Last updated on November 23rd, 2023
Ever wished you could whip up your favorite Panda Express dish right at home? Well, you’re in luck. This simple guide offers a step-by-step walkthrough for recreating the Panda Express Crispy Almond Chicken. It’s quick, easy, and the best part is, it can be made right in your kitchen!
Gone are the days when you’d have to take a trip to Panda Express for a taste of this endearing dish. And it even gets better. Almonds are a treasure trove of nutrients and lean chicken breasts are packed with potassium, magnesium and vitamin E! Let’s not forget it’s kid-approved. So, let’s get cooking, shall we?
Essential Items and Appliances for Cooking
Before we dive in, it’s crucial to go over some of the basic kitchen tools and appliances you’ll need for this cooking venture. This dish isn’t hard, it just requires some specific items.
First off, an air fryer is your best friend here. Preferably, you can use the Ninja double basket type. It has the perfect size to cook half the recipe. But don’t worry, if you don’t have Ninja, you can also pull this off with a rack or toaster oven style air fryer.
Breaking Down the Recipe’s Ingredients
Chicken is the star of the show. The original Panda Express recipe calls for chicken breast, and who are we to argue with the masters? But the beauty of cooking is the ability to adapt and adjust based on your personal preference. You can switch things up by using boneless skinless chicken thighs. It gives a slightly different taste and some folks prefer their chicken that way.
To give your chicken that crispy exterior, we’re gonna need some all-purpose flour. It’s the base of our dredge for the chicken. As for the almond flavor, that’s where almond flour comes into the mix. It gives our chicken that distinct almond taste and a crispy texture.
Add in some egg and you’ve got a clingy mixture that holds onto the chicken. Throw in some soy sauce, baking soda to tenderize the meat and you’re set. Now that we’ve got the ingredients down, it’s time to get cooking.
Now, can we talk about the sauce? That’s where sliced almonds come in. Their floral sweetness gives our sauce the perfect flavor. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can chop whole almonds for an added crunch. But be patient, there’s more to our magic potion than almonds.
We also need broth – the type rich in collagen, supporting digestion and anti-inflammatory components. If you’re using boxed broth, keep it low or no-sodium. And let’s not forget the garnish. A little sprinkle of onion to add a final touch to our dish. With these sauce essentials, you’ve got everything you need to recreate that Panda Express classic at home.
Potential Ingredient Variations
Who said playing with food isn’t fun? Check out how versatile this recipe is. Instead of chicken breasts, why not try chicken thighs? They’re juicy and pack a ton of flavor. One important tip, though. Make sure you get the boneless and skinless ones, unless you’re a fan of a bit of anatomy with your meal.
And here’s a nice switch. Forget about flour and go with some puffed-rice cereal. You know, stuff like Rice Krispies or brown rice crisps. Give the chicken that crispy texture that’d make your taste buds do a little dance; yes even the shady ones at the back of your tongue.
Step-By-Step Guide for Panda Express Crispy Almond Chicken Recipe
Nothing beats the good ol’ step-by-step guide. Gotta break it down like a funky beat, right? So let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to transform chicken breasts, almonds, and a handful of condiments into a plate of Panda Express-worthy crispy almond chicken. But don’t sweat it, it’s all fairly basic stuff. Just follow the recipe for crispy almond chicken and you’ll be golden.
Preparing the Chicken Breasts
Alright, first things first. The chicken breasts need to be prepped. Grab a couple of eggs and whisk away in a large bowl. You’ll then want to add the chicken to the egg mixture and let it sit for about 30 minutes. This gives the chicken time to soak up all the flavors and get tender. It’s like a spa day for the chicken, only a lot more delicious.
Now, if you’re marinating for more than 2 hours, cover it with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge. But remember, don’t start frying straight away. Let it get to room temperature first. Trust me, your chicken will thank you for it.
Cooking Procedure and Sauce Preparation
Next up is the part where we get a little messy. Get those chicken pieces all coated with the almond mixture and let a heated skillet or wok work its magic. Remember, the goal is a light brown. Cook the chicken for about 3-4 minutes on each side. And yes, you can absolutely air-fry the chicken breasts. Saves on the oil and your waistline.
While the chicken is cooking, it’s time to make the sauce. It’s pretty simple. Mix the soy sauce, granulated sugar, chicken broth, and a couple of other goodies in a saucepan. Let it simmer, then pour the sauce over the chicken and give it a good toss. Toast the almonds for a little extra crunchy and taste. You’ve now got yourself a Panda Express masterpiece, my friend.
Altering the Recipe With Optional Add-Ins
If there’s one thing a chef knows, it’s that a dish is like a canvas waiting for an artist’s brush. Fancy brushing up on the Panda Express Crispy Almond Chicken recipe? The good news is you’ve got a whole palette before you. A dash of pepper flakes, for instance, could add a kick to proceedings. Just don’t let the spice steal the show. You want a guest appearance, not a crowd takeover!
Swapping one nut for another can also freshen up the recipe. Maybe the robust flavor of cashews speaks to your taste buds. Or perhaps some smoked almonds are calling your name. And here’s a novel idea, what about making a crispy chicken sandwich using this recipe? Imagination is the key here.
Best Side Dishes for Almond Chicken
So, what pairs well with the Panda Express Crispy Almond Chicken, you ask? Well, that’s a chef’s secret. Just kidding! This dish is pretty versatile. A side of rice, be it basmati, jasmine, or brown, could be the perfect partner. Remember to cook it to room temperature before serving. It’s all about that optimal eating experience.
If you’re looking at the recipe card, you might note the mention of chicken nuggets. These can be a great sidekick to almond chicken. The golden nuggets, when cooked for just 1-2 minutes, add an additional layer of crunch that’s to die for. Be sure to cover them with plastic wrap while they marinate for 30 minutes. Trust me, it’s worth the wait!
Perfect Drinks to Complement the Dish
Here’s the cherry on top – the perfect refreshments to complement the dish. Soft drinks are a sure shot, but for something a bit more exotic, how about a jasmine tea or a Lychee iced tea? The subtle flavors will balance the richness of the almond chicken perfectly.
When it comes to the chicken itself, you want to coat it in a mix of flour and spices, including salt and pepper. Some folks swear by almond flour, but all-purpose flour does the job just as well. The flour mix helps to coat the chicken, ensuring a crispy exterior on the chicken. Trust me, the first bite will make it all worth it.
Alright now, you’ve got everything you need to cook up some delicious Panda Express Crispy Almond Chicken right in your own kitchen. From the list of essential ingredients and tools to a step-by-step guide, and even a few fun variations to mix things up. It’s got all the taste of one of your favorite fried chicken recipes but with a twist. Now, don’t be afraid to don that apron, get your hands a bit messy, and dive into the wonderful world of home cooking. Happy cooking, everyone!
Panda Express Crispy Almond Chicken
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup almond flour
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Cooking oil for frying
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup chicken broth (low or no-sodium)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup chopped onions (for garnish)
- Red pepper flakes for a spicy kick
- Cashews or smoked almonds for a nutty twist
- Whisk eggs in a large bowl.
- Add chicken to the egg mixture and marinate for 30 minutes.
- If marinating for more than 2 hours, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- Bring chicken to room temperature before cooking.
Coating and Cooking:
- In a bowl, combine all-purpose flour, almond flour, soy sauce, and baking soda.
- Coat each chicken breast in the almond mixture.
- Heat oil in a skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
- Cook chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side or until light brown.
- Alternatively, air-fry the chicken breasts for a healthier option.
Prepare the Sauce:
- In a saucepan, mix sliced almonds, soy sauce, granulated sugar, and chicken broth.
- Simmer the sauce, then pour it over the cooked chicken and toss.
- Toast additional almonds for extra crunch.
- Add red pepper flakes for a spicy kick or try different nuts like cashews or smoked almonds.
- Garnish with chopped onions.
- Serve with rice or alongside chicken nuggets for an extra crunch.
- For a twist, try using boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
- Experiment with puffed-rice cereal instead of flour for a unique texture.
- Make a crispy chicken sandwich using the same recipe.
- Basmati, jasmine, or brown rice.
- Chicken nuggets marinated for 30 minutes and cooked for 1-2 minutes for an additional crunch.
- Jasmine tea or Lychee iced tea to complement the richness of the almond chicken.