Orange Chicken and Peanut Rice

So there was somehow a common misconception while I was on MasterChef that I "hated" Asian food.  I honestly don't know where that came from, since I am a frequent flyer at my local chinese take-out place.  (I'm a wonton soup junkie) 

I may have said that I didn't know anything about Asian cooking, but I sure as hell don't hate it.  So let's clear that up right now. 

During the restaurant challenge at WP24 (Wolfgang Puck's Asian Restaurant in downtown Los Angeles), I got a crash course in preparing Asian cuisine.  Not to mention a tutorial from the head chef at that restaurant, John Leichleidner

So I made it my mission when I got home to analyze the flavors from some of my favorite Chinese American dishes and duplicate them, if not make them better.

Orange chicken or orange beef, are up there as probably my favorite take out picks (with a huge quart of wonton ALWAYS). 

It took me a couple of tries, but I'm pretty sure I got this down now, and in my opinion, this tastes better than take out.  So much so, that I never even order it anymore.  I just make it myself. 

You guys will adore this dish.  It's quick and easy, cheap and the flavors are BANGING. 

Orange Chicken and Peanut Rice

Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time:  20 minutes
Serves:  4-5


 Ingredients:

For chicken:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup of vegetable oil
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstartch
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper - optional
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
zest of 1 large orange
juice of 1 large orange
1 1/4 cup of orange juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 stick of butter
3 tsp of Worcestershire sauce


For rice:

1 cup of jasmine rice
2 cups of chicken stock
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
5 scallions, sliced
1 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup of plain, unsalted peanuts, chopped slightly 
2 TBSP butter

Method:

Start off my cutting your chicken breast into 2 inch pieces.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together.

In a gallon sized ziploc bag, combine the flour, cornstarch, ground ginger, salt and cayenne pepper.  Shake to mix up. 

Drop the chicken pieces in small batches at a time into the egg mixture, then directly into the flour mixture.  Shake the bag up to coat each piece evenly.  Lay out onto a baking sheet, making sure to not overlap.  Repeat until all of your chicken pieces are coated. 

Let's start prepping while the chicken sits for a few minutes.  This will make it extra crispy. 

Zest and juice your orange.  Get the orange juice, brown sugar, butter and worchesteshire sauce ready, cause this dish moves quickly.  You want everything to be together.

Mince 2 cloves or garlic and grate your ginger up for the rice.  Chop your scallions and peanuts up also, so you have them ready. 

Alright, now let's get cracking!  In a large skillet or deep fryer, if you prefer, heat up the vegetable oil until it hits 350.  Now, as I have said before, if you don't have a thermometer, heat the oil over medium high heat for a few minutes.  Take the end of a wooden spoon and put into the oil.  If that wooden spoon starts to bubble, the oil is ready. 

Fry the chicken in small batches at a time until golden brown and crispy.  Put on a wire rack to make sure it stays crispy.

In a medium sauce pot, add the garlic, grated ginger, half of the peanuts and butter.  Sautee over medium heat until the garlic becomes translucent.  Add the rice and make sure you coat the rice evenly and toast it up nicely.  This will add some extra flavor.  Add the chicken stock, pop a lid on that suck and reduce the heat down to low and let it cook for about 15ish minutes.

Now it's time to start the sauce.  Remember, this process moves quickly, so make sure all the ingredients are ready!! 

In a medium saute pan over medium high heat, melt the butter and brown sugar together until it starts to bubble slightly.  Add the fresh juice and zest of the orange.  Continue to let it bubble.  Slowly add in the rest of the orange juice and take the heat down to medium.  Let reduce for about 10 minutes.  Add the Worcestershire sauce and let it reduce down for another 2-3 minutes.

Your rice should be done.  Fluff with a fork, add the remaining peanuts and all of the scallions.  Mix together with a fork so you don't kill the structure of the rice.

Take your chicken pieces and dump them in a large bowl.  Pour the sauce all over the chicken and toss around to coat every piece. 

And that's it!  A delicious take out style meal right in your own home.  It's slap your mama good.  TRUST ME!!

Krissi Biasiello is a native of South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Cooking since she was a little girl with her large Italian family, she decided to leave her paralegal job and shoot for the stars on FOX’s cooking competition show, MasterChef.  She beat out 43,000 homecooks across America and came in 4th place.  Under the scrutiny of Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich, Krissi has made her mark in the culinary world.  She now shares her recipes with all of you!  Her rustic, homestyle take on everything will win you over and will definitely “get your asses in the kitchen”. 
To contact Krissi for appearances, in-home demonstrations, catering and more, you can find her below. 

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