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Matchmakers Mandarin Orange Chicken

Mandarin orange chicken

So how do people find their perfect soul mate?

Sometimes you can meet that perfect soul mate at a party, a social function, blind date, on-line dating or maybe you should just hurl an orange at their head. Yes, you heard me correctly! Throwing oranges written with love messages written on them is an old tradition celebrated at the end of the Chinese New Year.

Chap Goh Mei is known as the Chinese Valentine’s Day. CHAP Goh Mei, which is Hokkien for “15th night”, symbolises the end of the Chinese New Year.

Mandarin orange chicken

According to legend, Chap Goh Mei was the only day that young hot women were allowed to get all dressed up and head out to the streets, unescorted. Of course, all the young hot single men wanted to take a part in this action so they headed to the streets to take get a better look at all of the single potential marriage prospects.

Mandarin orange chicken

On this special day, the single ladies would throw oranges into the lakes. The belief was that the man who picked up their orange would be their future match. In Malaysia, this tradition has survived till present times.

In celebration of this fun tradition lets throw some love inscribed oranges and make a little Chap Goh Matchmakers Mandarin Orange Chicken.

Once you have found your perfect soul mate, you want them to be happy and healthy and that is why my heart happy version of orange flavored chicken is unique. Unlike the usual deep-fried, coronary artery screaming version, of this dish this one is light, flavorful and uses herbs and spices instead of fat to flavor this dish.

Marinade:

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon Shao xing wine (Or white wine)
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 packets of splenda, Stevia  or other sugar alternative (or 2 teaspoons honey)
  • dash of white pepper
  • 1 pound boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Sauce:

  • 1 green onion chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns (or to taste)
  • Splash of Shao Xing Wine or white wine
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (or Tamari Sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon hot black bean sauce
  • 1 tablespoons mandarin orange zest
  • juice of 2 mandarin oranges
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Stir Fry

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Dried whole or large cut dried red chilis (optional it depends on how hot you like it)

Garnish

  • Slices of Mandarin Oranges
  • Cooked Rice

Step 1: In a baggie combine the chicken cubes with the cornstarch, wine, ginger, garlic, Sweetener (honey or dietetic), and white pepper. Mix thoroughly and let marinade in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.

Step 2: Combine and mix the sauce ingredients;  green onion, dried Sichuan peppercorns, wine, soy sauce, hot black bean sauce, mandarin orange zest, cornstarch and juices of mandarin oranges in a bowl and set aside.

Step 3: Add oil and crushed dried Sichuan peppercorns and quickly stir fry until aromatic about 1 minute or until your eyes water....

Step 4: Add the marinated chicken and quickly stir fry for about 2-3 minutes until chicken is no longer pick and the juices run clear.

Step 5: Add the sauce to the chicken and quickly stir fry until the sauce is thick and bubbly. Remove the whole dried chilies.

Step 6: Garnish the Mandarin orange chicken with mandarin oranges and serve with a side of rice and stir fried vegetables.

LESS THAN 30 MINUTE DINNERS

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Matchmakers Mandarin Orange Chicken

By HWC Magazine  , , , , , , , ,   

February 17, 2012

  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yields: 4 Adults or 1 Hungry Teenager

Ingredients

chicken breasts -

shao xing wine -

ginger -

garlic -

green onions -

sichuan peppers -

tamari (soy) sauce -

black bean sauce -

mandarin orange zest -

mandarin orange juice -

sesame oil -

00:00
  • Sounds wonderful!
    🙂 Mandy

  • Too fun… I think Canadian culture is pretty boring when it comes to traditions like this.. Maybe we could start a toque throwing event? I love your story and your recipe… I’m craving orange and something light today… but I think I’m going to go the honey route. This looks soo good, Bam:)

    • I think every culture has fun and interesting customs. Canada included. My eldest son is going to be snowboarding in Blue Mountain this weekend. I think honey is the prefered sweetner if given the choice but had to use stevia here due to dietary needs in the family.

      • Btw, we made your Buddha’s dish two days ago.. it was fantastic:) A hit with the kids!!

      • Sorry Bam… fuzzy head.. posted this on the wrong blog:) Time to get some coffee! I hope your son has a fantastic time in Blue Mountain. My daughter is heading to BC tomorrow and it’s been snowing tons…

  • What a lovely tradition – very romantic indeed, and a recipe to match! Thanks for sharing some of the Chinese culture with us.

    • Thanks Martyna. I don’t know how this tradition started maybe after the Chinese New Year they were looking for things to do with all then oranges they received as gifts for the Chinese New Year.

  • I love this! I hope you ate it with asian rice.

    • I served it with some lovely healthy organic long grain brown rice or Thai jasmine basmati rice is lovely too.

  • Very cool recipe…I haven’t attempted any Asian-style dishes in years, and this one looks do-able.
    Love the photo of the grater – nice perspective!

    • Thanks Marie, it is a super easy dish. Great week night meal. Just marinate in am and dinner is on the table in less than 30 minutes.

  • Yum, Bobbi. I’m always up for a simple dish with a twist–in this case, the orange zest.

    BTW, I finally followed up on the Reader Appreciation Award. Thanks again for honoring me… http://stepbystepinthekitchen.blogspot.com/2012/02/santa-fe-salmon-and-award.html

  • This looks really delicious, and what beautiful photos. I like that it’s healthier, too! I’m for anything with oranges in it and you’ve inspired me with this chicken dish. Love the story behind it, too, and the image in my mind of all those pretty little oranges floating downstream awaiting destiny…lovely!

    • It is kind of romantic, oranges floating along the river destined to find your true love…. It sure beats the hallmark holiday of cards, flowers and candy. Take Care, BAM

  • I’ve been looking for something to do with my black bean sauce, and this looks delicious! Love the addition of mandarin too.

    • Both the spicy black bean sauce and dried chilies deliver some flavor and heat but the sweetness of the mandarin oranges really balances the flavor nicely. Have a great weekend. BAM

  • Looks delicious. I think it’d go so well with asparagus too and brown rice.

    • Indeed that would be a lovely combo and photo. I actually did prepare stir fried veggies and brown rice along with this dish but my family was starving so only had time for a couple of quick photos before they devoured it. It is always the hardest part about food writing is holding my family off so that I can just get one quick picture. Teenage BOYS!!!!!

  • I would like to try this citrus combo for my brother sometime – it looks wonderful and I am sure delivers great flavour hits 😀
    Awesome post!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    • Does your brother like spicy foods? If not just tone down the dried chillies to his taste. Thanks Choc Chip Uru. BAM

  • Your posts always manage to make me hungry, and I just ate lunch!

    • Thanks Jen! What are you cooking in your kitchen this week? Can’t wait to find out. BAM

  • I did not know much about Chinese Valentine’s Day until this year and learned some facts about it from food blogs. My own Taiwanese husband didn’t teach me that! I guess he’s too Americanized and I don’t hear it from anyone until this year. Your Mandarin orange chicken looks so delicious. My kids love mandarin oranges and they would probably eat this dish until it’s gone. I might eat more than them too. =P Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe Bam-san! Arigato~~!

    • Do itashimashita Nami-san, I have some of the most amazing international friends, like you, and learn so much from them. It really does make the world feel like a small place. If you family does not like it spicy, cut out or reduce the chillies to suit your taste. But just a little chilli really makes the flavors pop. Ja Mata, BAM

  • Just look at that amazing, delectable, and delicious orange chicken. I was just hungry from visiting Greg’s blog.. now I’m even more hungrier coming here LOL. I love this recipe

    • I have decided to stop reading all my favorite fellow food blogs, including yours late at night as it gives me the munchies. Bam

  • I love this recipe. I’m going to cook it.

  • Very special dish. I am sure it taste great too! Combi of orange and chicken. Bookmarked!

    • Thanks Ellena for stopping by. Oranges are in season now, enjoy it while you can. Take care, BAM

  • jolyn

    YUM!!! That’s all…..

  • So glad you shared this fun day in Chinese culture with us. I love the idea of hot women just flocking the streets and big groups of men following behind like puppies. This dish looks as dreamy as the romantic day. Love the orange flavors.

    • It is kind of romantic. Puppy love… Thanks Geni. Have a great weekend. BAM

  • Love the story behind your recipe. My husband loves the unhealthy version of this dish. Now I can give him a much healthier version…thank you.

    • That’s is exactly the response my husband said before he tasted it . Not fried? and then he went back for seconds.

  • I have never heard of this tradition but it sounds like fun! I’ve always loved szechuan peppercorns too, they have such a unique taste!

    • Sichuan peppers are amazing both both flavorful and numbing.

  • Zoe @ Pantry and Fridge

    This looks and sounds awesome. This is right up our ally as far as what we like. I hope to make this really soon! I’ll let you know.

    What a cool tradition, too. 🙂

  • Beautiful post, very romantic…..I love it:)

  • Hola and thanks Katya.

  • Pingback: Feel like Chicken Tonight? | Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide()

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