Though I have never eaten Mandarin chicken at Panda Express, I love the flavor of this sweet sauce with a bit of zing. It is perfect over grilled (or air fryer-roasted) boneless chicken thighs.
If you are using the air fryer, cook at 400 for 15-18 minutes, or until crispy and cooked through:
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Another option is to grill them or use the oven, but it will take longer because of the preheat time.
At this point, I cook rice in the Instant Pot: 3 c. rice, 4 1/2 c. water, high pressure for 5 minutes, and quick release. It makes enough for some leftovers.
While the chicken is cooking, put all of the following in a saucepan and heat to boiling:
1/3 c. sugar
¼ c. soy sauce
1 T. lemon juice
½ t. minced garlic
½ t. fresh ginger
¼ c. water
1 T. cornstarch
When the sauce has thickened, remove it from the heat. Slice the cooked chicken, put it on top of the rice, and pour the sauce over it.
Serve the Mandarin chicken with steamed veggies. We especially love broccoli.