January 21, 2014

15-Minute Chinese Orange Chicken

15-Minute Chinese Orange Chicken
Do you guys like challenges?
I’m such a sucker for challenges.
There really is something about challenges that turns my crank - and I know I’m not alone.
Sure, sometimes they won’t make any sense and be the most idiotic thing on the planet. 
Such as the “melon crash helmet”.
You don't know what that is? Okay so, in the “melon crash helmet” you get a large melon. You cut it and carve it out to make a satisfactory crash helmet shape. Put it on and test it out, by having your friends throwing heavy things at/onto your head.
How cool is that? 
Just kidding. I know it’s stupid, but so entertaining; really, endless hours of fun (try it and see for yourself!) 

15-Minute Chinese Orange Chicken

As it happens, yesterday I took on a cooking challenge with a couple of friends: To make Chinese orange chicken quicker, tastier, and healthier than delivery. 
My friend would call the Chinese place down the street and order a serving of their notorious orange chicken.
After hanging up, I could start with my cooking; I could cook until the delivery guy buzzed up.
Then we would compare the two orange chicken and determine the winner.
The moment my friend placed the order, pressure was on. I knew it would take about 20 minutes for the delivery guy to show up at our door (these guys are faster than a speeding bullet!)
15-Minute Chinese Orange Chicken
But I had a secret weapon in my pocket: my friend Michelle’s recipe for 15-minute Chinese Orange Chicken. The simplest and most amazing recipe ever.
In a little over 13 minutes my dish was ready (including the rice) - a full 8 minutes ahead of delivery guy.
TIY v. Delivery 1 - 0
15-Minute Chinese Orange ChickenTastewise I also won the comparison. The "judges" agreed that my chicken had more flavor, was juicer and felt overall lighter (just for the record, one of the judges was on the fence).
TIY v. Delivery 2 - 0
15-Minute Chinese Orange Chicken
Finally, I won the healthier test by a landslide. My orange chicken is paleo-friendly, gluten-free, and made only with top quality / organic ingredients. Can't say the same about delivery...
TIY v. Delivery 3 - 0

15-Minute Chinese Orange Chicken
To sum up, my Chinese Orange Chicken is healthier, tastier and quicker than delivery. Woot, woot!

15-Minute Chinese Orange Chicken                                                             Print this recipe!

Serves 4


1 lb / 453 gr, free-range organic chicken breast, cut into 1½-inch chunks 
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder*
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
Ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Orange sauce

⅓ cup freshly pressed orange juice
½ cup rice wine vinegar (must be rice wine vinegar not regular white vinegar)
½ cup raw coconut palm sugar (I used Madhava)
2 ½ tablespoons wheat-free soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
1 tablespoon orange zest
½ tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon arrowroot powder*
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (reduce for less heat)

*arrowroot powder acts like cornstarch.


In a medium saucepan whisk arrowroot powder with orange juice until lumps are gone. Add all other sauce’s ingredients and bring to a boil over over medium heat. Cook until sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 to 6 minutes. Set aside.
Combine chicken cubes, arrowroot powder, salt and pepper in a medium ZipLoc bag (or in a shallow dish) and shake/toss until all chicken pieces are evenly coated.
Heat olive oil in a wok (or large skillet) over medium high-heat. Add chicken and cook for 3 minutes until browned on one side and then turn over and cook another 3 minutes until cooked through.
Turn heat down to very low and add orange sauce, as much as fit your tastes. Toss until combined and serve.

Nutrition facts

One serving yields 350 calories, 8 grams of fat, 34 grams of carbs and 36 grams of protein.

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  1. This is going to be tonight's dinner!

  2. Oh I have a feeling this or something VERY SIMILAR will be cooked on Dude Food!!!!!!!! :D I am drooling over here! Looks amazing.

  3. Looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Sounds fantastic! Will have to put this on the menu. Question, will another sugar work. I can't use coconut products due to a sensitivity.

    1. Absolutely Lauren, I like to use coconut sugar but any other kind of sugar works too.

  5. This looks so good, Chinese food is one of the things I miss most about going 'healthy'. P.s. I was cracking up over the melon crash helmet! I have a guy friend who is super funny and goofy, and I can totally picture him doing something like that! :)

    1. The melon crash helmet is one of the funniest things ever!

  6. Made this last night, this recipe is the bomb. I'm so happy to have leftovers for today's lunch!

  7. I think I can convince my daughter that homemade Chinese is better than delivery with this recipe Mike! Thanks for sharing!
    Now going back to the melon crash helmet - I think its a BRILLIANT idea! Hours of fun indeed! Did anyone run into a wall with it on?

    1. We haven't try running into a wall yet, but thanks for the idea; it's definitely something we are going to do next time.

  8. Melon helmet - why hadn't I read this post BEFORE I went on a mountain weekend trip with friends?? Next time ;) I can't wait to use this orange sauce recipe with shrimp or even battered cauliflower!

    1. Next time shoot me an email, I have plenty of dumb dares to do with your friends!

  9. What a cool challenge! Now I don't know what the delivery chicken looked (or tasted) like, but I know my vote would go to TIY without a moment's hesitation.

    This is so going on my list of recipes to try soon! Lucky for me, I so happen to have a HUGE chicken breast in the fridge and I didn't know what to do with it. I think you just settled that for me!

    1. Thanks Sonia, I'm glad to know you're rooting for TIY's team!

  10. OMG...just made it for dinner! Score!!! So yummy. We added a dash of Sriracha sauce at the end for a little kick. Have to ask though...did the 13-15 minutes include prep time or just cooking time? I prep fast, but it took us a little longer then that start to finish. LOL

    1. OK so I'm very fast when it comes to prep, but, tbh, I had almost all the ingredients ready when I started cooking (including the cubed chicken). But I finished at the 13 minute mark. True story.
      BTW, I'm super happy that you guys enjoyed the recipe (and adding Sriracha was a nice touch!)

  11. OMG this came out wonderful! Thank you finally good food that my insides won't hate me for!

  12. I made this last night and it was fabulous! Definitely a recipe for the arsenal. I just found your blog via Pinterest and will be trying many of your recipes. Thanks!