Wednesday, 4 February 2015

ORANGE CHICKEN WITH BACON


Orange and bacon may scream American breakfast but having it on top of rice with fried chicken pieces makes it Chinese food. American Chinese food that is. While my two children were excited to have a go at Shake Shack's burgers at JFK Airport on a recent trip, I chose to have Panda Express' orange chicken with bacon. I don't normally eat anything oily, if at all, before a flight, but I couldn't help myself. Yes, delicious. But as expected, oily too.



Homecooking is always self expression. While Panda Express' concept was good, other ideas naturally came to my mind. I don't think I've cracked the secret code but the resulting dish is very pleasing and is more to my liking. I seasoned the chicken pieces with the classic tastemakers that make Chinese food delicious: soy sauce, sesame oil and siaoxing wine. The amounts of these are small but when combined together adds so much flavour to food that no ordinary salt and pepper can do. I chose to coat the meat in corn flour rather than floury batter. That made the meat crispy, absorb less oil and create a sticky glaze when the sauce was added.


Having the bacon in a recipe almost always ensures a great flavour. The way bacon is used can result to even more flavour. To start with, I used good quality dry cured smoked bacon. Making it render its own fat intensifies its porkiness, crisps it up and gives it a caramelised flavour. I stir fried the fried chicken pieces in bacon bits (how sinful that sounds!). Both the bacon and the seasoned wok  improved the already great flavour of the chicken. A zesty orange sauce is doused into this tasty mixture just to glaze and add a different flavour dimension. Oranges, especially the zest can have quite an assertive flavour that sometimes dominate the dish so the amount should just be enough to make its presence known.



I also added an un-Chinese ingredient that totally worked with the soy sauce and smoked bacon: maple syrup. This would not be apparent in the taste but that added a complementary deeper nuance to the dish. Tasty dish this is! So good with rice. Though I can't help but imagine how good this would taste on waffles, too. I didn't get a chance to try it out because there were no bits left to scrape from the pan. This dish is definitely a keeper and will be on the ranks of the must-make-often dishes on our roster.




Yield: 4 servings


Ingredients for the chicken and marinade:
 
1 T. light soy sauce 
T. Siaoxing wine or dry sherry
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 egg white 1 tsp. corn flour (corn starch)
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1' x 1/2" pieces
3/4 c. corn flour (corn starch) for dredging cooking oil for frying
Instructions:

Mix the soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, egg white and 1 tsp. of corn flour in a mixing bowl.
Add in the chicken pieces and mix well. Leave aside for 10 minutes.
Prepare the rest of the ingredients in the meantime.
Dredge the chicken pieces in the corn flour.
Heat up a frying pan and add oil for shallow frying (about 1 1/2inch deep). Fry the chicken pieces, a few at a time until crisp and golden, about 4-5 minutes. 




Ingredients for the sauce:

1/4 c. of orange juice
1 tsp. of grated orange zest 
1/4 c. water
1 1/2 T light soy sauce
1 T. rice wine vinegar
3 T. honey
2 tsps. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. of sriracha (optional)
1 1/2 tsp. corn flour
Instructions:

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan. Stir to combine.
Bring to a boil then simmer for 3 minutes until thickened. Set aside.



To assemble:

You will also need 6 rashers of good quality smoked bacon, cut into lardons (small pieces).
Heat up a wok. Add in the bacon pieces and stir fry on medium heat until crisp and all of the fat is rendered.
Strain the bacon then put back in the wok.
Add in the fried chicken pieces and wok toss for about 2 minutes or until sizzling hot.



Add in the cooked sauce and toss just until the meat is coated.
Transfer to a serving dish straight away and serve hot.



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2 comments:

  1. This looks delicious!!! I can't wait to try this recipe!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've never had orange chicken with bacon, but it sounds fabulous!

    ReplyDelete

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