There are some recipes that instantly become family favorites. You take one bite and you’re already looking forward to the next time you make the dish. It’s also a recipe guaranteed never to have leftovers.
For me, this is one of those recipes.
This Skinny Take-Out Orange Chicken is sticky, sweet, and spicy (although, the spiciness can easily be adjusted). Since the chicken is not breaded and deep-fried, it’s also easier on your waistline.
And that’s probably a good thing for us during the season that’s packed with comfort food.
Instead of breading and deep-frying the chicken, the chicken is coated in a sweet and saucy cornstarch mixture that will help ensure that it stays extra-juicy and tender during cooking. The chicken is then seared in a hot skillet with Arbol chiles for a little heat. Dried Arbol chiles can be quite spicy, so you can use just one if you want a milder dish. If you want a medium-spicy orange chicken, then use 2 to 3 of the Arbol chiles.
4 or more chiles will definitely set some tastebuds on fire!
After you’ve committed to a spiciness level and added a few more seasonings, a cornstarch slurry is added to the chicken. This slurry adds body to the sauce as well as helps the sauce coat the chicken.
This means that you won’t get a puddle of thin sauce at the bottom of your bowl.
Best of all, this recipe is the PERFECT weeknight dish since it only takes half an hour to prepare.
30 minutes to prepare and even quicker to eat!
- 1 cup Jasmine rice
- 1½ lbs boneless skinless chicken tenderloins
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 4 dried Arbol chilies, deseeded (adjust to taste)
- pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp green onions, sliced on the bias
- salt and pepper
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- ⅓ cup water
- zest and juice from 1½ oranges
- Add the Jasmine rice to a large pot with 1½ cups of water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover the rice and cook until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut the chicken tenderloins into bite-sized pieces and place into a large bowl. Add the sugar, half of the minced garlic, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce to the bowl with the chicken. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss the chicken to coat evenly and set aside.
- Prepare the slurry by whisking together the remaining 2 teaspoons of cornstarch, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, water, and the juice from 1½ oranges in a medium bowl. Set the slurry aside.
- Heat the 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken and Arbol chiles. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often, until the chicken has turned golden brown. Add the red pepper flakes (optional), remaining half of the minced garlic, ginger, and a pinch of orange zest to the chicken. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute (careful, don't let the garlic burn).
- Add the prepared slurry to the pan and cook until the sauce thickens and the chicken is cooked through, about 6-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve the orange chicken over a heaping of Jasmine rice and garnish with sliced green onions, orange zest, and sesame seeds.