Chinese New Year

Give a citrusy kick to the Lunar New Year

 
 
Orange ginger chicken
Orange ginger chicken
Bill Hogan / MCT

Main dish

Orange-Ginger Chicken

12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/4-inch-thick bite-size slices

2 tablespoons egg white, lightly beaten

1/4 teaspoons cornstarch

4 teaspoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

1/3 cup chicken broth

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 navel orange

1 tablespoon minced ginger

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 medium green bell pepper, julienned

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions

Combine the chicken, egg white, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons rice wine and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Stir until the cornstarch is totally dissolved and no clumps are visible. Add 2 teaspoons of the oil; stir to combine. Refrigerate, uncovered, 30 minutes.

Combine the broth, soy sauce, pepper flakes, the remaining 2 teaspoons rice wine and 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch in a small bowl.

Zest the orange; reserve the zest. Remove white pith with a sharp paring knife. Working over a bowl to catch drips, carefully slide the knife on either side of each membrane to free the orange segments, letting segments fall into the bowl.

Heat 1 quart water to a boil in a saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Reduce the heat to low. When the water is barely simmering, carefully add the chicken, gently stirring so that the pieces do not clump together. Cook until the chicken just turns opaque but is not cooked through, about 1 minute. Carefully drain the chicken in a colander, shaking the colander to remove any excess water.

Heat a 14-inch wok or 12-inch skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl the remaining 1 tablespoon oil into the wok; add the ginger and garlic. Stir-fry until fragrant, 10 seconds. Add the bell peppers and red onions; stir-fry until the bell peppers are almost crisp-tender, 1 minute. Add the chicken; sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Restir the broth mixture; swirl it into the wok. Stir-fry until the chicken is just cooked through, 1 minute. Stir in the orange segments, zest and any accumulated juices. Makes 2 to 3 servings.

Source: Adapted from “Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge” by Grace Young.

Per serving: 257 calories, 11 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 63 mg cholesterol, 13 g carbohydrates, 26 g protein, 1,008 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.


Chicago Tribune

Welcome the Year of the Horse with a citrusy kick that not only delivers good flavor but promises good fortune.

Citrus fruits such as oranges, kumquats and pomelos are traditional for the Lunar New Year, which begins Friday. They are used for decoration, given as gifts or snacked on. But cookbook author Grace Young says citrus fruit also has its place in cooking, particularly now when everyone is focused on new beginnings.

“We’re watching our weight,” says the author of Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge. “We want to eat healthily, and it’s good to have that hit of vitamin C. I think, for a stir-fry, oranges are beautiful.”

Oranges are rich in symbolism, says Terese Tse Bartholomew, curator emeritus of Himalayan art and Chinese decorative art at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and author of the book Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art.

“It’s the color,” says Bartholomew. “It’s the color of gold. People want the new year to bring them money. Have you heard the Cantonese new year greeting? ‘May you explode in wealth.’ People must have these wealth-giving things.”

You should have luck finding citrus, of course, because this is peak season.

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