Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken1I have to admit, I’m so tired of chicken dishes I had pretty much stopped eating chicken.  That’s fine for me, as I mainly eat a plant-based diet but my family likes meat so I decided to try to create some new flavor profiles that we would enjoy.  My mom, who is 90, loves orange chicken.  It’s her go-to whenever we order chinese food, but I just cringe at all that battered skin dripping in sauce, knowing that none of us needs that extra saturated fat so I decided to lighten this up.

I am completely obsessed with this recipe, making in twice over the weekend, it’s my new winner, winner chicken dinner.  I’m sure I will be making this for any guest until I’m orange-chickened out!  I have a tendency to repeat good recipes while I’m hot for them, so December is likely to be my Orange-Chicken month.   It will give my guests a break from Vegan Caesar Salad that was my favorite summer recipe.

This dish would also be an awesome appetizer dish, just have some toothpicks handy and everyone can dive in.  I can assure you, there won’t be any leftovers.  The chicken is tender, sweet, savory and tangy all at once that is a bit addicting, but a lot less calories and fat than the standard recipe.

Note:  You might have some issue finding golden balsamic vinegar, you could substitute with white wine, rice vinegar, or white wine vinegar.  I buy my vinegars online from Napa Valley Naturals.  I encourage you to try ordering a few bottles online.  I order them 6 bottles at a time and typically get free shipping that way.   They make an incredible Grand Reserve Balsamic as well as the delicious golden balsamic, fig, sherry, and several other flavors as well.  I love them all.  (And a nice bottle of vinegar for a hosting gift or stocking stuffer for the chef in your family might be really appreciated this time of year).  HINT!

Orange Chicken

Serves 4

  • 4   – 6 oz Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (Cut into 1” Cubes)
  • 4 Teaspoons Freshly Grated Ginger
  • 2 Large Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce, Divided
  • 1 Tablespoon Golden Balsamic Vinegar (or White Wine Vinegar)
  • 1 Tablespoon Sherry Wine
  • 1 Tablespoons Water for Marinade and 2 Tablespoons for the Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Chili Oil (or ¼ Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes)
  • ½ Cup Orange Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Orange Marmalade
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 4 Tablespoons Corn Starch, Divided
  • Canola Oil for Frying
  • 2 Green Onions, Sliced Thin for Garnish
  1. Whisk together 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, water, vinegar, sherry, ginger, 1 tablespoon water and garlic in a large covered bowl.  Add cubed chicken, stir well to coat all the chicken pieces.  Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.  You can complete this step hours ahead; the chicken will just be more flavorful.
  2. When you are ready to make your chicken, lay out all the pieces on a paper-towel lined cookie sheet and pat the pieces dry. (This helps with the browning process).
  3. In a large bowl, add 3 tablespoons of cornstarch and toss the chicken pieces to coat well.
  4. In large skillet, heat canola oil (likely 2 – 3 tablespoons) depending on your pan. When the oil is hot, gently lay cubes of chicken in the pan, being careful not to crowd the pieces.  Cook in batches, turning to brown the cubes well and cooking the chicken through, about 10 minutes per batch adding additional oil if necessary.   Set aside.
  5. While the chicken is browning, in a small sauce pan, mix the remaining soy sauce, marmalade, honey, chili oil (or flakes) and orange juice. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat setting to low.  In a separate small bowl, mix together the remaining 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with a couple tablespoons of water to make a slurry.  Add to the sauce and simmer until thickened, about 1 minute.  The sauce should coat the back of a spoon when done.
  6. Pour the hot thickened sauce over the chicken and fold gently to coat. Garnish with green onions.
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