…from the California Kitchen
How you doin’? Back a couple of hundred recipes ago, I published a recipe for Cantonese Orange Chicken (Cooking Lesson #96). As I wrote at the time, this is the Americanized version of Orange Chicken. In this recipe I would like you to see what a more traditional Hunan-style Orange Chicken tastes like—it has all the orange, but some of the Hunan heat as well. The big bonus—it’s made in an Instant Pot leaving you with just one pot to clean.
All Orange Chicken recipes ask for orange in some form—juice, zest, dried peel or a combination of all three. Authentic Chinese-style orange chicken isn't battered and fried, and it's not sauced with fresh oranges or orange juice either; it calls for using dried orange peel and chili peppers instead. Those recipes can vary all over the place but they’re all in the same ballpark.
With this recipe—Instant Pot Orange Zest Chicken—I’ve come as close as I can remember to what I originally tasted in Hunan province…orange, sweet, pungent and slightly spicy.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
For the chicken prep
2 pounds chicken thighs or breasts (cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces)
1/4 cup corn starch
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
2 to 4 tablespoons peanut oil
1/4 cup Shaoxing rice cooking wine (for deglazing the sauté pan)
For the sauce
3/4 cup orange juice (no sugar added)
4 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon ginger (grated)
1/4 cup lite soy sauce (I prefer Kikkoman low sodium)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice Asian seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons Sriracha hot sauce (more if you like it spicier)
1/3 cup tomato ketchup
For optional added goodness
1 peeled tangerine segmented from small a Cutie
1/2 cup spring pea pods
1 cup bean sprouts
2 tablespoons green onion bottoms (cut in circles)
For the cornstarch slurry
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
For the top garnish
2 green onions, tops thinly sliced
1 teaspoon orange zest
Covid-19 Quip of the Day: “You can tell the pandemic is taking its toll when the doctor tells you that you are the perfect weight, but you are 4 feet too short.”
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