Homemade Orange Chicken Sauce
Do you want to whip up a healthy dinner on the table on a busy weeknight? Thinking about changing up flavors so dinner won’t be boring again?
Making stir fry sauce in advance is the perfect solution.
Not only you can use this orange sauce to make orange chicken or a quick stir fry, you can even make roasted vegetables with it!
How to use the sauce
Simply reheat the sauce in microwave, you can add the sauce in stir fry or on roasted vegetables and protein!
(1) Recommended Protein and how to prep for stir frying
- Beef (flank steak or short ribs) – thinly slice (1/8 to 1/4-inch thick), or cut to strips
- Chicken (skinless boneless breast or thigh) – Diced to 1-inch pieces, or sliced to 1/4-inch thick
- Shrimps – peeled and deveined
- Tofu (firm or extra firm) – Diced to 1/2 to 2/3 inch pieces
For each pound of meat or seafood, mix with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or peanut oil), 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Let marinate for 5 to 10 minutes.
To create a crispy crust, restaurant-style, learn this method so you can achieve the goal without deep-frying.
For tofu, marinate with 2 tablespoons soy sauce for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and coat with a thin layer of cornstarch.
(2) Recommended vegetables and how to prep for stir frying
To make a quick dinner, my favorite way is to only use one type of vegetable. You can use two, but no more.
- Asparagus – Chopped to 1-inch pieces
- Baby bok choy – Tear off large leaves and halve lengthwise, halve or quarter the rest
- Bell peppers – Sliced or chopped
- Broccoli (fresh) – Divide to small florets; steam or blanch (see this post to learn how to blanch the broccoli quickly in the same stir fry pan)
- Broccoli (frozen) – Microwave for 2 to 4 minutes (depending on the quantity), so the broccoli is thawed and luke warm, but not heated up.
- Brussels sprouts – Roasted (see this post for how to roast Brussels sprouts).
- Cauliflower (fresh) – Divide to small florets; steam, blanch, or roast.
- Cauliflowers (frozen) – Microwave for 2 to 4 minutes (for stir fry), or roast (see this post to learn how to crisp up frozen cauliflowers in the oven)
- Carrot – Sliced into pieces or stripes (by using a julienne peeler); or cut to chunk and roast
- Eggplant – sliced (see this post to learn how to prep eggplant so it crisps up during stir fry)
- Green peas (fresh or frozen)
- Onion – Sliced
- Snow pea
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or grapeseed oil)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 1/2 cup loosely packed dried tangerine peel (or grated orange zest)
- 1 cup orange juice
- 3/4 cup rice vinegar (or distilled white vinegar)
- 1/4 cup light soy sauce (or soy sauce, or tamari for gluten-free)
- 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine (or Japanese sake, or dry sherry, or chicken stock)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 and 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Add dried tangerine skin in a small bowl and add hot water to cover. Let soak for about 20 minutes, or until the tangerine skin softens. Drain and finely slice. Transfer 1/4 cup sliced tangerine skin into a bowl, and save the rest in a airtight container in the fridge for next time. If you do not use dried tangerine peel, grate about four fresh orange skins to make 1/2 cup orange zest.
- Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and the rehydrated tangerine skin to a big bowl. Stir until the cornstarch is fully combined.
- Heat oil in a saucepan until warm. Add garlic and minced ginger. Cook and stir until you smell a strong fragrance.
- Stir to mix the sauce again to completely dissolve the cornstarch. Pour into the pan. Cook and stir until the sauce thickens, just enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Transfer the sauce into a bowl immediately, so it won’t continue to cook in residual heat.
- Transfer the sauce in a airtight jar or container once cooled down. Store in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for 2 to 3 month.
- Microwave sauce (1/3 cup to 1/2 cup) by 30 seconds increments. Then stir it and continue to heat until the sauce just turns hot without bubbling.
- If you heat the sauce on stovetop, always use low heat and stir the sauce frequently to prevent scorching.
- If you freeze the sauce, some of the liquid might separate and the thawed sauce looks like jelly. Simply stir to mix the sauce together and reheat in microwave or on the stove. You can restore the sauce to the previous consistency.