Monday, August 20, 2012

Finally -- Orange Chicken Mastered

Do you ever eat out and love a dinner and try to duplicate it at home.  Only to fail, and fail and FAIL AGAIN-- Sometimes in disasterous fashion.  Orange Chicken has been my nemesis for ages.  I love it in a restaurant, but every recipe I have tried from online just isn't right.

I am proud to say that FINALLY, I have mastered Orange Chicken-- and made it a smidge healthier in the process.  I reduced the sugar as much as possible, and I developed a technique that adds a tempoura dipped and fried feeling to baked chicken.  Over all YUMMY!

Erica's Orange Chicken
Marinate 1 lb chicken breast (cut into 1 inch cubes) in:
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sugar

For Tempura:
1/4 cup flour
1 egg white

3-5 cups cut veggies for stir fry (I do 4 ribs celery, 2 bell peppers, 4 green onion)
1 small can water chestnuts

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice (fresh is best)
2 Tbsp vinegar (I used cider vinegar)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
ginger (my family hates ginger so we didn't have it in ours)
1 1/2 tsp orange zest

Marinate chicken for 30 minutes while you chop veggies and pre-heat the oven to 400.    Set aside veggies.  Drain marinade off chicken.  In a small bowl or zip bag, combine egg white and flour.   Add chicken and mix to coat evenly.  Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Seperate chicken pieces and arrange on cookie sheet.  Bake chicken for 8-10 minutes until cooked through and golden brown.

Combine ingredients for sauce (reserve orange zest for the end)  in a seperate bowl mixing well to dissolve the cornstarch.  While chicken is baking, pull out your trusty wok and heat it to medium-high heat.  Add veggies and stir fry.  When veggies are crisp tender pour the sauce into the wok.  Add the cooked chicken.  Stir together; allow to cook over medium heat until sauce is thick and shiny.  Add Orange Zest NOW!   Serve over rice.

Feeds my family of 6 picky eaters

FYI:  My kids hate spice, so I put the pepper flakes on the table to add as desired to the meal.  Bill and I eat them. Kids forgo the pleasure.

Make ahead strategies:  You can marinate and cook the chicken ahead of time.  Chill the meat then freeze until the day you want to eat it.  The sauce can be made ahead of time and chilled or frozen.

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