I don’t think I’ve shared this with you yet, but I enjoy Asian food. I know…groundbreaking as that may be. “Wow, did you hear that? Lacey likes another type of food. Shocking.”
I’ve talked a lot about how much I love certain types of food on this blog, but not so much with Asian food. Well, that is going to change…somewhat.
You see, though I love to eat Chinese, Japanese, Thai food and the like, I’m not as comfortable with the actual cooking part. With the exception of Asian Lettuce Wraps (post coming soon!), egg rolls, fried rice and the occasional stir-fry, I rarely make anything “Asian” at home.
I’m much more comfortable cooking Italian food (for more on that, see my Chicken Parmesan, Simple Tomato Sauce and Italian Sausage and Mushroom Stuffed Manicotti posts). I guess I scare easily with stuff I’m not used to (for more on that, see my Chicken Cordon Bleu post). Plus, I don’t usually get that Aha! moment when I realize I can probably make that at home, like I do with other cuisines.
That’s what makes this Easy Orange Chicken so fantastic. Not only is it quite a simple meal to make but you probably have most, if not all, the ingredients in your pantry or refrigerator. Plus, it’s a healthy Chinese recipe that is very fresh, light and vibrant. The chicken is not deep fried, which — sadly — is always a good start towards making a dish more healthy.
The orange zest, grated ginger and red pepper flakes create a wonderful depth of flavor. You may even be surprised you actually made it (well, I was, at least). Orange Chicken is probably my favorite Chinese entree, so it’s great to have this go-to recipe at home.
Easy Orange Chicken
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
kosher salt to coat
freshly ground black pepper, to coat
1 broccoli crown, cut into florets
2 green onions, thinly sliced
For the Sauce:
1 1/2 cups water plus 2 tbsp, divided
2 tbsp. orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. grated orange zest
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp. cornstarch
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine all the ingredients for the sauce except for the cornstarch and 2 tbsp. water. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Once the sauce has started boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, while chicken and broccoli are being prepared.
Steam (or boil, if you prefer) broccoli florets until almost no longer crisp, approximately 5-8 minutes. Test with a fork: if the fork easily pierces the florets, they are done. Careful not to overcook, as the broccoli will fall apart when mixed with the sauce and chicken.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Generously sprinkle kosher salt and pepper over both sides of the chicken breasts. Lay chicken in pan and cook until browned on each side and cooked through, approximately 8-12 minutes. Once cooked through, allow to cool enough to handle, approximately 5 minutes. Slice into bite-size pieces and set aside.
Turn the heat on the sauce to medium. In a small mixing bowl, mix the cornstarch with 2 tbsp. water in order to combine and avoid lumps. Add the cornstarch mixture to the rest of the sauce and stir to combine. You will notice the sauce begin to thicken quickly. Stir for a minute or two until well thickened. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, gently toss together the broccoli, chicken and sauce. Garnish with thinly sliced green onions, if desired. Serve with (or over) white rice (I use — and love — jasmine rice).