Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Not Your Food Court Orange Chicken

Jon's office building is part of a complex that includes a mall.  In the food court of the mall there is, among other fine dining establishments, a Panda Express.  On occasion in years past he would come home and tell me he had Orange Chicken for lunch.  I was horrified that he ate junk food, but we all want some good Asian style orange chicken once in a while.

I had a bag of oranges in the back of the refrigerator for what may have been weeks.  They were ignored after Jon said they were too juicy to eat at work and I dripped orange all over the baby.  The inspiration for orange chicken was born.

This is far better and healthier than anything you'll get in the food court.  Now I should figure out how to make Orange Julius and Cinnabon.  

Orange Chicken
based on All Recipes

Juice of 3 oranges (~3/4-1 cup)
Juice of half a lemon
1 cup water
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup mirin
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Zest of one orange
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon grated garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
1 pound chicken breasts or tenderloins, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper
olive oil
optional garnishes: sliced green onion, sesame seeds

In a saucepan combine orange juice, lemon juice, water, rice vinegar, mirin, soy sauce, orange zest, brown sugar, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. 
Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.
Allow to cool.
Marinate chicken pieces in 1 cup of sauce for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Combine flour, salt and pepper in a bowl or plastic bag.
Remove chicken from marinade and toss in flour mixture.*  Discard marinade.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Cook chicken in skillet.  Remove to a bowl.
Pour remaining sauce in the skillet and simmer to reduce.
Whisk together cornstarch and 3 tablespoons water and add to the sauce.  Cook until desired consistency is reached.
Add the chicken back into the sauce to heat through.  I added broccoli florets and snow peas at this point because I wanted to keep them crunchy but not raw. 
Serve with brown rice and vegetables.

*The point of tossing in flour before cooking is to give the chicken a slightly crispy crust.  I'd probably skip this step next time, it seemed unnecessary and would save a couple calories. 

1 comment:

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