Orange Chicken (or Beef) is a popular Chinese dish that I don’t usually get to order when eating out. I tend to miss out on the traditional stir-fries and specialties because I ask them to “leave off the sauce” because they typically contain gluten. When I’m in the driver’s seat in my kitchen though, I prefer to prepare dishes that are “off limits” when eating out to jazz up my menu choices…plus, then I won’t feel deprived!
When I was assigned Karen’s Kitchen Stories this month for the Secret Recipe Club, I was drooling over all her homemade bread recipes… but I admit, I was intimidated to try and de-glutenize them while staying true to the original recipe. After reading that Karen participates in Wok Wednesdays, I was sold on both her Velvet Chicken and Orange Chicken recipes! I’ve always been intrigued with the way Chinese restaurants prepare their meats, I never could achieve the same texture or tenderness when using a wok…until now!
I opted to cook an un-fried version of Orange Chicken to lighten up the dish a bit (you know, so I could have more of it!). Taking cues from Karen’s Velvet Chicken post, I used the water velveting technique instead of the oil one…. woohoo! The result was very tender chicken! Turns out you can also prepare other proteins in the same way — beef, pork, shrimp — so I will have to try my hand at that soon.
I made a few adjustments to the orange sauce by subbing coconut aminos for the soy sauce, adding a bit of ginger, using honey instead of brown sugar and using crushed red pepper flakes in place of the cayenne. I also chose to use coconut oil for sauteeing and tapioca starch instead of cornstarch, but either works in this dish! I served the chicken with brown rice sprinkled with green onion and sauteed broccoli, carrots and onions — a balanced, healthy and yummy meal!
Lightened up Orange Chicken (adapted from Karen’s recipe)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free
For the Chicken
1 Tbsp tapioca starch (or cornstarch)
1 Tbsp canola oil or other neutral oil
1-2 tsp minced ginger
Cooked brown or white rice, or quinoa
- In a large bowl, marinate the chicken in the combined soy sauce, vinegar, oil, starch and egg whites for about 20-30 minutes at room temperature.
- Mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl, whisk and set aside.
- Saute the garlic and ginger in 1 tsp of oil in a saucepan for about a minute until fragrant, add the above sauce, and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the starch/water mixture and stir until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat, and cover to keep warm.
- In a 2-quart saucepan, bring one quart of water and 1 tbsp oil to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and add the chicken to the simmering water, stirring to prevent the pieces of chicken from clumping together. Cook until the chicken is opaque, but not cooked through, about 1 minute. Drain the chicken in a colander
- In a wok or large sauce pan over high heat, swirl the remaining tablespoon of oil into the wok. Add the chicken and saute for three minutes or until cooked through. Re-stir the sauce mixture and pour half over the chicken. Stir fry, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Toss with remaining sauce.
- Serve immediately with steamed rice/quinoa and sauteed veggies if desired!