Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Saucy Seduction

A very popular dish in the States, or maybe just where we live is Orange Chicken which is battered deep fried pieces of chicken coated in an orange sauce. You can even buy packaged orange chicken in the freezer aisle or just the bottled sauce which I admit I sometimes use (although I do freshen mine with freshly squeezed orange juice and some finely shredded orange rind).

Orange Chicken is ubiquitous not only to Chinese restaurants here, but apparently has even found it's way to my niece's school cafeteria! This information came up while we were having dinner at a Malaysian restaurant in LA where one of the dishes we ordered was, yes, Orange Chicken. In Malaysia Lemon Chicken is the common dish where typically a whole thigh and drumstick would be deboned, coated in seasoned batter and deep fried. The cut up chicken is then served on the sauce which keeps the chicken crispy.

There are two ways to prepare the chicken for orange chicken. The first is to marinate it, mix in one egg, then to coat with corn starch and deep fry. The second method which is healthier, and is the recipe here, is to marinate it and then pan fry the chicken. I have to admit the deep frying gives the chicken a delicious crunchy texture and is the method that orange chicken is usually made in the restaurants. So if you're thinking of indulging that would be the way to go.

Serves 4

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast or thighs
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp sesame oil
Dash of white and black pepper

Orange Sauce
Makes 1/2 cup sauce

1 (6-ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tsp honey
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

  • Cut the chicken into 1" cubes. Mix the marinade ingredients and pour over the chicken, mix well. Leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
    Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan, fry the chicken until cooked and evenly browned. Pour over 1/4 cup sauce, mix well.
  • To make the sauce, place the orange juice concentrate, hoisin sauce, honey, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and red pepper flakes into a small saucepan, stir to combine and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the mixture to about 1/2 cup, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool at least 5 minutes.

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