Friday, October 29, 2010

Orange Chicken and our 5 Minutes of Fame

If there is one thing that I love as much as food, its fashion. Yes, it is a shallow cliche but I am drawn to pretty things and shiny objects. One would think that very manly other half of The Empty Fridge would be uninterested in all this but that is not the case. Demos is one heck of a fashionista. Yes - I just called my bloke a fashionista. Our overseas holidays consist of as much shopping as they do eating, and most of the time it is spent in men's stores. Demos actually has a bigger closet than I do and takes much longer to get ready when we go out, he says its because he is indecisive - I think he is just a fussy dresser. 
So, imagine both of our excitement when we found ourselves in a window display for the French luxe brand Hermes. Yes folks, my life is now complete. I was lucky enough to be spoilt with a very special "Little Orange Box" on my birthday this year and thanks to some fun happy snaps taken during Vogues Fashion Night Out, our mugs have been on display at the Sydney store.  I plan to break in and steal the portrait once our 5 minutes of fame is over.
Hermes Orange bags and boxes aside, lets get back to food quick smart! This is not a well known dish in Australia but it is one of the dishes I love to eat when I visit the USA - and we can stick to the "Orange" theme Here is my take on...
Orange Chicken!
It is a similar concept to Honey Chicken, that dish you usually get in Chinese takeaway shops or seedy varieties in food courts. A very popular version that I crave is from Panda Express, a chain of Chinese takeout in the USA. How can you resist sweet citrusy goodness and some fried chicken? With the abundance of Oranges in the shops at the moment, I wanted to try my hand in replicating this. I googled some recipes and followed this simple version from Rasa Malaysia with a few adjustments. Firstly, I had no ginger or scallions at home.. and as I have previously established I am still trying to find my kitchen prowess.
Mmm..Orange guts. I love freshly squeezed oranges and for this dish I used 2 large navel oranges. It produced more juice than needed so I had a nice drink too! The recipe calls for just 1/4 cup of juice but I added 1/2 a cup . I figured I would just reduce the sauce longer to get a stronger orange flavour.
I diced up more garlic than the recipe required, and again to add to the orange bite, I finely chopped up some orange peel instead of just using the grater. I also added 2 teaspoons instead of just 1.
I used about two large chicken breasts, but unfortunately I didn't think to coat the chicken pieces with flour before dipping it into the batter. Silly me, another cooking fail. This resulted in the batter not "sticking" onto the chicken pieces, so I didn't get that outer crunchy crust. 
We did not have any fresh chillies readily available either, but because it is a partly greek kitchen, there is always a container full of homemade marinated chillies in the fridge, and boy did they bring the heat. As you can see, my batter didn't stick at all when I was frying.
When I was adding all the ingredients together for the sauce, the smell of the orange peel, juice, garlic and chilli just took over.

I was very disappointed that my chicken did not have a crispy crust to coat and soak in the sauce. However, the dish was full of flavour and tasted really exciting compared to the usual stir -fry's. Although the sweet, citrus and spicy flavours sound a bit much together in one dish, Demos and I really enjoyed the end result. It was very different to the takeaway version but I was happy to discover a yummy new stir fry with a kick. I served the chicken over some brown rice, but it would go well with some steamed bok choy or snow peas for a crisp taste.
There we have it, another attempt in the kitchen - not the ideal end result and yes I did get a bit upset and emotional about the batter and coating not sticking. At least I know for next time. Now I have two coping mechanisms when things dont go right in the kitchen, the first being Ben and Jerry's cookie dough ice cream. If that doesnt fix it then I can wander down to the local Hermes store and be that crazy lady that yell's out to the tourists walking by..
"That's me in the window..That's meeee"


Mrs Mousaka said...

I heard whispering coming from earthlings we have in common,that the orange chicken was really delicious.Good on you Gianna I'm proud.

mrs kanelakis said...

I don't know who looks more delicious you guys or the food.what a beautiful selection of photos good on you keep them coming.Mrs kanelakis.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

OMG that is EPIC! In the window of Hermes? I would be sooo chuffed and jumping up and down! :o Congratulations!

MelbaToast said...

Hermes window models - OMG! My boyfriends wardrobe is bigger than mine. He says that is because he is bigger than me so his clothes are bigger and take up more room. WHATEVER! He just has more me.

the dainty baker said...

Ahh how EXCITING!! ... can I have your autograph pleasE? xx

Gianna said...

@Mrs Mousaka - haha thank you, you're lovely son need's to fe tended to and fed :D

@Mrs Kanelakis - Thank you, you are too kind!

@Lorraine - I was very excited! The first time I walked past I had to do a double take! I have never been so excited.

@MelbaToast - These boys and their clothes, Demos is the same - he says its "all jackets" but he has like 40 pairs of jeans in there!!

@the dainty baker - Thanks R! so very random but hopefully they let me have the photo!

sangeee said...

Great and cool article man...thanx for the great post...keep on posting such articles...

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