Orange chicken is a popular Chinese dish in the United States.
It consists of chicken pieces that are breaded and fried and orange-flavored sauce served over rice.
It’s usually orange in color, which is why it is named after the citrus fruit.
Many recipes call for both the zest and juice of oranges in addition to marmalade, honey, or sugar.
Other ingredients often added are garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and seasoned rice vinegar or dry sherry wine.
Depending on the restaurant or your taste preferences, you may choose to add other ingredients as well.
Orange chicken can be crunchy or soft, depending on your preferences.
You can serve the orange chicken with rice or noodles, but it is usually served with steamed white rice.
You can have it as a complete meal by itself.
It also goes well with different vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, or bell peppers.
In this article, we will list 7 of the most common side dishes that go well with orange chicken.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes for Orange Chicken?
First of all, don’t think that orange chicken is the highlight of your Chinese meal.
Orange chicken is not better than other main dishes such as sweet and sour pork or Kung Pao chicken.
However, it’s probably one of the most popular Chinese-American dishes in the United States.
Another reason why you should consider serving side dishes with these chickens is because side dishes offer a nice contrast to the orange chicken.
They’re milder in flavor and give your guests a choice on how they want their meal to taste.
Side dishes also help balance out the sodium level of your meal because the main dish often contains more salt than regular Chinese food servings.
Also, side dishes are great for your health because they’re made with healthier ingredients.
What to Serve with Orange Chicken? 7 BEST Side Dishes
Below is a list of 7 common side dishes that go well with orange chicken.
They’re easy to prepare and popular among people who love Chinese food.
1 – White or Brown Rice
White or brown rice is the most common side dish served with orange chicken.
It’s often used as a filler to make up for the volume lost after removing too much fat from the chicken meat.
Asian-style white rice has a mild flavor, and it’s an excellent match for acidic foods such as orange chicken because it neutralizes some of the flavors.
Brown rice is healthier and has a nutty taste, but it doesn’t go well with all foods.
For example, if you want to serve white or brown rice with kung pao chicken, you should wait until your guests eat the main dish before serving the rice because both dishes contain intense flavors.
2 – Stir-fry Vegetables
Stir-fry vegetable is an excellent dish to serve with orange chicken.
It contains light flavors and goes well with any food because it’s not too salty or sweet.
A typical recipe calls for stir-frying green peppers, carrots, broccoli, or cauliflower with garlic and ginger in a wok over high heat until the vegetables’ colors turn bright.
Some restaurants deep fry their vegetables or add soy sauce for saltiness and oyster sauce for sweetness.
For health reasons, you may not want to use oyster sauce as a substitute because it contains high amounts of sugar and salt plus preservatives.
3 – Egg Drop Soup
For those who like hot dishes, egg drop soup is a great side dish with orange chicken.
The soup is made by adding beaten eggs, mushrooms, and chopped scallions in a simmering broth seasoned with salt and pepper.
It has a nice texture that tastes even better when you add a bit of hot sauce or crushed red pepper flakes.
The soup is tasty because the eggs mix well with the broth.
If you don’t want your soup to be too oily, make sure to remove any excess oil from the chicken before cooking it.
You can also use low-sodium soy sauce to reduce the amount of salt in the soup.
4 – Fried Rice
Fried rice is a classic Chinese favorite that everyone loves.
It’s easy to make and has a nice texture, plus it goes well with most other dishes because it provides balance to the meal.
Fried rice goes well with orange chicken because they both have soy sauce as an ingredient, so their flavors are similar.
The best thing about fried rice is that you can add any ingredients you want and make it your way.
You can use soy sauce or oyster sauce as a base for the flavor, adding veggies such as peas and carrots, eggs, onions, and scallions.
To make orange fried rice like Panda Express, stir fry orange zest and orange juice into the rice after cooking it.
5 – Vegetable Lo Mein
Vegetable lo mein is a great dish to serve with orange chicken because they both have noodles as an ingredient.
Like fried rice, lo mein has a nice texture and a mild flavor.
You can use any noodles for this dish, but the most popular ones are egg noodles or chow mein.
You can make your lo mein with beef, chicken, or shrimp to give it more flavor.
It’s best to cook the veggies first and then add the noodles to avoid overcooking.
You can also add a bit of oyster sauce to give your lo mein a sweet taste.
6 – Roasted Vegetables
Roasted vegetables are a popular side dish to serve with orange chicken.
It has a rich flavor that makes it suitable for dinner parties.
Roasted vegetables are usually made by slicing root veggies like carrots, potatoes, or beets into equal-sized pieces and placing them in an ovenproof pan.
Then, add olive oil, garlic powder, rosemary, salt, and pepper to the veggies for flavor.
It’s best to use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer skin of the root vegetables before cooking them.
This process can be time-consuming, but it will prevent your guests from choking on the skins.
7 – Green Salad
A green salad is another healthy side dish to serve with orange chicken.
It’s very light and goes well with any savory dish because it doesn’t have intense flavors.
The best green salads to serve with orange chicken are those made from lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots.
Many Chinese restaurants also add dried cranberries or raisins to their salads for a nice crunchy texture.
You can also add a bit of dressing to give your salad more flavor and remain refreshing and light on the stomach.
In conclusion, orange chicken is a popular dish that many Chinese restaurants serve.
It’s usually eaten with rice or noodles to give it more flavor and make the dish go well with other dishes on your table.
If you don’t want to eat rice, you can serve the orange chicken with any side dishes mentioned in this article.
It’s essential to serve your orange chicken with a side dish with the same flavor to ensure you don’t ruin the balance of textures and flavors.