Spicy Orange Chicken stir-fry is a great meal to make when pressed for time yet you still want to serve something special. A ripe tomato, orange zest and chicken breasts, combined with some basic staples become a sumptuous and impressive meal. Russ and I both concurred, this was one of the BEST stir-fries we’ve ever made—and we’ve made a lot of them. It came from our coveted cookbook: Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge by Grace Young.
Most of the time is spent measuring and prepping the ingredients, while the actual cooking time, other than the rice, takes only minutes. It might seem like a long list, but don’t leave out any of the ingredients, especially the ground Sichuan peppercorns because they truly add a necessary dimension. As far as the chili bean sauce, increase or decrease the amount depending on your tolerance for spicy—just don’t omit it altogether.
That being said, I did add a couple of extra ingredients (which I listed below), involving a few more simple steps, but we both think they added welcome flavors. First, since I had a half of red bell pepper in the fridge, I cut that up into thin strips. Then as a final garnish, I snipped some fresh basil from our herb garden and sprinkled that on top.
Please make sure you have everything prepped before beginning to stir-fry because like many others, there is no time in between each step and it goes crazy fast. Also don’t forget to time your rice to be finished prior to the last step of the stir-fry. I know it might not seem like a lot of liquid to start, but the tomatoes will release their juices and you end up with a good balance.
And of course, rice is a big factor in how good this stir-fry turned out. First off, instead of just water, I used some homemade chicken stock to steam the jasmine rice. It was light and fluffy, not sticking together as rice sometimes can.
We really can’t wait to make this again!
Spicy Orange Chicken
- 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/4″-thick bite-sized pieces
- 2 Tbsp. finely shredded ginger
- 2 Tbsp. Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
- 2 tsp. soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp. corn starch
- 1/4 tsp. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
- 1/4 tsp. roasted and ground Sichuan peppercorns
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 2 tsp. rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 tsp. chili bean sauce
- 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced thin lengthwise, then slices cut in half
- 1 very large ripe tomato, (preferably heirloom) cored and cut into thin wedges
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (optional)
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- In a medium bowl combine the chicken, 1 tablespoon of the ginger, 1 tablespoon of the rice wine, 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch, sugar, white pepper and ground Sichuan peppercorns. Stir to combine.
- In a small bowl, combine the broth, rice vinegar, and the remaining 1 tablespoon rice wine and 1/2 teaspoon corn starch.
- Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds on contact.
- Swirl in the oil, add the pepper strips and stir-fry rapidly for 1 minute.
- Add to the peppers the remaining 1 tablespoon ginger, then, using a metal spatula, stir-fry 10 seconds until the ginger is fragrant. Remove the peppers and ginger to a bowl and set aside.
- Carefully add the chicken, and spread it evenly in one layer. Cook undisturbed for 1 minute, letting the chicken begin to sear.
- Add the orange zest and chili bean sauce. Then stir-fry for 1 minute or until the chicken is lightly browned but not cooked through.
- Stir the bell pepper and ginger back in and add the tomatoes and stir-fry 30 seconds or until just combined.
- Restir the broth mixture and swirl into the wok.
- Add the scallions, sprinkle on the salt, and stir-fry 1 minute or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Serve over steaming white or brown rice, and top with chopped fresh basil and any leftover scallion greens.