Thursday, 30 January 2014

Orange, chilli and ginger chicken

In anticipation of Chinese New Year we kicked off the celebrations by cooking some Asian food last weekend. Anticipation and planning is the key to this fiesta: as what seems like billions of revelers start their holidays that seem to go on forever, the sea export in the whole region for instance comes to a total standstill for weeks on end.

Today marks the beginning of the year of the horse, by the way. We didn't get quite that literal though I'm sure they eat that too (?). Instead we went for chicken. Spiked with orange which has become a standing fixture in my kitchen lately.

Orange goes well with cooking - the juice gives dishes sweetness, but the zest lends a lovely heat. You don't want to get too giddy with the zest though as you're easily left with a very bitter mess.

But orange peel can be turned into a true "waste nothing"- sort of sweet treat - you just stay tuned!

Gordon's notorious red braised pork served as the inspiration for this dish. My breasts came with bones (my chicken breasts, obviously), but you can use the boneless variety too. Go for the bigger ones though (yes, I'm still talking about chickens over here!).

Serves four

4 chicken breasts

The marinade:

the juice of 3 oranges
the zest of 1 orange, in broad strips
1/2 dl soy sauce
1/2 dl oyster sauce
3 large garlic cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 dl Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry) 
1 large chilli
appr. 5 cm x 3 cm piece of ginger

For caramelizing:

1/2 dl oil
3/4 dl sugar

For serving:

1 red chilli
a couple of spring onions

Remove the bone from the chickens and cut into chunks of your desired size. Combine the ingredients for the marinade and let the chicken marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Lift the chickens out of the marinade. Heat oil and sugar in a pan. Once the sugar has melted and starts caramelizing, throw in the chicken. Let them get colour and a lovely crust and then pour in the marinade. Keep simmering (over moderate heat) until the chicken is done (won't take long!) and the lift them out of the sauce. Keep them warm and run the sauce through a sieve. Then return it to the pan and over high heat let it reduce until you're left with s thick, syrup-like consistency. Check the taste and pour over the chicken.




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