Location: San Diego, CA
Did you all have a fun weekend/Valentine’s? We’re not huge on Valentine’s Day, however, I did make coffee and gave my husband the last of it and I made him breakfast. We took our son to the park and pretty much kept it low key. Also for some good news – I actually feel like I’m finally getting over my cold or whatever it was, and have way more energy now (knock on wood). Just in time because my cousin, who’s a hot air balloon pilot (so cool!) is coming into town tonight with her friend and we’re all going to The Price is Right for her birthday! YAY! Pick me, pick me! No, really – actually they should pick her because her birthday was on Valentine’s day and she had to work!
I have a way of letting the topic at hand get away from me. Well let me bring you back to the subject, Pep’s on the set….. no? Don’t know the lyrics? It’s okay, we’re here to talk about Orange Chicken….well, “Healthy-ish” Orange Chicken, anyway. What makes it “Healthy-ish?” Well, for one – I bake the chicken instead of frying it. I also use organic or low sodium options for the ingredients. Pretty much it.
Okay. So here’s the low down. One of my clients and his wife welcomed a baby girl into the world about 2 weeks ago. A food chain was set up and I was responsible for last Thursday. I gave them a few options and they chose Orange Chicken. I said it’s probably because I’m Asian and they said they couldn’t go wrong there. I kind of agree because I love the food but all the stereotypes don’t really fit me. Even if I tried. I wish some of them did though – I could use it…. no hate there my fellow Asians ✌️. Anyway, I quickly mustered up the energy and got going…. First, preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Gather all the ingredients and start prepping. Cut the chicken up into bite sized pieces and put aside.
To get the batter going, mix the egg, white pepper, and vegetable oil (I know I didn’t post the picture, but trust me – you need it). In a larger bowl, combine the rest of the batter ingredients – Flour, Cornstarch, and Salt. Throw in the chicken and mix that bad boy up until all the chicken is coated. If the batter is too crumbly (like the picture above, which is what you want if frying), add in a little more oil and maybe half an egg.
The consistency above is what you want for baking. You’d want to get that consistency before adding the chicken, though. Was that confusing? Hope not. Anyway, lay all that gooey chicken out on a sheet pan and bake for 7 minutes, then the tedious part comes. Flip all the chicken over and bake for about 5-7 more minutes. Don’t overcook it though because it’s going back over heat.
It’s really important to get this step out of the way before the chicken is finished cooking and before you turn the stove on. The whole process goes by really fast once you get cooking. Combine all the ingredients (excluding the actual orange). **Quick tip on zesting – work in one direction and make sure whatever you’re zesting is dry.** Put that aside and get moving on to the next step. We’re trying to beat the chicken baking time.
THE DURING COOKING INGREDIENTS
You won’t need any of these ingredients until you start the cooking process, however, you should definitely prep everything before you do. Chop the green onions, mince the garlic and the ginger. **Another little tidbit – use a spoon to peel the skin of the ginger. It’ll peel more of the skin rather than the meat.**
The chicken should be ready to go at this point, and everything else is all prepped. Grab a glass of wine, or beer, or mocktail and celebrate, because we’re almost done.
NOW IT’S TIME TO WOK AND WOLL
Typically a wok would be used. The way it’s designed can handle a lot of heat and circulates the heat a certain way. I don’t own one, so I’m using the closest pan I have to one. On high heat, heat up the Sesame Oil and a tablespoon of Vegetable Oil (don’t use Olive Oil because it doesn’t handle the heat the same way and gives a funny taste). Stir the Garlic and Ginger for about 5 seconds, then add the Crushed Peppers and Green Onion. Stir for about 5 seconds then add the Sherry. Now the fun part – pour in the Orange Sauce mix and keep stirring until it boils.
Add the chicken and toss, and turn, and coat, and lather, and smell the yumminess. If the sauce is thick enough for your liking then cool. Stick with it. If not, make a cornstarch slurry (1 tbsp cornstarch and 1/4 c cold water) and dump that baby in.
Voilá! That’s it. You’re done. The elephant platter and little plant I bought when I seriously tried to Feng Shui my office, are an ode to this Asian dish. My plating skills still need some work, but I think I did it justice. Oh and before I forget…. Happy Chinese New Year! I think it just passed, though. See? Bad Asian. Working on it. Alright, enough with that. I hope you give the recipe a try and like it as much as I do. Until we meet again, ✌️.
“Healthy-ish” Orange Chicken
Prep Time: 15 Min Cook Time: 20-25 Min Serves: 6
2 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 Organic Egg
1 Tsp Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1/4 C Organic Flour
1/2 C Cornstarch
1 Tsp White Pepper
-Preheat oven to 375ºF.
-In a small bowl, combine the egg, salt, and vegetable oil. Mix well.
-In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, and white pepper.
-Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until blended. If the mixture is too clumpy, add in a little bit of oil and egg until you reach the desired consistency.
-Toss in the chicken until all coated and spread out on a sheet pan.
-Bake for 7 minutes on the first side, flip, then bake for another 5-7 minutes.
-Do not overcook.
Orange Sauce Ingredients:
3 Tbsp Liquid Aminos or Low Sodium Soy Sauce
3 Tbsp Water
2/3 C Organic Raw Sugar or Organic Coconut Sugar
2/3 C White Vinegar
2 Oranges, zest only
-In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together. Set aside.
1/2 Tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Tbsp Ginger, Minced
1 Tsp Garlic, Minced
1/4 C Green Onions, Chopped in 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 Tsp Crushed Red Chili Peppers
1 Tbsp Sherry or Rice Wine
1 Tbsp Cornstarch (Optional)
1/4 C Water (Optional)
-Heat the sesame oil and vegetable oil in a wok or large frying pan, on high heat.
-Add the ginger and garlic, and stir for about 5 seconds.
-Add the crushed chili peppers and green onions, and stir for another 5 seconds.
-Add the sherry, and stir to combine.
-Pour in the Orange Sauce and stir until it comes to a boil.
-Add the baked chicken and stir until it’s all coated.
-If the sauce isn’t thick enough from the flour on the chicken, create a slurry from the optional cornstarch and water.
-Add the slurry to the chicken and stir until thickened.
-Serve over rice and it’s best to eat it while it’s hot.