As you may have heard, The Goddess loves citrus. Orange slice candies, you know those chewy, gelatinized candies in the shape of oranges sections; I tell ya’ they should be a food group…along with bacon. Not together, that would just be disgusting. But back to the subject at hand—Clementine or Orange Chicken. This is a relatively quick dish to prepare. I prefer to use fresh tangerine, Clementine or orange peel, instead of the usual dried tangerine peel. The chicken has a lovely carmelized quality and then the punch of orange and the Szechwan pepper. This will wake up your New Year’s celebration. Truly, this is a pretty easy dish and it can be prepared in “installments”, so to speak. You can make the marinade in the morning, toss in chicken, stir it around and put the bowl in the fridge for the day, just waiting for you to return later in the day. There it is; all nestled into the bowl, soaking in the goodness, ready to cook at a moments notice.
Clementine (or Orange) Chicken
- 2-3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thigh, cut into 3rd’s or 4th’s
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Chinese wine or sherry
- 1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoons dried minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon molasses
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Szechwan pepper (roast, cool & crushed) or red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons oriental sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
- 2 teaspoons arrowroot
- 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- Zest of 1 tangerine, cut into extremely fine julienne
- 3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 1 onion, sliced top-to-bottom into thin wedges
- 1 handful snow peas or pea shoots (optional)
- 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
- 2 tangerines, peeled, sliced and the sliced quartered
- 2 scallions, cut on the diagonal into fine slices for garnish
- 1-2 teaspoons sesame seeds for garnish
Combine the marinade ingredients. Add the chicken pieces; coat well with the marinade ingredients. If cooking immediately, let stand at room temperature for 45 minutes or refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
Heat oil in non-stick skillet (or a wok), over medium-high. Add the chicken pieces in a single layer (you’ll need to do this in 2 or 3 batches). Cook, turning once, until browned on both sides (the chicken will not be cooked through); remove to a bowl as they become browned. Don’t move the chicken too much, as you want it to caramelize. When all the chicken has been removed to the bowl, add the carrots to the skillet (you may need to add 1 tablespoon of oil); stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the onion and return the chicken to the skillet. Cook over low heat until chicken is just tender, about 3-5 minutes. In a bowl, combine the sauce ingredients; stir well. Pour over the chicken, add the snowpeas, if using, and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the tangerine pieces, scallions and sesame oil. Pour onto a platter and sprinkle with sesame seeds; serve immediately.
NOTE: To remove the zest of 1 of the tangerines: Using a peeler, peel strips of the rind from the tangerine (or orange); set aside. This is also good with toasted almonds and fresh cilantro leaves for garnish.
Clementine (or Orange) Chicken Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
This is one of our favorite dishes. It’s sweet, spicy, orange-y and simply delicious. Use whatever vegetables you like. I had red bell pepper, onions…I always have onions…I love onions and orange…I did mention how much I love orange. Breathe…breathe…I was getting a bit too excited there. Anyway, I like the sweetness and color that carrots add and they’re, well they’re orange!
I absolutely enjoy the typical tangerine chicken from Chinese restaurants, but the dried tangerine peel can be somewhat unpleasantly chewy. I prefer to add the julienned Clementine (or orange) zest. It has a fresher, cleaner taste and if you bite into a piece, it’s tender and not too chewy and much fresher tasting.
When you brown the chicken pieces, don’t move them around. Leave them alone for at least 30 seconds. They may stick to the pan, as there is quite a bit of sugar, so you may need a metal spatula to loosen them. I’ve been known to leave the thighs whole and after marinating them, put a wedge of onion in the center, brown the thighs, then add the veggies and pour the sauce ingredients over the whole mess, pop the pan in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the thighs are done.
When I add the carrots to the pan, I usually add a bit of additional oil. Don’t mess with the fond (the good stuff that remains in the skillet from browning meat) and for God’s sake, don’t get rid of it; it has tons of flavor. It will loosen from the pan when you add the sauce ingredients. I use arrowroot almost exclusively in this type of dish. I love the shiny quality it gives the dish.
I suspect this would work in a slow cooker, but I haven’t tried it yet. I would definitely leave the thighs whole for the slow cooker.
and I had it over ramen noodles (without the flavor packet added; just noodles). Both ways are very tasty. I usually add broccoli for the ramen version.
That’s really all there is to it. When the marinade caramelizes on the chicken, it imparts a terrific sweetness, with just a hint of burnt sugar, that’s very pleasant and works well with the orange-y flavor. This also works with pork tenderloin and very thinly sliced sirloin. Talk about flexible!