Oranges taste great on their own; I hardly know anyone who doesn’t like them. They are a mind-blowing combination with chocolate, second only to mint, and are used extensively in desserts. But never in a million years had I expected to fall head-over-heals in love with oranges in an entrée. I’ve been obsessed with Orange Chicken ever since I tried it some four odd years ago at a Chinese Restaurant.
Like all recipes I’m obsessed with, I tried recreating this sweet and sour concoction with a hint (subjective) of spice last weekend. After some experimentation, I got the flavor profile I was looking for; in retrospect, I should have left out a few ingredients that gave the dish some outlandish undertones, a clashing after-taste, if you may. The recipe below doesn’t include those ingredients so you should be able to enjoy a mouth-watering Orange Chicken. I strongly recommend serving this gravy with Chinese Fried Rice (leave me a comment if you want me to post a recipe).
- ½ kg chicken (cut into one-inch cubes)
- ½ cup + ½ cup fresh orange juice (I used navel oranges)
- ½ tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp fresh orange zest
- 5 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
- 1” cube of ginger (finely chopped)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp chili sauce
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- I tsp Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ tsp white pepper powder
- ½ tsp chili flakes (optional)
- ½ tsp black pepper powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp chicken powder
- 1 tbsp corn flour
- 5-7 dried red chilies (optional – I used African bird’s eye chili)
- 1 tbsp peanuts (salted and roasted)
- 2-3 spring onion stalks (one-inch pieces)
- ½ green bell pepper (medium sized – cut into cubes)
- 1 onion (medium sized – cut into cubes)
- ¼ tsp MSG (a.k.a. ajino moto)
- 3 tbsp sesame oil
- Pinch of salt (optional)
- 2 tsp honey (optional)
- Mix chicken, black pepper and corn flour and set it aside
- Heat sesame oil in a pan and add in garlic and ginger
- After a minute or so, add chicken to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes
- Mix in chili flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, MSG, and white pepper and let it sit for a minute
- Add in ½ cup orange juice and lemon juice and let it cook for 2 minutes
- Add soy sauce, chili sauce and vinegar to the chicken and cook on high flame
- Once the sauces have dried out a bit, add in peanuts, dried chilies and the remaining ½ cup orange juice to it
- When the juice evaporates again, add in Worcestershire sauce, chicken powder, green peppers, onions and the spring onion
- At this point, taste the chicken and see if you need salt (as the sauces used are already salty) or honey (if you feel the chicken is a bit on the sour side – mainly because of the oranges used)
- Give the chicken a good mix and turn off the flame
- Take out in a serving bowl and garnish with some fresh orange zest
Serve without waiting another second – make sure you have the Fried Rice ready beforehand. Any comments and suggestions are always welcome.
For those of us who find solace in fiction, Sherlock Holmes is a very familiar name. I was pleasantly surprised to find a restaurant named after him in the heart of London. Absolutely beautiful!
We all love Chinese food and more often than not, rely on restaurants to satisfy our cravings. If I talk about myself, my Chinese experience is never complete without a serving of Chicken Chow Mein; it’s a no-brainer that this is one of the first things I order. This is also one of those things that most restaurants don’t get right.
My wife makes a mean Chow Mein which is universally loved by everyone in our family. If you talk about authenticity, this is a Pakistan-ized version similar to what’s served in restaurants across the country. I often hear people complaining why they are unable to prepare restaurant-style Chow Mein at home; well, here’s her secret. She cooks everything separately and assembles the Chow Mein towards the end; this not only keeps everything from turning into mush, but also gives a distinct flavour profile in every bite.
On those lazy nights when you don’t feel like going out or ordering in, what more could you want than a plate of piping hot stir-fried noodles? So here’s how you can prepare some in the confines of your own kitchen.
Prep Time: 35 mins
Serves: 3-4 people
- 300 grams egg noodles (or rice noodles, depending on your preference)
- 150 grams boneless chicken (cut into 1 cm thin strips)
- 2 medium-sized carrots (thin 1-inch julienne cut)
- ½ green bell pepper (julienne cut – if red and yellow bell peppers aren’t available, use 1 green bell pepper)
- ¼ red bell pepper (julienne cut)
- ¼ yellow bell pepper (julienne cut)
- 125 gm cabbage (thinly sliced)
- 2 spring onions (one inch pieces)
- 1 medium onion (thickly sliced)
- 6-7 garlic cloves (crushed)
- 4 tablespoon sesame oil (use vegetable oil if sesame is not available)
- 6 tablespoon soy sauce with honey-like consistency (if using the watery version, double the quantity)
- 6-8 tablespoon chili sauce (to taste)
- 2+1 teaspoon salt (2 teaspoon salt required while boiling noodles)
- ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon chinese salt (Ajino Moto or MSG – optional)
- A pinch of sesame seeds (for garnish)
- Set aside all ingredients before starting to work on this recipe
- Boil noodles as per the instructions on the box; add two teaspoon salt during the process
- Drain the water and let the noodles cool
- In a wok, stir fry all the bell peppers in ½ teaspoon sesame oil for two minutes; take it out in a bowl once done
- Next, stir fry the cabbage in ½ teaspoon sesame oil for two minutes; set it aside once done
- Stir fry the thickly sliced onion in ½ teaspoon sesame oil for two minutes; set it aside once done
- Stir fry the carrots in ½ teaspoon sesame oil for two minutes; set it aside once done
- In a sauce pan, add all the remaining sesame oil along with soy sauce, chili sauce, black pepper, chinese salt, salt, chili flakes, and half of the garlic; cook for 3 minutes till the consistency is thick
- Once all vegetables have been separately stir-fried, add half of the remaining sesame oil and the garlic in a wok
- After a minute, add the chicken and cook for 4-5 mins (or till the chicken is tender) with the lid on
- Add in the noodles to the chicken and stir-fry for 2 minutes
- Add in the stir fried vegetables one by one and mix well
- Add the sauce to the noodles and cook for 2 minutes
- Finally, add in the spring onions and turn the heat off
- Garnish with sesame seeds and serve immediately!
Ciao (or should I say, Chow?)!
For someone who’s fasting during Ramadan, Iftaar is a special moment, and what makes it more special is the company of some new-found friends over a spectacular culinary experience. I was graciously invited to a bloggers’ Iftaar at Liwan, one of several restaurants at Al Ghurair Rayhaan by Rotana, and I almost didn’t go before actually deciding to; turns out, it was a good decision.
Even though this is a photo-blog, not a restaurant review, I will not hesitate to mention that the tantalizing dessert selection is by far the best around.
Let the feast for the eyes begin!