rosefox: A cheerful chef made out of ginger. (cooking)
[personal profile] rosefox
Note 1: This meal requires a lot of clean-up, including serious scrubbing.

Note 2: Deep-frying is dangerous. Wear long sleeves (cotton, not anything flammable or meltable), long pants, and socks. Make liberal use of long-handled spoons and oven mitts. Only one person should be doing anything with the fry pot at any given time. Do not fuck around with hot oil. The recipe is listed as "hard" only because deep-frying is best attempted by experienced cooks.

Note 3: This version of the dish is very mild, and it omits the traditional dried chili peppers. If you prefer it spicy, add dried chili peppers instead of black pepper in step 4. This version also omits dried orange peel, which is traditional but hard to find. With GF soy sauce, it is gluten-free.

Note 4: This is based on Bee Yinn Low's recipe in the cookbook Easy Chinese Recipes. Low has an updated recipe on her website that calls for marinating the chicken in marmalade, coating it in a flour-based batter, and putting orange zest in the sauce. That sounds cool! But it is not this recipe, and no attempt has been made to combine the two.

Ingredients

Meat
2.5 lb skinless boneless chicken meat (white or dark)
1 cup cornstarch, divided into four quarter-cups

Veg
4 heads broccoli, chopped

Sauce
0.75 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 cup orange juice, fresh-squeezed or Tropicana not-from-concentrate, any pulp strained out
0.5 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice wine
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil

Cooking
1 gallon canola oil
1 tsp chopped garlic, or 1 garlic clove
Freshly ground black pepper

Rice
2 cups rice
4 cups water

Equipment

Mixing bowls
Measuring cups and spoons
Whisk
Cutting boards
Chef's knife
Vegetable knife
Strainers
Nitrile gloves
Medium pot with lid
Large pot with metal steamer basket
Small nonstick pot
Large pan or wok
Stove (3 burners)
Deep-fry thermometer
Rice cooker
Wooden spoons
Slotted spoon
Large plates or platters, or a baking sheet
Paper towels
Two half-gallon jars
Small strainer

Steps

0) Mise en place. Have all your ingredients handy and measured. Pour the gallon of oil into the large pot, attach the thermometer, and start it heating over high heat. Put enough water in the medium pot to cook the broccoli, put the lid on the pot, and start it heating over high heat. Put the rice and water in the rice cooker and start it cooking. Cut up the chicken into bite-size chunks and divide it evenly into four batches, each in a separate bowl. Wash and cut up the broccoli. Cover two large plates or platters, or one large baking sheet, with two layers of paper towel.

1) Make the sauce. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together, then add the rest of the sauce ingredients. Pour the sauce into a nonstick pot and simmer it over medium heat until it starts to thicken; then remove it from the heat but leave it in the pot.

2) Cook the broccoli. When the water boils, put the broccoli in it and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until just barely cooked. Immediately drain the broccoli and set it aside.

3) Deep-fry the chicken. When the oil reaches 350F, do the following for each batch of chicken:

a) Add .25 cup cornstarch to the chicken and mix thoroughly with gloved hands, separating all the pieces and making sure they're thoroughly coated. Add more cornstarch if necessary. You want each piece to be separate and pretty dry to the touch.

b) Place the chicken in the metal steamer basket, arranging the pieces in a single layer on the bottom of the basket. Carefully remove the thermometer from the oil and set it aside. Put on oven mitts, stand as far back as possible, and slowly lower the basket into the oil. The oil will foam up a lot; this is normal and fine. Immediately stir the chicken with a wooden spoon to separate the pieces.

c) Fry the chicken until it's golden-brown and fully cooked. Carefully lift the basket out of the oil and gently tap it to shake excess oil off of the chicken. Put the chicken on the paper towels. Return the thermometer to the side of the pot and bring the oil back up to 350F. While it's coming to temp, pat the chicken dry with more paper towels--both the chicken and the oil on it will still be very very hot.

When all four batches have been fried, turn off the heat and carefully move the pot to a back burner to cool.

4) Stir-fry everything together with garlic and pepper(s). Put the heat back on under the sauce and bring it up to a simmer, stirring it frequently to make sure it doesn't scorch. Meanwhile, in a large pan or wok, heat 2 Tbsp of the deep-fry oil over high heat. Add the garlic and fry until fragrant. Grind in some black pepper to taste (or add chilis if you're using them) and fry until fragrant. Put the chicken and broccoli in the pan and stir-fry them briefly until the garlic and pepper(s) are mixed in. When the sauce is quite thick, turn off the heat. By now the rice should be ready.

5) Serve. Put rice in a bowl, add chicken and broccoli, and spoon sauce on top to taste. Eat immediately before the sauce can make the chicken soggy.

6) Store. Store the rice, the chicken and broccoli, and the sauce separately. Combine just before reheating and serving. Everything should keep pretty well in the fridge. Strain the oil into the half-gallon jars and reuse it for future frying.

Sources:
Easy Chinese Recipes by Bee Yin Low. This recipe is mostly adapted from the orange chicken recipe on p. 90.

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