Prior to Finding out about Bean’s food allergies and also changing our diets to have drastically less processed food, TJs orange chicken or orange chicken from a favorite Chinese restaurant was a staple in our diet. We love orange chicken, even if it isn’t “real” Chinese food.
Problem is that most recipes have wheat and egg in them for the crispy battered pieces. I have been craving this dish and decided I would attempt a version our whole family could enjoy.
I was successful. Sort of. Bean is in a really picky phase again so she didn’t eat much. Boo! Everyone else loved it though.
I will note that my orange chicken is very orange flavored. I think the TJs version has a different ratio of soy sauce to orange. So if you make this and think my version is too orange, reduce the orange and up the soy.
This is the second recipe I have mentioned gluten free flour mix. I am not using a specific brand. I just recently decided to combine all my gluten free flours because I was tired if pulling a little from each bag. If you typically use a mix like Pamela’s, I am sure that would work fine.
I looked at a few different recipes yesterday before experimenting with this one last night. Most recipes called for dipping the chicken in egg before coating it in a mixture of flour and spices. If you can have wheat and eggs, you might try that. Another trick I used to use when making fried chicken was the self rising flour which I believe has baking powder and baking soda in it. The combination of eggs and this will probably produce a more crispy chicken if that is what you are going for.
• 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
• 3 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate
• zest of one orange
• 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
• crushed red pepper flakes
• Chinese five spice powder
• 1 tbsp gluten free soy sauce
• 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
• 1 cup gluten free flour mix
• salt and pepper
• 2 green onions, chopped
• 1 tsp lemon juice
• 1/4 tsp sesame oil
• oil for frying
• rice and green beans to serve with
So first thing I did last night was throw my rice with the amount of water the package said in the rice cooker. Then I trimmed up my green beans and put them in the steam pan that goes on top.
Then I made the sauce. I opened up the orange juice concentrate and scooped approximately three tablespoons into a small saucepan. Then I added the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, a couple dashes of red pepper flakes, lemon juice, a couple dashes of Chinese Five Spice powder (that’s a Jamie Oliver trick right there) and about a teaspoon of the orange zest (reserve the rest). Bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally.
Note to mom: we all know how you feel about spicy food, and since you were one of the people that specifically asked for this recipe, to reduce the spice in this dish, skip or reduce the ginger, the red pepper, and the Chinese Five Spice powder. Note to everyone else: if you like your orange chicken on the spicy side, increase all those things.
While that was simmering, I cut up my two chicken breasts into bite sized cubes. Then in a ziplock bag I combined the flour, remaining orange zest, a few dashes of Chinese Five Spice powder, and a few cracks from my salt and pepper grinders.
The sauce was looking pretty good at this point so I turned off the heat and set the pan aside to cool and thicken.
I tossed the chicken in the zip lock bag, sealed it and then shook it up to coat in the flour mixture.
Then I got out my wok and put about a half inch of vegetable oil (which if you look at the label is just soy bean oil, probably not the best stuff for you) and then I also added about a quarter teaspoon of Sesame oil. I turned my heat up to medium high and when it got fragrant I added in the chicken in small batches turning each piece once until they were gold and crispy on the outside and firm. I did not cut them open to see if they were no longer still pink. I just knew, but if you are paranoid about that sort of thing or don’t just know, you may want to employ that test. You can drain the chicken on paper towels or flour sack cloths if you want.
I put all the cooked chicken in a bowl. Then I added in the green onions and the sauce. I stirred it all up until it was evenly coated.
At this point the rice and green beans were done. In another bowl I dressed the green beans with some olive oil and salt.
Then I plated everything together in one big pile. It was super yum.
This made enough for all four of us, but Stephen and I had large portions and the kids did not.