Monday, January 14, 2013

Spicy Orange Ginger Chicken

Our house has been trying to cook without salt or sodium (or very little of it).  As you can imagine, this is not easy.  It's not like I'm a salt fiend or anything, but, being Japanese, soy sauce is like a staple.  Not to mention, there's sodium in everything - ketchup, mustard, oyster sauce.  Take it all away and the results are usually so bland and tasteless that I'd rather eat anything else (even raw veggies) or starve than eat whatever sodium-free concoction appears on my table.

Well, starving is not an option and one can only live on veggies for so long, so I've been learning to be creative and I search the Internet like crazy.  Tonight, I would have liked to make soy sauce chicken, but, yeah, too much soy sauce equals too much sodium.  That's out.  Then, I came across this recipe on the site, "Moms Who Think."  It called for mostly orange juice, some brown sugar, and only a little soy sauce.  Not only did it sound delicious, but I happened to have a refrigerator bin full of oranges.  Bingo!

I changed the recipe and the method just a little.  With regards to the sauce, I doubled the amount of ginger powder and added some red pepper chili flakes (we like spicy in our house).  Then, instead of baking it all in the oven, I boiled the chicken in the sauce on the stove and thickened it with some cornstarch and water.  My family was very impressed with the way that this turned out.  In fact, we liked it so much, we're making it again for dinner tomorrow.

By the way, if you're wondering about the color of the rice in the picture, it's a mixture of Japanese sticky white rice and Korean black rice.  The black color from the Korean rice seeps into the rice water and turns everything a shade of dark purple.  The black rice also has a nutty flavor that we really enjoy.  Together with the chicken, it was the perfect, tasty meal.  And low-sodium to boot!  Gotta love that.     

Orange Ginger Chicken (adapted from Moms Who Think)

12-15 chicken breast tenderloins, defrosted or frozen
1 1/2 c. freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. low-sodium soy sauce 
2 tsp. ginger powder
1 1/2 tsp. red pepper chili flakes

2 tsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. water

Poach the chicken breast tenders in a saucepan until they're cooked through.  Drain the water and set aside.

Combine the juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger powder, and red pepper flakes and add to the chicken.  Cook on medium-high heat until the sauce is boiling.  Mix the cornstarch with the water and add to the sauce, stirring to combine.  When the sauce is thickened, turn off the heat and enjoy.