The flavor is derived from the fresh orange juice but much of the aroma comes from the orange zest. No artificial colors are necessary, believe me, if you use fresh oranges. You can use ready-to-drink orange juice if you’d rather not squeeze fresh oranges (Speedy did that for me) but if you do that, you won’t have any zest to use to create the wonderful aroma that makes this dish not only a feast for the mouth but for the nose as well.
The sauce is made by boiling together the orange juice (including the pulp), zest, and sugar. To prevent the sauce from becoming too sweet, I added the juice of one lemon. Just for some zing. A bit of contrast does wonders. To make the sauce even more aromatic, I threw in some lemon zest too.
Pour the juices into a small saucepan. Add the sugar, half of the orange zest, and half of the lemon zest. Bring to the boil without stirring. Lower the heat to medium and continue boiling until reduced and thickened. The process will take about 20 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, add a pinch of salt. While the sauce boils, cook the chicken. Dump the flour into the bowl with the chicken and toss to coat each piece well.
When the oil is hot (you should be able to see fine wisps of smoke coming from it), fry the chicken strips in batches. Ideally, each batch should contain no more than 20 pieces of chicken so that the oil retains a high temperature. If you put too many chicken pieces in a batch and the temperature of the oil drops, the chicken will turn soggy and the flour will absorb too much oil.
As each batch cooks, scoop out with a slotted spoon and place in a strainer (or on a plate covered with several layers of paper towels) to allow excess oil to drip. Transfer the cooked chicken to a platter. Pour the sauce over and around the. Garnish with the remaining orange and lemon zests, and the sliced mint leaves, if using.