Crispy Orange Chicken is one of the tastiest things on the menu at your local Chinese restaurant. And, when I’m at the market I occasionally pick up a bag of frozen orange chicken. It tastes great, and easy to fry up for a quick meal for the kids on those busy nights.
While these orange chicken dishes taste great, they definitely fall into the guilty pleasure category. They’re almost always filled with sugar, sodium, and unhealthy fats. Once finished with a big plate of take-out orange chicken you’re feeling like a nap from all that fat and sugar. But, there’s no need to indulge in unhealthy orange chicken, with so many great recipes with a more healthy version.
The Crispy Orange Chicken recipe here tastes awesome, takes only a few minutes to create, and your family (or friends) will think you’re spoiling them. It’s sugar free, low in fats, has zero gluten, and no soy. The secret is all how you sweeten it!
I tested this recipe as a means of testing Stevia. This sweetener is natural, and certainly the rage, but until this time I’d never tried it. But, it works great. When you use that, with concentrated orange juice, it’s a healthy and low-calorie alternative to restaurant (or frozen) orange chicken.
Substitutions: Using honey instead of the Stevia is a great alternative, for better texture. Honey is more readily available, but 1/2 cup adds about 500 calories! Use 1/2 cup, more or less depending on your tastes. I tend to like chicken thighs, but you can use breasts (or both) as you’d like and it doesn’t change the dish too much. I also like this dish very spicy, so I add about 3-4 teaspoons of crushed red peppers. But, those who like it mild can certainly use less. However, since this dish is sweet it helps to extinguish the spice.
- 2.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
- salt and pepper
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- toppings: thinly-sliced green onions, toasted sesame seeds, orange zest
- ½ cup natural orange juice concentrate
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 packets Stevia
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
- ½ tsp. ground ginger, or 1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
- ½ tsp. white pepper
- 3 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- Combine ingredients for orange chicken sauce in a bowl (Stevia, soy sauce, orange juice, garlic, vinegar, cornstarch, ginger, pepper). Mix and set aside.
- Season chicken generously with salt and pepper.
- In a large skillet heat the olive oil, and coconut oil, over medium-high heat. Add chicken and saute for about 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned and nearly cooked through. I tend to brown the chicken at a high heat, since I like it a bit more crispy - but that's up to you.
- Pour in the orange chicken sauce, and stir it with the chicken to combine. Let the sauce come to a boil, then cooking all at medium-high heat for another minute or two until thickened.
- Remove from heat and serve immediately over quinoa, brown, or white rice.
- Garnish with green onions, sesame seeds and additional orange zest.
Photo from: www.fortysomething.ca