn't sweet enough, you can always add more sugar to taste.
Combine corn starch and water in a small bowl and add it to the sauce. Let the sauce cook down for a few more minutes, or until thickened. Set it aside.
How to make Vegan Orange Chicken
Once the soy curls are soaked and pressed, toss them in a flour/corn starch mixture until coated. No need to overthink it - they should still have some residual water on them from soaking, so the flour mix should stick easily.
Heat some neutral oil (think vegetable or avocado) in a pan over medium heat. Add the soy curls to the pan and cook until browned on both sides. You can work in batches, or do it all at once. As long as everything gets crispy!
Once the soy curls have some crust, add ¾ of the sauce and cook for another few minutes, or until the sauce has started to caramelize on the soy curls.
How to serve Vegan Orange Chicken
Now it's time to eat! I like to serve my orange chicken over rice with green onions and a drizzle of the remaining sauce.
You could also serve this with veggies - bok choy or broccolini would be my first choices.
This recipe will shock anyone who has tried store bought vegan orange chicken and has been unimpressed. This stuff is the real deal and totally delicious!
Need more recipe inspo? Check these out:
Vegan Orange Chicken
FOR THE SAUCE
- 1 cup orange juice
- ¼ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ginger powder
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
FOR THE SOY CURLS
- ½ bag soy curls
- ⅓ cup flour
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- neutral oil for frying
- rice, green onion
- Add the soy curls to a bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add all of the sauce ingredients (except the corn starch) to a pan over medium heat. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved. Combine the corn starch and 2 tablespoon of water in a small bowl, and mix to combine. Add the mixture to the sauce and lower heat. Cook until thickened and set aside.
- Drain the soy curls and rinse with cold water. Use your hands to squeeze out as much water as possible.
- Combine the flour and corn starch in a bowl. Add the soy curls to the flour mixture and toss until all of the pieces are coated.
- Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a pan. Add the soy curls to the pan and cook until browned on both sides (working in batches if needed).* Once browned, pour ¾ of the sauce over the soy curls. Cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the sauce has caramelized and gotten crispy.
- Serve the orange chicken over rice with the remaining sauce and green onion.
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Made this for dinner, followed the recipe exactly. It was delicious! We are new to soy curls, so when a recipe turns out we’re pretty excited. I cooked all the soy curls at the same time, overcrowding the pan, so they didn’t turn out crispy, but still delicious! Keeper 🙂 oh I did make one small modification, I sprinkled a little orange zest on the top.
Yum! Love the addition of the orange zest!
This orange chicken is sooooooo good!!! I doubled it, and being pregnant I almost ate the whole thing. My husband and toddler loved it too! I love it with a side of steamed carrots and broccoli (throw a can of baby corn in there and it suddenly becomes a party)!!
You are my go to for meal planning! Keep ‘em coming, girl! We love your recipes!
Hi Kathy! Yay, so glad you liked it!
What size bag are you using for 1/2 of a bag of soy curls?
I'm pretty sure they only come in 8 oz bags. So 4 oz.
I buy mine from the bulk section of my local natural food store, so it's good to know!
What would be a good substitute if we can't have soy? Would something like cauliflower work?
Instead of water use no-chicken broth (ir no-beef depending on recipe) with soy curls. Squeeze out etc just like you suggested but soaking in the broth gives that extra boost of flavor!