Sesame Orange Chicken
Updated: Apr 20, 2021
I’ve been on a takeout binge as of late, and it’s starting to take a toll on my hips. Here’s my solution - take out inspired meals at home. All the excitement of ordering your fave orange chicken without the extra guilt. This lightened up version of Sesame Orange Chicken is made by searing the cornstarch battered chicken in chipotle infused olive oil, rather than deep frying. Also made with freshly squeezed OJ (v important, squeeze the oranges yourself), sticky honey and lots of fresh ginger/garlic, try this tonight and your wallet, body, and tastebuds will thank you.
Makes 4 servings
1/2 lb boneless chicken (I used a mix of thighs and breasts), cut into small pieces
1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
3 tbs + 1/2 tsp soy sauce, divided
3 tbs cornstarch, divided
3 tbs olive oil, divided
Zest of half an orange (about 1 tsp)
Stalks from one bunch of green onion, finely minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, finely minced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 green chili, finely minced (optional)
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 head of cauliflower or broccoli, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 1/2 oranges worth of juice)
1/4 cup honey
3 tbs white vinegar
2 tbs rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
1/4 green onion, sliced
Sticky rice for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking tray with parchment or foil. In a large bowl, combine the chicken pieces with the egg, freshly cracked black pepper, 1/2 tsp soy sauce, and 2 tbs cornstarch. Mix well until the chicken is fully coated in the batter.
2. Heat a large wok over medium heat heat. Once the pan is hot, cook the chicken in 3 or 4 batches. Add a little bit of olive oil to the wok. Once it starts to shimmer, spread the chicken out in an even layer. Allow the chicken to brown for a few minutes on each side for a total of 7-8 minutes, turning often to avoid burning. Once a deep golden crust is formed, transfer the chicken to the lined baking tray. Repeat with remaining chicken until done. I used a total of 2 tbs of olive oil to sear all of the chicken. You can either finish cooking the chicken completely on the stove by pan frying, or finish it in the oven (see step 2). To finish by pan frying, increase the cooking time to 10-12 minutes per batch, or until completely cooked.
3. Bake the chicken for an additional 12 minutes to fully cook through.
4. In a mixing bowl, combine the orange juice, honey, vinegars, 3 tbs of soy sauce, and sesame seeds. Whisk well to fully combine and set aside.
5. Add the sesame oil to the pan along with 1 tbs olive oil. Turn the heat up to high and add the orange zest, green onion stalks, ginger, garlic, and chili if using all at once. Stir vigorously for 15 seconds to avoid burning, then add the cauliflower or broccoli. Sauté for a total of 6 minutes, until it starts to brown. Drizzle another tbs of olive oil halfway through if the cauliflower is not browning.
6. Once the cauliflower is al dente, add about 1/3 of the orange juice mixture to the wok. Stir well to combine, and continue cooking until almost all of the liquid has evaporated, about 4 minutes.
7. Add 1 tbs of cornstarch to the remaining orange juice mixture and whisk to fully dissolve the cornstarch. Make sure there are no lumps.
8. Add the chicken to the wok and stir well. Allow the chicken to sauté for 1 minute before drizzling the remaining orange juice mixture around the edges of the wok. Continue to cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with sesame seeds and green onion. Serve immediately with fresh sticky rice.