Chinese Orange Chicken

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When dinner time came around yesterday my head was feeling totally scrambled.  I had decided to change the kids bedrooms around to encourage a few ring-leaders to drift off to sleep a bit faster than they had been lately and this required taking back the spare bedroom we had been using as a toy room.  What a job.  It was all totally unplanned, an act of impulsiveness and needed to be done quickly.  My day was full enough already.  Well, I’m happy to say that it worked.  Splitting up two kids in particular led to children in bed on time reading to themselves or younger siblings and dropping off to sleep well before it was time for lights-out. Wow!!  The down-side is that my hall is now hip-deep in toys that need to find a new home today because we are expecting visitors tomorrow.  A small price to pay for some time to ourselves at the end of the day, but where to put them?

Moving on to dinner, Mr8 had a meeting he needed to get to so we needed to eat early and fast.  You might think Chinese Orange Chicken sounds extravagant, but it’s not.  You just combine all of your sauce ingredients in a saucepan and place it on the stove to simmer away next to your rice while you chop and cook your chicken. Then you just thicken your sauce while your broccoli is in the microwave, then toss it all together and serve.  Easy!  And so, so very good.  Just what I needed at the end of such a crazy day.  We’ve never had Orange Chicken before and we all absolutely loved it, especially the kids, so I’m putting it on my list of Easy Mid-Week Meals that everyone eats.

Chinese Orange Chicken

Ingredients:

4-6 Chicken Breasts cut into bite-sized pieces (depending on how many people you are feeding)

1  Cup  Plain Flour

1/4 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Pepper

Olive Oil (You could use Canola)

Sauce:

1 1/2 Cups of  Water

1/4 Cup Orange Juice

1/4 Cup Lemon Juice

1/3 Cup Rice Vinegar

2 1/2 Tbl Soy Sauce

1 Tbl Grated Orange Zest

1 Cup Brown Sugar, packed

1/2 tsp Fresh Ginger, grated

1 Garlic Clove, minced

1/4 tsp Chilli Flakes

3 Tbl Cornflour mixed with 2 Tbl Water

For Serving:

1 Head of Broccoli cut into florets

2 Spring Onions, sliced on the diagonal (unless you are like me and are too tired to remember them)

Directions

Combine all of your sauce ingredients in a saucepan, except for the cornflour and water.  You will use this to thicken your sauce at the end.

Bring sauce to the boil, then reduce to simmer while you prepare your chicken and broccoli.  This is a good time to get your rice on.

Heat the oil in your pan about 2-3cms deep. You want it hot enough to sizzle madly when you drop your chicken in, but not hot enough to just burn the chicken.

Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl and toss your chicken pieces in the mixture to lightly coat it on all sides.

Add your chicken to the pan of oil in small batches until it is golden and crispy and no longer pink inside.  Remove to a plate covered in paper towel to drain off the excess oil and cook another small batch of chicken.  Repeat until all chicken is done.

Now you can cook your broccoli.  Steam it, microwave it, it doesn’t really matter.

And while you are at it, check that rice!

While the broccoli is cooking combine the cornflour and water in a small bowl.  Turn up the heat of your sauce just a little and drizzle in about half of the cornflour mixture, whisking your sauce quickly to avoid lumps of cornflour forming in your sauce.

Now I wanted my sauce a bit runny, so I only used half of this cornflour mixture, but if you want your sauce to cling to your chicken in a sticky mess you may like to use all of it.  It’s a matter of preference really.  Play with it and make it the way you like it.

Place your chicken and broccoli in a large bowl and when the sauce is ready, add it to the bowl and toss everything together making sure the chicken is completely coated in the sauce.

Serve with rice and  garnish with spring onions (if you can remember them).

Notes:  This recipe is loosely based on a recipe I was trying to follow but was so tired I made some mistakes with ingredient quantities, but it actually turned out nicely, so I’m sticking with my version which is listed above.

Because I used 7 chicken breasts to feed my family I doubled the sauce, which turned out to be completely unnecessary, so here I have listed the ingredients for one batch of the sauce.  If you are feeding a crowd and like lots of sauce make 1 1/2 times the quantity, but you really won’t need to double it.

I don’t like my broccoli covered in sauce so I have served it on the side, and by now you all know that I forgot to garnish the dish with the spring onions, but it makes no difference to the flavour of the dish, it just looks impressive.

The original recipe can be found at http://www.mealplanning101.com/2010/02/chinese-orange-chicken.html

 

 

 

 

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