If you would like to make Orange Chicken, the most popular dish in Panda Express vegan at home, this is the recipe you need to try. We used the BEST plant-based alternative to crunchy fried chicken strips and covered them with a citrus-y, sticky, spicy sauce. We made it allergy-friendly so everyone can enjoy this dish. Which means there is NO TOFU and NO GLUTEN!
Wet batter -> Take a shallow bowl and mix dairy-free milk, chickpea flour, white rice flour, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper with a whisk. It should have a texture of a thick pancake batter, slow-flowing but not too dense. In time the flour may thicken the batter a bit, so add 1 tsp of water to thin it again.
Dry batter -> Take another shallow bowl and mix white rice flour, corn starch, salt, and black pepper with a spoon.
Bread and fry mushrooms
Tear oyster mushroom into shreds with your hands. No need to wash or peel them. They grow on trees not in dirt, so they shouldn’t be dirty at all.
Have both wet batter and dry mix in two separate shallow bowls.
Dip the oyster mushroom strips first in the wet batter. Coat them evenly. I found it is easier to use your fingers to do that instead of using a fork or spatula.
Transfer gently the coated mushroom strips to the dry mix. Sprinkle the top and pat them gently. Make sure the mix sticks to them evenly.
Take a frying pan or skillet and add ½-inch oil. Heat it over medium/high heat. You can test whether it is hot enough by dropping a bit of coating in it. If it sizzles, you are good to go.
Flipping them occasionally. It shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes to fry them.
Prepare the orange sauce
Peel and mince ginger and garlic. Wash and grate some orange zest.
Take a small bowl and mix corn starch, orange juice (100%), orange zest, cane sugar, soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free), sriracha (or other chili paste), and white rice vinegar.
Take a saucepan and heat it over medium heat. Add oil and minced garlic, ginger and saute them for 1-2 minutes.
Add the mixture from the small bowl and mix well. Cook it for a couple of minutes until the corn starch is activated and the sauce starts to thicken.
Add molasses and stir well. Your sauce is ready now!
Serve it immediately
We recommend doing the coating per serving especially if you don't have a large enough pan or skillet.
Take ¼ of the orange sauce and add it to a warm skillet or pan. Add 1 serving of fried mushroom strips (approx. 2 oz which is like 8-10 strips) and mix well. Serve it on steamed or cooked rice.
Can you use an air fryer?
I don’t have an air fryer to test it properly, but the air fryers main purpose is the deep fry food without oil. Place the breaded oyster mushrooms on the basket of the air fryer in one layer. Turn the air fryer on and set the temperature high. Fry for a couple of minutes.
Can you bake them in the oven?
We tested this recipe in the oven as well. Sadly, the coating will not be as crispy as when you fry them. But in my opinion that is the case with every food. The difference between baking and frying is huge.