So I enjoy Chinese takeout about as much as anyone else… but not as much as Ben. If he had it his way, he’d be chowing down on pseudo-Asian food every other night, with a healthy dose of meat and potatoes on the other night. Why doesn’t this happen in our house? Well, let’s see… salt, salt, MSG, salt, salt, lack of veggies, salt, salt… I think you get the picture. Oh, and I like to cook, not just get takeout. So what’s my compromise? Making takeout at home! [I bet you never saw that one coming. Ha!]
My latest attempt is a play off the ‘ole [un]authentic orange chicken. Instead of a gloopy, fake-colored sauce coating a few sad vegetables and the classic “little chicken/lots of breading,” sauted chicken, broccoli, mushrooms, and water chestnuts are tossed with a sweet-spicy orange glaze. The orange glaze is made with orange juice and [gasp!] a whole real orange. It’s amped up with fresh ginger and garlic, honey, sesame oil, soy sauce, and two kinds of pepper. Can it get any better than this?
I’m sorry, but this sweet-spicy citrus glaze has flavors that the corner Chinese place just cannot achieve! I know those places aren’t authentic, and in no way do I think my version is either. But I do know it’s good. So good in fact, that we both wanted the leftovers… a rareity in this house! Now, if only I could make brown rice as soft and pillowy as that Chinese place can…
Orange-Glazed Chicken Stir-Fry [adapted from Pretty Delicious by Candice Kumai]
click to print
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger root
- 1 3/4 cup orange juice, divided
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red chile pepper flakes
- zest of 1 orange + 1 orange, peel removed and fruit chopped into bite size pieces
- 3/4 pound chicken breasts, thinly sliced into bite size pieces
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- 1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 8 ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
- hot cooked brown rice, for serving
In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and saute, stirring continually, for 60 seconds. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in 1 1/2 cups orange juice, honey, soy sauce, cayenne, red chile pepper flakes, and orange zest. Zest Simmer gently until sauce is thick and syrupy, approximately 20 minutes.
Next, heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in an electric wok at 350 degrees. Add chicken and toss to stir-fry, cooking until all sides are golden, approximately 3-4 minutes total. Then add broccoli, mushrooms, water chestnuts, and orange chunks. Pour remaining 1/2 cup orange juice over everything, then cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until hot. [Alternatively, you could cook everything in a large skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat.
Pour in orange sauce and toss to coat. Serve over hot cooked brown rice.
Time: 30 minutes.
Yield: 4-5 servings.