Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Orange-Glazed Chicken

Copyright 2007 by Cooking With The Single Guy

1/2 lb. chicken breast
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 T orange zest
1 cup plus 2 T cornstarch
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 egg
1 red chili, julienned or 1/2 T red chili flakes
2 T sugar
1 T soy sauce
1 T ketchup
1 t freshly grated ginger
extra virgin olive oil
sesame seeds for garnish

Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes or strips. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Put 1 cup of cornstarch on a plate. In another plate place egg, whipped with fork. In third plate, spread out the panko bread crumbs. Dredge chicken pieces in cornstarch, then egg and finally in the panko crumbs. Warm extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet or pan, filling enough oil to cover entire pan with a thin layer. Pan fry chicken over medium high heat, about 4-5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove cooked pieces and place on paper towels.

In saucepan, combine orange juice, zest, chili, sugar, soy sauce, ginger and ketchup and bring to a boil. In small bowl, blend 2 tablespoon cornstarch with about 1/4 cup of cold water and then slowly pour into boiling liquid until sauce thickens. Remove from stovetop and toss in chicken, coating all the pieces. Remove and place on serving dish. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over plate.

Makes two servings. Serve with steamed rice and broccoli.

Pair with Gewurtztraminer.

TIPS: To get the best results from pan frying, make sure you don’t crowd your skillet or pan with too many pieces of chicken. Give each piece its own space. You may need to cook your chicken in two patches. If you do a second batch, add more olive oil if needed to make sure you still have a nice thin layer of oil to pan fry. Because I’m not a big fan of deep-frying, I suggest pan frying to reduce the amount of oil used. To help in the cooking process, cut your chicken pieces thinly and in small cubes, almost like chicken fingers. It’ll cook faster, which means less time bathed in oil. (Although frying in olive oil is healthier.)

QUICK THICKENER: In most Asian cooking, cornstarch is the frequent ingredient used as a slurry to thicken a sauce or create a quick glaze. (Most Western recipes calls for flour as the thickening agent.) Here’s how I do it to avoid clumps and problems. First, I blend however much cornstarch I use with some water to create a liquid. Be sure to mix with cold water only. Then when you add it to the liquid you want to thicken, make sure the liquid is boiling. The thickness of the sauce depends on how much cornstarch you add. I generally find that 1 tablespoon is good to create a nice glaze. About 2 to 3 tablespoons is good to create a gravy. The nice thing about this thickening agent is if you find you’ve made it too thick, just add some water or broth to thin out the cornstarch. It’s all about trial and error.

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