orange peel shrimp

by jenna on January 20, 2012

Last Sunday night, Adam and I were eating a quick dinner at PF Changs (got a gift card for Christmas!) and like every other time I have ever been to PF Changs in my life, I ordered my absolute favorite dish: Orange Peel Shrimp with brown rice.

Oh, orange peel shrimp!!! How I love you. I was in between mouthfuls and was licking the last little bit of sweet and spicy glaze off my fork when it dawned on me that I should try to recreate it at home. It couldn’t be that hard, right? Hah! Think again. It was totally hard! I think of myself way more of a baker than a cook, mostly because I love the guarantee and safety of “if I measure this exactly and follow the recipe it will turn out”. I know that yeast + water + salt + flour = bread….in some way, shape or form. I’m not the type of girl that can open a fridge and make a meal on nothing….that’s Bev, and my mom. Sure, I’ve learned a lot over the past few years of cooking practically every day, but it still doesn’t come as naturally as kneading dough and frosting cupcakes.

So, to develop this recipe I stood over my stove for hours—tasting, testing and jotting down notes in my grease splattered journal. First it was too spicy, then it was too salty…then it wasn’t sweet enough.

Then finally, just like that……it was PERFECT.

I mean, really perfect! I was excited that I ate half of it and carefully covered up the other half with plastic wrap before driving it down to Adam’s house for him to try. He loved it, too, and we both agreed that it gave PF Changs a run for their money.

The secret is using marmalade….and tossing your shrimp in cornstarch before lightly frying. The cornstarch forms a super crunchy outer shell on the shrimp that keeps even when doused in the delicious orange peel sauce.

And guess what? Monday is Chinese New Year! You should totally make this to celebrate.

Head to PBS Food for the recipe!

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{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga January 20, 2012 at 3:55 am

PF Changs has some great sauces and I remember lots of fun meals out (and fun drinks too) back in the day for me and my hubs, courtesy of PF Changs.

Your shrimp looks awesome!

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Erika - The Teenage Taste January 20, 2012 at 4:11 am

PFChangs is one of my favorite places for good Asian food! If this dish is going to give them a run for their money, you know it’s gotta be good! Thanks for posting, Jenna! :-D

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Em (Wine and Butter) January 20, 2012 at 4:12 am

I wonder if being a ‘baker’ or a ‘cook’ says anything about your personality in general!? Looks yummy!

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Bev Weidner January 20, 2012 at 4:31 am

Aww, thanks for the love, my dear. :)

And this shrimp is something I DEFINITELY need to make. And then call you to come help me eat it. And then ask you to bring something sweet and baked. And then we drink wine. And then cry.

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Molly @ RDexposed January 20, 2012 at 4:41 am

Type A personalities usually prefer baking for the exactness. I lean towards type A and would used to wonder when I cooked, “Is this clove of garlic too big for the recipe’s interpretation of a clove.” And then I’d look for a smaller clove.
Drinking a small amount of an adult beverage is necessary for type A personalities when they cook to let these small things go. Ha!

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat January 20, 2012 at 4:44 am

We don’t have PF Changs here in Canada but I’ve been to one location in the US. Asian food is one of my favourite cuisines, and well, let’s face it – how can you go wrong with spicy sweet shrimp!? Thanks for taking the time to perfect the sauce – I admire your dedication Jenna!

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Hilliary @Happily Ever Healthy January 20, 2012 at 4:49 am

YUM! I used to always get orange peel shrimp/chicken at PF Changs. I love that you recreated this!

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Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum January 20, 2012 at 5:07 am

I’m totally making this. We loooove shrimp and the colors of these are too pretty to turn down! I’ve used a similar method to make orange beef and broccoli (with the cornstarch and the marmalade)… and it was super yummy. Great post!

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Lauren @ What Lauren Likes January 20, 2012 at 5:09 am

looks amazing! Heading over there now :)

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Jen January 20, 2012 at 5:20 am

Looks great! I recently tried shrimp and loved it.

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Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter) January 20, 2012 at 5:22 am

Mmm love PF Chang’s.. I always get Buddha’s Delight. :)

I’m curious – how many renditions of a recipe do you usually go through to get it just right? I would imagine that gets pretty pricey!

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Terri A. January 20, 2012 at 5:27 am

I can’t wait to make this!

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kathleen @ the daily crumb January 20, 2012 at 5:31 am

i ate waaaay too much pf chang’s in college that i have just not been able to stomach it since then. but after a 5 year hiatus, i’m thinking this recipe might be a good way to ease me back in!

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amy walters, aDESIGNdock January 20, 2012 at 5:52 am

This looks awesome. And I’m not much of a shrimp person! So that says a lot!

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HRCK the Herald January 20, 2012 at 5:55 am

YUM. I’m with you– I never understand when people say “I can cook, but I can’t bake.” I feel the opposite– with baking, you know that you follow the “rules,” you’ll get a good product. The same can’t be said for more loosey goosey cooking!

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Kelly January 20, 2012 at 6:07 am

Orange Peel Shrimp and Cashew Chicken are my two all time favorite Chinese dishes…I will try to make this! Thanks!

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Tabitha (From Single to Married) January 20, 2012 at 6:09 am

oh man, I haven’t eaten there in years! It’s now on my list. :)

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Cait's Plate January 20, 2012 at 6:33 am

Ya know, I love shrimp and I go through phases where I forget about it which is really unfortunate. Thanks for the reminder :)

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Shannon January 20, 2012 at 6:39 am

This recipe looks delicious. I can’t wait to try it.

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Urban Wife January 20, 2012 at 6:53 am

We love PF Changs although haven’t been in years {so, really…do we love it that much? no, we’re just frugal!} but I’m glad you’ve made this recipe. Now we can eat our PF Changs meal for half the cost at home! Have a lovely weekend.
p.s. Hope your yoga teacher training goes well ~ can’t wait to hear all about it!

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The Texas Peach January 20, 2012 at 7:11 am

I LOVE Orange Peel Chicken, so I know I would love this! It looks amazing!

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Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove January 20, 2012 at 7:37 am

This looks so yummy! I can’t wait to try it!

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Gina @ Running to the Kitchen January 20, 2012 at 7:41 am

PF Changs is my weakness. I’ve perfected their lettuce wraps at home but orange peel shrimp is impressive!

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karen January 20, 2012 at 7:46 am

PF Changs is our favorite restaurant, think you could make the same dish with chicken? Made the cauliflower last night, and the pot pie the night before, he is so stuck on that pot pie….He keeps on asking how I’m coming up with so many great recipes, I kept it a secret, but then had to give you the credit. :)

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jenna January 20, 2012 at 8:02 am

I definitely think you could make the same thing with chicken. Just be sure to chop the chicken into small, bite sized pieces and be sure to cook it until it’s done before tossing in the sauce. It will probably cook in about 6-8 minutes. YAY about the cauliflower! :)

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Cat @Breakfast to Bed January 20, 2012 at 7:48 am

Oh dear how I love cornstarch fried shrimp. If my mother in law doesn’t make some for lunar new year, Imma gonna be pissed,

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Deborah January 20, 2012 at 8:28 am

Oh. My. Goodness. This looks amazing!!

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Mary @ Bake Break January 20, 2012 at 9:01 am

Jenna! This looks amazing! I’m glad you did the testing so we don’t have to – this really looks like a delicious dish (and I know if it’s anything like the one at PF Changs, it is!).

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Judith January 20, 2012 at 9:12 am

Jenna, another winner! But, I am not a huge orange fan, could sub lemon right? And use lemon marmalade…is there such a thing? How bout lemon curd, adding some zest to give it that little bit of crunch and texture. BTW when I made your delicious frosting, using egg whites, the leftover yolks are perfect for whipping up a batch of curd.
PS I don’t know whether to thank you or curse you re Madewell :-)
The morning you posted about it, I just happened to be going to a luncheon in Larkspur, which is 10 minutes from the Corte Madera store, so I obviously had to stop in…love their stuff, and even at my age found some very cute age appropriate tops. Definitely a Jenna store!!

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Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) January 20, 2012 at 9:33 am

1. this looks amazingly delicious, and I don’t even really like shrimp that much.

2. i figure since we live in the same city, it’s only fair that you become my personal chef. :) I’ll just stop by on my way home from work to pick up my dinners. deal?

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LMF January 20, 2012 at 9:43 am

This looks so good! And probably much healthier than the PF Changs version. Thanks!

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Tara@Sugar Spice and Bacon January 20, 2012 at 10:27 am

This looks delicious! I am thinking about sautĂ©ing some veggies and tossing them in the sauce as well. Maybe carrot sticks and some colorful bell peppers…Oh and even though you said no to on the recipe, I love taking tiny bites of the chili peppers to spice things up! :)

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Angela @ Happy Fit Mama January 20, 2012 at 10:50 am

Looks so good! PF Changs has awesome sauces. Thanks for the home version!

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Laura @ She Eats Well January 20, 2012 at 11:22 am

This looks so so yummy. And I love that there aren’t too many ingredients; keepin’ it simple. I like!

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D of Long Running Discussion January 20, 2012 at 11:24 am

Thanks for the recipe, I will have to try making this sometime soon. NoMeatAthlete turned me onto Masa Harina (cornmeal made with lyme) that could be interesting to try on this dish.
Thanks!

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Cascia Talbert (The Healthy Moms Magazine) January 20, 2012 at 11:25 am

That looks and sounds delicious!

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Living The Sweet Life January 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Looks so yummy and seems so easy to make – - total win in my books :)

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Kiah January 20, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Way to stick with it! I would have tossed in the towel (erm, apron) after the first mediocre taste…’cuz that’s what I have YOU for!

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Kristen @ notsodomesticated January 21, 2012 at 5:40 am

My husband would absolutely love this recipe! He adores the orange chicken from PF Changs, and this would be a great alternative!

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Melanie January 21, 2012 at 8:31 am

Where is there a local PF Changs? I have a $10 gift certificate. Actually, I’ll probably never use it… you can just have it. Love! :)

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jenna January 21, 2012 at 8:34 am

hahaha save it! :) The PF changs is in Corte Madera…

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Kristin @ FoodFash January 21, 2012 at 8:53 am

I haven’t been to PF Changs in years, but I’d stick to same dish every time too. Their lemon scallops are divine…

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Margarita January 21, 2012 at 10:39 am

Jenna, your pictures are so gorgeous… The colors are very vivid. Love the angles that you use! What kind of camera do you have?

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Shamekia Jenkins January 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm

I know what’s for dinner. Thanks for the inspiration! YUM YUMMMMMM!

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Moni'sMeals January 21, 2012 at 3:26 pm

YUM! I also was at PF Changs last weekend. Hehe. :)
This is brilliant and so beautiful!! I hope to make it.

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Andrea @ The Skinny Chronicles January 21, 2012 at 11:38 pm

I think I’ve said this before, but you’ve really outdone yourself this time. I am drooling and my stomach is growling. Your blood orange soda pretty much rocks too.

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Sarah MacMillan January 22, 2012 at 12:09 am

Makin this tonight- for real! I bought all of the ingredients yesterday =) Looks soooo good

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Emily @ Life on Food January 22, 2012 at 4:00 am

Wonderful yumminesss! I make an orange chicken that uses marmalade. Using it with shrimp is making my mouth water. I guess I have been missing something by not going to a PF Changs.

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Maria @ Beautiful Busy Bee January 22, 2012 at 6:28 am

Happy Chinese New Year! This looks really delicious. :)

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anon January 22, 2012 at 11:11 am

Jenna this was truly extraordinary! I made it last night. I want to try it with tofu. thank you thank you.

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Tasha January 22, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Oh this looks amazing and I just happen to have some extra oranges on hand. I like anything that tastes like it came from PF Changs. Always a winner!

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Nadine January 22, 2012 at 5:36 pm

I made this for dinner tonight, and it was ah-mazing. It was very spicy; I used serrano chilies instead of Thai. My husband said it was “SPICY but badass!”. Thanks for the great recipe!

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Crystal January 24, 2012 at 5:51 am

Made this last night and my family, especially my 11 year old, loved it. I cook for my MIL who is a stroke patient and on a 1500mg sodium a day diet, so I completely left out the soy sauce. Also left out the peppers because I couldn’t find any and thought they might be a bit much for us anyway. Still a great sweet/heat combo. Thanks for the great recipe!

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Barclay January 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Crazy good recipe. Used jalapeno jelly as an experiment and it was good…& very spicy. Those that don’t like really spicy might want to remember to leave the Thai peppers out of this version.

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jenna January 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm

jalepeno jelly?! sounds amazing!

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Kelley January 25, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Made this tonight and omg was it good. Fabulous recipe, definitely going into the rotation! I left out the peppers because my bf isn’t into spicy but it was still amazing.

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Jon January 27, 2012 at 7:12 am

I made this a few days ago and while it was tasty, it was not my favorite. Personally, I found the whole dish overwhelmingly bitter due to the marmalade. The back of my palate was so, for lack of a better word, uncomfortable that I couldn’t even finish my plate. I will make it again, but next time I will use something along the line of apple jelly instead… I want to maintain that sticky-sweet fruit flavor but remove that excessive bitter orange peel feeling.

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Katie May 15, 2013 at 10:28 am

Jon, I wonder if you had an off tasting marmalade, or whether you grated too much of the white part of the peel into your batch?

I zested 1/2 orange, careful not to go beyond the orange part. Then I peeled off the other half whole and used a spoon to remove that inner, bitter white part. THEN I sliced what was left into pieces about 1/8″ wide and 1/2″ – 3/4″ long. I simmered these with the sauce for about a half an hour (recipe doesn’t say to cook sauce that long, but mine was pretty liquid-y so it took longer to thicken).

I substituted red chili sauce (found in Asian food aisle) for the peppers and that worked well to crank up the heat.

There was no bitterness, and it tasted great.

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Lindsey February 19, 2012 at 10:38 am

I enjoyed making this so much! The amount of spicy and sweetness was divine! will be making this for my man-friend again soon! Thanks!

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