Spicy Orange Chicken Stir-fry with Rice Noodles!
Trips to the grocery store for me tend not to be well planned. Sometimes I have decided exactly what I want to eat, but a lot of the time I have no idea. I pick things up, check that they are gluten-free, and they end up in my cart. This is not the most economical way to shop. The other day I picked up a box of rice noodles. This was one of those things I had no immediate plans for, just something I thought might be fun to play with. A few days later I picked up a few oranges. That was when things started to come together in my mind. There is always chicken around in the freezer, and I almost always have ginger, garlic, gluten-free soy sauce, and there is a bottle of rice vinegar in the cabinet. This is a really quick and easy one, but it is very tasty!
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
a couple of carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
broccoli cut into bite sized pieces
any other veggies you may want to put in, julienned bell pepper, napa cabbage, snow peas, water chestnuts whatever sounds good to you.
Rice noodles (I picked up a box of Thai Kitchen linguini style noodles)
2 TBSP gluten-free soy sauce
1 TBSP rice vinegar (I wouldn’t get seasoned rice vinegar. It is for sushi rice, and has salt and sugar added.)
zest and juice of one orange
1 TBSP minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TBSP honey
1 TBSP sambal oolek
Lets start with the sauce. First thing, zest your orange. I just use the smallest side of my box grater, make sure not to go too deep. There are a lot of ways to juice citrus fruits, but the easiest is to cut them in half (across the segments), and then stick a fork into the fruit, and twist. You should do this over a bowl so that you can keep any seeds out of your sauce. Then simply combine everything else. If you want a sauce that will coat everything a little better you can bring it all up to a boil, and then use a cornstarch slurry to thicken it. I wasn’t all that worried about that.Next we’ll get the noodles ready. This is really easy. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and then turn it off. Drop in the noodles. They are ready when they are tender. They probably take 8 to 10 minutes. Check the package on yours. Once they are done, drain them, rinse with cold water to cool them, drain them well, and set them aside.
While the noodles are soaking we can prep everything else. First, cut up your veggies. I like pieces that are kind of medium thin. My goal is that they are tender but not mushy. The sizes will depend on what you have. Denser vegetables like carrots would be thinner than a bell pepper. And everything needs to be bite-sized. Put everything in a bowl, and set aside. Next, cut your chicken. Obviously you want something that is small enough to cook quickly, but not minced. I tend to cut a breast in half, and then cut cubes from the halves. Again the key is bite-sized. Of course you could also use tofu if you’re looking for a vegetarian option.
Now, everything is prepped, and ready so we can fire up the stove. Heat a skillet over medium high heat, and add a couple of tablespoons of oil. Canola or peanut would be best. If you want a little bit of sesame oil would be fine, but since it doesn’t have a high smoke point you should use it only as an accent. Tilt the pan, and if you see ripples in the oil, start adding your chicken gently to the pan. Your oil is plenty hot, so don’t splash it all over yourself. Using a silicone spatula keep the chicken moving around the pan until it is mostly cooked. Add the veggies, and continue cooking. When the veggies are tender add the noodles. Mix everything together, and add the sauce. Bring the sauce up to a boil. You’re done! Enjoy your dinner. This kind of thing gives you lots of flexibility when you’re making dinner, since almost anything you have can be put in. The other great thing is that it is really quick.