Today, I’m excited to share with you my recipe for Panda Express-inspired Bourbon Chicken. This Panda Express Bourbon Chicken Recipe is a food court favorite that I used to enjoy during my days working at the mall.
The best part is that it comes together in under 30 minutes, making it a quick, easy, and delicious meal. Now, let’s head to the kitchen and get started.
What is Bourbon Chicken?
Bourbon Chicken is a popular dish known for its sweet, savory, and slightly tangy flavors. It is often found in food courts and Chinese-American restaurants across the United States.
Despite its name, Bourbon Chicken does not contain any actual bourbon whiskey. Instead, it derives its name from the sweet and rich sauce made with ingredients like brown sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, and apple juice.
Bourbon Chicken is made with small chicken bites marinated in a flavorful sauce, then cooked till soft and coated in a sweet and savory glaze with a hint of acidity.
Many people enjoy Bourbon Chicken because of its simple preparation and the sweet and savory taste that is pleasing to diverse taste preferences. This dish is loved for its tasty flavor and easy preparation, enjoyed at food courts or made at home.
Here’s what you’ll need for this flavorful dish
- Chicken breast – 1 lb.
Apple cider vinegar – 2 tbsp.
Apple juice – ¼ cup
Chicken broth – ¼ cup
Brown sugar – ½ cup
Ketchup ¼ cup
Low sodium Soy sauce ¼ cup
Bourbon (the star ingredient) – 3 oz
Green onion 3-4 springs
Minced garlic ⅔ tbsp.
Ginger paste – 1 tbsp.
Browning (for color) -½ tbsp.
Red pepper flakes
All-purpose seasoning & Chicken bouillon powder
Cornstarch – 3 tbsp.
Slurry – (1 tbsp. cornstarch 4 tbsp. cold water)
Sesame seeds and chive – for garnish
Step By Step Guide For Panda Express Bourbon Chicken Recipe
Step 1: Begin by slicing the chicken breast into thin pieces. You can also cut them into smaller chunks if you prefer.
Season the chicken with chicken bouillon powder, all-purpose seasoning, and let it sit for about 20 minutes. I recommend seasoning the chicken before adding the cornstarch to ensure the flavors are well-incorporated.
Coat the seasoned chicken with 2 to 3 tablespoons of cornstarch to add texture and help thicken the sauce later.
Step 2: In a mixing bowl, combine apple cider vinegar, apple juice, chicken broth, brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, bourbon, and a dash of Browning for color. Mix well. Add all-purpose seasoning and red pepper flakes, mix again. Save some bourbon for the taste test!
Step 3: Take one skillet, heat it over medium heat. Pan-fry the chicken in batches until nicely browned on both sides, making sure not to overcrowd the skillet.
Step 4: After cooking the chicken, keep the flavorful bits (fond) in the skillet. Lower the heat, add minced garlic and diced green onion, and let them infuse flavors in the residual heat.
Next, pour in the sauce mixture, bring it to a boil, and let it reduce and thicken for 10 to 12 minutes. Don’t forget to scrape the skillet’s bottom to release all the delicious flavor.
Step 5: Next, add ginger paste to the sauce and let it simmer for a few more minutes. The sauce will thicken further, and the flavors will come together beautifully.
To add even more thickness, create a slurry using cornstarch and cold water. Pour the slurry into the sauce, increase the heat, and bring it to a boil. You’ll see the sauce thicken up nicely.
Step 6: Now, it’s time to reunite the chicken with the flavorful sauce. Make sure the chicken is well-coated, and allow it to simmer in the sauce for a few minutes.
The result should be a tantalizing aroma and a dish that looks way better than anything you’d find at a food court.
Step 7: To serve, plate the Panda Express bourbon chicken recipe over a bed of white rice. You can use Basmati rice or even cauliflower rice if you prefer a low-carb option.
Drizzle some extra sauce over the chicken because why not? Then, garnish with white and black sesame seeds for a touch of visual appeal and diced chives for a pop of color.
Here Is The Video Link For Better Understand:
Chef Special Tips & Tricks
- Slice the chicken into thin, uniform pieces to ensure even cooking. This will help the chicken absorb the flavors of the sauce more effectively.
- Slice the chicken with a sharp knife for easier and more precise chopping. If your knife needs an upgrade, consider investing in a quality knife to make the process smoother.
- Season the chicken with the spices before adding the cornstarch. This allows the cornstarch to create a protective coating around the seasoned chicken, resulting in better flavor retention.
- When coating the chicken with cornstarch, aim for a light and even layer. This will give the chicken a crispy texture without making it too starchy.
- To avoid overflowing the skillet, cook the chicken in batches. Overcrowding can lead to steaming instead of browning. Give each piece enough space to ensure proper browning and a delicious caramelized exterior.
- Take your time while pan-frying the chicken. Stainless steel skillets require patience to prevent the chicken from sticking. Wait until the chicken releases itself from the skillet before flipping to achieve a beautiful golden color.
- When simmering the sauce, scrape the bottom of the skillet to incorporate the flavorful fond. This will enhance the taste of the sauce and create a more complex flavor profile.
- Adjust the sauce’s thickness by gradually adding the cornstarch slurry. Start with a smaller amount and gradually increase if needed. This prevents the sauce from becoming overly thick and allows you to achieve the desired consistency.
- For the flavors to fully absorb, let the chicken simmer in the sauce for a few minutes. This will enhance the taste and ensure the chicken is well-coated.
- When plating, ensure the chicken is evenly distributed over the bed of rice. Drizzle extra sauce on top for a mouthwatering presentation and additional flavor.
- For added freshness, sprinkle the dish with diced chives or other herbs of your choice. These garnishes provide a pop of color and a burst of flavor.
- Take the time to enjoy the aromas and flavors of the homemade bourbon chicken. Share it with friends and family for a delightful dining experience.
- By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to create a delectable bourbon chicken dish that captures the essence of the food court favorite. Enjoy the cooking process and savor every bite!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Here are some commonly asked questions and their short answers on Panda Express Bourbon Chicken Recipe
1. What is the origin of Bourbon Chicken?
The origin of Bourbon Chicken is believed to be in Chinese-American cuisine. It is said to have originated in the late 1980s or early 1990s in a Chinese restaurant located in the Bourbon Street area of New Orleans, hence the name “Bourbon Chicken.”
2. Can I substitute boneless chicken thighs for the breasts?
Yes, boneless chicken thighs can be substituted for boneless chicken breasts in the Panda Express Bourbon Chicken recipe. Chicken thighs have more fat, which can make the dish more juicy and tasty. Adjust the cooking time appropriately, as chicken thighs may take a little longer to cook than chicken breasts.
3. How long should I marinate the chicken?
To enhance the taste, it is advisable to marinate the chicken for at least 20 minutes prior to cooking. However, if you have more time, marinating it for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator will allow the flavors to penetrate the meat even more.
4. Can I use a substitute for bourbon in the recipe?
If you prefer to avoid using bourbon in the recipe, you can use a non-alcoholic substitute such as apple juice or chicken broth. This will help provide a similar depth of flavor without the alcohol content. Keep in mind that the taste may vary slightly, but it will still result in a delicious dish.
5. How can I make the sauce less sweet?
To make the sauce less sweet, you can adjust the amount of brown sugar or use a substitute like honey or maple syrup. Start by reducing the amount of sugar in the recipe and add more to taste if desired.
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