Orange Asian Chicken

Is there anything more consistently delicious than chinese takeout? Nope. It’s greasy. It’s saucy. It’s sweet and salty. It’s everything that is so, so good – and so, so bad for you.

I’ve definitely never worked in a chinese food place – but I can make a few assumptions. I can assume that the grease comes from vegetable oil, full of trans fat (you won’t find a bottle of vegetable oil anywhere in my pantry.) I can also assume that the sweet and salty sauces you find in dishes like “General Tso’s” or “Sesame Chicken” consist primarily of corn syrup. And heaps of salt.

For these reasons, I am always on the lookout for asian recipes to make at home – this allows me to incorporate yummy asian flavors without all the terrible ingredients.

In this recipe, the chicken is cooked in hot olive oil, and finishes cooking in a low oven. The sauce has no artificial or syrup-based ingredients. The chicken marinates for several hours so the flavor isn’t just on the outside, but on the inside, too.

Served alongside steamed edamame, over hot rice with the orange sauce drizzled on top, this asian chicken is seriously one of the top ten recipes that I’ve ever – ever! – made.

Orange Asian Chicken

Sauce
1.5 C water
2 TBS freshly squeezed orange juice
juice from one lemon
1/3 C rice vinegar
2.5 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS grated orange zest
1 C brown sugar
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS chopped green onion
1/2 TSP red pepper flakes

2 tsp cornstarch
1 TBS water

Chicken
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – cut into 1-inch pieces
1 C flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 C olive oil

1. Pour water, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar and soy sauce into small saucepan and place over medium-high heat on the stove. Stir in the orange zest, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, green onions and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and stir well. Remove from heat, and cool 10-15 minutes.

2. Place the chicken pieces into a 1-quart resealable bag. Add 1 cup of the cooled sauce. Reserve the remaining sauce. Place the chicken in the fridge to marinate for 2-3 hours.

3. Place the flour, salt and pepper into a separate resealable bag. Add the marinated chicken pieces and shake well until all pieces are coated.

4. Preheat an oven to 220 degrees. Heat olive oil over med-high heat in a large skillet. Working in three batches, add chicken to hot oil and brown well on all sides. Do not move the chicken around while its browning – let it sit to develop the nice color. When each batch is done browning, place on a cookie sheet in the low oven.

5. In a small saucepan, heat the reserved sauce over low-medium heat. It should thicken slightly over several minutes. Place chicken pieces on a bed of hot jasmine rice and drizzle the thickened orange sauce over the chicken.

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