21 March 2018

Quick barbecue orange chicken - super speedy!

I have been hearing a lot about "Orange Chicken" just recently and had been keeping my eye open for a recipe that would suit me.  Such a lot of recipes seem to involve coating the chicken pieces in batter and either deep frying them, or frying them in some way, shape or form, before adding the sauce - and I'm just not into that.  I'm not averse to colouring the chicken in a frying pan though - ostensibly frying it, but in just a whisper of oil and without the batter.

This week, I found this recipe "Crockpot Orange Chicken" from Heidi's Home Cooking blog and it was so simple that I felt it would stand up to being swiftly cooked in a wok or frying pan (or skillet, depending on where you're from!) as opposed to the slow cooker it was intended for.  However, as is my wont, immediately I began thinking about ways of broadening its flavour horizons.

So, step 1 was to make sure the seasoning was on point and as we're using soy sauce there were no worries about the salt.  However, pepper wasn't mentioned - and I wound up using both black and white peppers.  Black pepper directly on the chicken and the white pepper in the final seasoning of the sauce.

I could also see that some garlic and ginger wouldn't go amiss, however hubby is sensitive to ginger so that was out (but feel free to add some if you're okay with it!) but some finely chopped fresh garlic cooked with the chicken became step 2.

Because of the lack of ginger, it seemed as though some red chili pepper would be a good idea, so step 3 was to add a finely chopped fresh red chili and dried red chili flakes, to taste.  This was a lovely addition as it definitely helped to balance out the sweetness from the barbecue sauce and the orange marmalade, although using a dark coloured marmalade also helped in that regard as it was rather more bitter than sweet.

All together, because I had everything prepped and ready to go before I started cooking, the dish only took around 25-30 minutes from start to serve, which was perfect.

Both my menfolk really liked this dish and returned clean plates to the kitchen.  Always a satisfaction!  The flavours weren't hugely in one way or the other - both the barbecue sauce and the marmalade seemed to be knitted together with the help of the soy sauce and the garlic and chili just helped to make everyone friends.  As it was cooked so quickly, the chicken didn't have an opportunity to dry out, staying moist and tender throughout.

I served the chicken with egg fried rice, some prawn crackers and chopped spring onion sprinkled over as garnish, however it occurred to us that it would be fairly epic served similarly to crispy fried duck - in small pancakes with spring onion & cucumber shreds.  So I'll leave that aspect up to you, but do let me know how you like it if you try it!

QUICK BARBECUE ORANGE CHICKEN   (Serves 3)

Ingredients :

200 ml of a good, tasty barbecue sauce
1 heaped tbsp of a dark orange marmalade
2 tsp cornflour
1 red chili pepper, finely chopped
3 tbsp light soy sauce
a good pinch of white pepper
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, sliced finely against the grain
a pinch of black pepper
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped on the diagonal for garnish.

Method :

In a jug, whisk together the barbecue sauce, marmalade, cornflour, chili pepper, soy sauce and white pepper and set aside.

Heat the rapeseed oil in a deep frying pan or wok and add the chicken.  Season with the black pepper.  Cook over a high heat until all trace of pinkness has gone from the chicken.

Add the chopped garlic and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes until softened and fragrant, in the residual liquid from the chicken.

Pour in the sauce and stir to combine.  Bring the sauce to a boil and allow it to reduce until a sticky glaze consistency has been reached and it is coating the chicken.

Serve, adding a sprinkle of chopped spring onion as garnish, with your choice of additional rice and a few prawn crackers for crunch.

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