Friday, 18 January 2013

Orange Chicken

While riding the bus past the mall the other day, I noticed an industrial-looking store kind of set back from the road. It had a parking lot out front and a big no-nonsense sign that said GROCERY OUTLET. Now, being an immigrant and only having lived here for a couple of years (and broke-ass, too, so I haven't done much exploring), I had never heard of the damn grocery outlet.

So we finally went a couple of days ago, and it was magical. Imported Italian wine for five bucks. Frozen half salmon fillets for three bucks. Cans of soup for 56c.

One of my husbands has wanted orange chicken every day for a week, but Chinese takeout is pretty unhealthy and let's be honest, when you want to eat Chinese, you want to eat a lot of Chinese. That's where the 8lbs of oranges I bought for $4.99 and the 3lbs of chicken breast I got for $3.80 came in.

I based this recipe on one I found online, and tweaked it to make it healthier/more orangey.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Put 1C of orange juice (about four oranges' worth for me) in a measuring jug and top off with water to 1.5C. Pour into a medium saucepan and add 1tbsp michiu/mirin (rice cooking wine), 1tsp rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar, and 3tbsp soy sauce.

Put on heat, and add 1C dark brown sugar, 1/2tsp minced ginger root (or a good shake of ginger powder) and 3 big cloves of garlic, diced. Zest one of the orange peels (two halves) and add that, with a couple shakes of red pepper flakes to taste. They will make it spicy, so use your judgement.

Cut up a bunch of chicken breast if you want to (or just leave them whole, it's totally your call), and bake in the oven in a greased oven dish (I used Pam) for about 40 minutes, depending on size. The original recipe breads and fries the chicken which is more Chinese takeout, but I prefer my meat healthy and au naturale.

Mix 3tbsp cornstarch with 1/4C water, add to sauce and stir until it thickens.

Serve with jasmine rice and steamed vegetables. We had carrots and broccoli; pak choi and baby corns would be delicious too!

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