Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Making Panda Express at Home!

Time for another meal made at home. This time we're recreating that mall food court staple, the Panda Express.


And truthfully, it's not something we even have all that frequently. But I was feeling like Chinese Food and Theresa and I wanted to try out some new recipes. And so today we've got the super easy white rice, Panda Express's signature Orange Chicken, String Bean Chicken Breast, Cream Cheese Rangoon, and of course for dessert, a fortune cookie. These photos are from their website.

First up, I'll be making the fortune cookies. I've been using the recipe from Tasty.co for Fortune Cookies, but I think I'm going to be looking for another one.

Either that or I need to add a bit more water. The cookies are about twice as thick as they should be. And I'm not sure about the temperature either. At 425F the outside edges of the cookie get crispy pretty quick, while the center is still too pale.
With the extra batter I had, I did a few experiments, which you'll see a little later.

For my main entree, I chose the Orange Chicken, so I'm in charge of cooking it. I found a recipe for the Copycat Panda Express Orange Chicken from DinnerThenDessert.com. I used the zest from an entire orange and it really gave the sauce a punch! I mixed up the sauce and put it in the fridge while I got everything else ready.

For my meat, I'm using the tasty and flavorful chicken thighs. Soaking them in egg and oil before putting them in the breading.

For the breading it's a simple 2 parts corn starch to 1 part flour. While that's in the deep fryer, it's time to make my sauce.

After getting a pan hot, I put in some oil, tossed in a few crushed red pepper flakes and a healthy amount of garlic, and let that fry for a few seconds. Then the rest of the sauce went in to come to a boil and thicken.

After the sauce was thickened, I tossed all my fried chicken pieces in with it, stirred it all up, and then placed in into a 170F oven to keep warm.

Theresa did her part pretty quickly. Her recipe for Copycat Panda Express String Bean Chicken Breast comes courtesy of DriveMeHungry.com. Earlier in the day she marinade her chicken. She cooked her chicken, and now she's getting some fresh green beans and onions heated up. Once those were ready, the chicken plus the extra sauce go into the pan to heat up.
I also made a batch of cream cheese wontons.

Time to eat! It's looking tasty and smelling fantastic.

Here's our version of the same graphic above.

Our Original Orange Chicken was very strong on the orange flavor. I liked it, but I think it was too strong for the others. Even still, there weren't many leftovers.

The String Bean Chicken was the winner tonight. Everyone thought it was wonderful, including the kids.

Yes they're not the same shape as the ones from Panda Express, but you can get more of that sweet cream cheese filling in them if you make these half moon shapes. And speaking of filling, one of the wontons must have exploded while in the oil because these seem to be covered with bits of cream cheese too.

Can't forget about our fortune cookies.

And this is white rice. There's not much that's simpler than rice.

My first plate. But what's that adorable little thing at the bottom of the plate?

With my extra batter I mixed in some cocoa powder, making chocolate fortune cookie batter. I used a syringe to save some of the original batter, then painted the designs as best I could on the cookie sheet. I started with the tiny pandas, but getting that small was proving too difficult. With the batter I had left, I made the two big ones.

The kids thought the meal was tasty.

Richard said "Let me tell you what I didn't like about this meal... Okay, next topic."
He's enjoyed just about everything we've put in front of him. Certainly not a picky eater.

And Theresa and I have been enjoying making all these new dishes.

Smile happy girl!

2 comments:

  1. Everything looks so good...stir-fried fresh string beans are great any time (think I see a bonus dish of tempura batter-style string beans, too)...those panda cookies are soooooooooo cute! Richard had a wonderful way of saying what he didn't like about the meal...like his style :-) Delicious Panda Express meal by the in-house chefs! EOM

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    1. Good eyes, you did catch a bonus dish of tempura string beans.
      Those panda cookies were a fun little experiment. I'm happy they turned out so well. I just need to get my regular fortune cookie recipe to turn out a little better. More water I think so they'll be less thick.

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