Zesty Orange Chicken

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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).

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Ingredients:

  • 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)

Method:

  1. Mix chicken, black pepper and corn flour and set it aside
  2. Heat sesame oil in a pan and add in garlic and ginger
  3. After a minute or so, add chicken to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes
  4. Mix in chili flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, MSG, and white pepper and let it sit for a minute
  5. Add in ½ cup orange juice and lemon juice and let it cook for 2 minutes
  6. Add soy sauce, chili sauce and vinegar to the chicken and cook on high flame
  7. Once the sauces have dried out a bit, add in peanuts, dried chilies and the remaining ½ cup orange juice to it
  8. When the juice evaporates again, add in Worcestershire sauce, chicken powder, green peppers, onions and the spring onion
  9. 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)
  10. Give the chicken a good mix and turn off the flame
  11. 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.

Enjoy!

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Triple-layer Cream Cake Dessert

Triple-layer Cream Cake

There are some culinary combinations that gel together nicely and this recipe explores one such combination; cake, instant jelly and custard. This here is a very simple yet amazingly tempting dessert that’s ideal for Ramadan. The best part is that it requires very little cooking time. Also, nothing is set in stone here so feel free to experiment with different flavors and combinations.

Ingredients

  • Chocolate/marble cake
  • Swiss Rolls (I prefer chocolate but you can use any flavor)
  • Vanilla-flavored custard powder (again, you can have any flavor you like)
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Instant Jelly (cherry or strawberry – because it adds a little color to your dessert)
  • Fresh fruits (bananas and apples go well with this dessert but feel free to experiment)
  • Melted chocolate (for chocolate cream and topping)
Method
  • Cut your fruits into small chunks and spread them evenly along the base of your serving dish
  • Cook the instant jelly and pour it over the fruits
  • Put the serving dish into the freezer to cool
  • Make a batch of custard using the custard powder, milk, and sugar – the consistency of this should be thin (but slightly thicker than what you’d call ‘watery’)
  • Take half of the hot custard and mix in some melted chocolate; this will be your chocolate cream
  • Let the chocolate cream cool down in the refrigerator
  • Remove the serving dish from the freezer; make sure the jelly is set properly
  • Cut the Swiss rolls into thin slices and place them along the sides of the serving dish
  • Remove the cooled chocolate cream and pour it into the center of the dish; spread it evenly so that it covers the entire dish
  • Cut your marble/chocolate cake into chunks and spread it over the chocolate cream layer
  • Now pour the remaining hot vanilla cream custard over the cake chunks; as the consistency is thin, the cake should be able to soak in the cream nicely
  • Put the serving dish immediately into the refrigerator
  • After 1 hour, top it off with some melted chocolate
  • Serve chilled!
The recipe yields a dessert that has a very unique texture and feels really good in your mouth. Enjoy and remember me in your prayers!

NOTE: As the recipe is fairly straight-forward, I have taken the liberty to leave out the exact quantities. The idea here is to demonstrate the layering of the dessert and the soaking of the cakes.