Healthier Orange Chicken & Rice

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Ever since moving to Los Angeles I’ve loved the fact that we live in an area of town where there are so many Asian restaurant options. Vietnamese Pho, Korean BBQ, Japanese, Philippino … so genuine and delicious! It has caused my and hubby’s restaurant-budget to increase a bit – but man, is it worth it! Back in Tennessee the closest thing to Asian food was super-Americanized Chinese Buffets (yuck). Ever since 2011 when I returned from my month-long English teaching expedition in China, I’ve turned up my nose to American Chinese Food. Just isn’t the same…

For this reason, I’ve always wanted to learn how to make dishes like Pad Thai, jiaozi (Chinese dumplings) and rice with meat and vegetables. Sounds easy, sure. But then Asian food always has a certain flare of flavors that are difficult to replicate. Or require extensive preparation. Often I also don’t have the right spices/flavorings.

Tonight I decided to try to make Orange Chicken from scratch. Given, it’s really an American Chinese recipe but I figured it’d be pretty easy, the closest thing to the Real Thing and a lot more delicious than Panda Express. ;)

After glancing over the recipe from Epicurious, I decided to modify the fried chicken. I probably reduced the cooking time by 15 minutes and the fat content by a LOT because I merely browned the chicken in a pan on the stove. I thought about grilling/baking it to make the texture and flavor of the chicken more gourmet. But regardless, the non-fried chicken was a hit! I made this dish for my roommates and they really enjoyed it.

I served this dish over white rice because it’s faster to steam than brown. But if you wanted to increase the healthy aspect further, brown would be a great way to go. Besides fiber, brown rice also has more magnesium(aids in the body’s absorption of calcium; and the formation of bones and teeth) and rice bran oil (may lower LDL cholesterol).

P.S. If you don’t know how to cook rice, here’s a super helpful video by Jamie Oliver that introduces a fail-safe method! I use it every time I make white/basmati rice and it’s always been successful :)

Orange Chicken & Rice
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb chicken (about 2-3 chicken breasts, cut into cubes)
  2. 1/2 cup orange juice
  3. 2 tsp cornstarch
  4. 1 TBS canola oil
  5. 2 gloves garlic, minced
  6. thumb-size of ginger, grated
  7. 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or fresh red pepper)
  8. 1 TBS soysauce
  9. 1 tsp red wine vinegar (or sherry/red wine)
  10. 1 tsp cider vinegar
  11. 1 tsp sugar
Instructions
  1. After baking, grilling or frying your chicken, set it aside (but keep it warm).
  2. In a small bowl combine the orange juice and stir in the cornstarch until it dissolves.
  3. In a pan on the stove on medium-high, heat the oil, then add the garlic, ginger and fresh red pepper and saute for about 30 seconds. Then add the soysauce, vinegars, and sugar and mix for about 15 seconds until sugar is dissolved. Lastly, add the orange juice-cornstarch mixture. Let the flavors merry and the sauce to boil, then simmer it for a minute or two.
  4. Pour the sauce over the chicken (or add the chicken to the pan) and combine thoroughly with a spoon.
  5. Serve over freshly steamed rice! Garnish with green onions, red peppers, carrots and sriracha sauce!
Adapted from Epicurious
Adapted from Epicurious
Oh My Foodness! http://oh-my-foodness.com/
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