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Thai Orange Chicken Stir Fry

Updated: Apr 11, 2022

Did you know that one of the most common ingredients in packaged food is sugar?! Yep, and it’s added to all sorts of things you wouldn’t suspect, like dressings and marinades. If you’re trying to watch your sugar intake, spending just a few extra minutes to make your own can make a huge impact. You can still have your “sweet” too. One of my favorite sweeteners is orange juice because it provides sweet + amazing orange flavor + vitamins. It’s still sugar, but we’re opting for a natural source vs refined and pairing it with fiber and protein to keep your blood sugar steady.


Here’s an easy recipe for Thai Orange Chicken Stir Fry featuring orange juice as well as thai chilis, red miso, ginger, garlic, cilantro, and lemongrass. I also loaded it with crunchy, colorful veggies including bok choy, red onion, mushrooms, and yellow summer squash, and chicken breast for protein. Great for meal prep to eat all week, especially when served with a little whole grain such as quinoa. Swap the chicken out for a sturdy fish or tofu, tempeh, seitan to keep it vegan.


I’m always inventing new recipes based on what’s in the fridge, especially what’s about to go bad in the fridge. Last weekend we hosted family for a luscious brunch and included OJ as a beverage option. Not many partook and there we were with a gallon of OJ, which is something we don’t usually drink. So, I’ve been getting creative all week, adding it to smoothies instead of milk, to vinaigrettes instead of vinegar, and to marinades like this one. This was my favorite recipe since the bright orange flavor pairs so well with chilies, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass. It is also a fabulous way to tenderize meat because of its acidity. This recipe makes one big batch of marinade, then we pour 1/3 of it over the chicken and save the rest for a sauce to flavor up the whole dish. YUM!

Servings: 6 | Easy | Prep: 15 minutes (+ 2 – 3 hours to marinate) | Cook: 15minutes

Calories: 261 | Protein: 30 g | Fat: 7 g | Carbohydrates: 18 g | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 10g | Sodium: 420 mg

Vitamin A: 11% | Vitamin C: 57% | Calcium: 41% | Iron: 6% | Potassium: 529 mg

Ingredients

  1. 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken, bite-sized strips (breast &/or thigh)

  2. 3 cups baby bok choy, chopped

  3. 2 cups yellow summer squash, chopped

  4. 1 cup Cremini mushroom, chopped,

  5. 1 cup red onion, chopped

  6. 1.5 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

  7. 1.5 cup chicken stock (no/low sodium)

  8. 1 tbsp garlic, minced

  9. 2 tbsp lemongrass paste

  10. 2 tbsp fresh ginger root, minced

  11. 1 tbsp Thai red chilies, fresh or dried, finely diced

  12. 2 tbsp red miso paste

  13. 4 -8 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped and divided

  14. 2 tbsp cornstarch (use arrowroot to make gluten free)

  15. 1 – 2 tbsp avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil

Preparation

Slice the chicken into even, bite-sized strips. I used a combo of breasts and thighs, but any you prefer would work fine. Add slices to a ziptop bag or bowl with a lid.

In a medium bowl combine minced garlic, minced ginger root, lemongrass paste, miso paste, diced Thai chilis, orange juice, stock, and 2 tbsp of the chopped cilantro. Stir until well combined. Pour 1/3 of the mixture over the chicken and reserve the rest. Place chicken into the fridge and let marinate for 2- 3 hours. Keep extra sauce in the fridge too.


(note: I use a lemongrass paste that comes pre-made because it’s hard to find in my neighborhood and it lasts for a long time in the fridge. It’s mildly processed, but the convenience is worth the tradeoff in the case to me. You can also grab the actual stocks, beat them so they soften, then mince up the soft fleshy parts inside the stock. This method is time-consuming but pretty satisfying)



marinade aromatics


marinade


chicken with marinade

When it’s time to cook, chop all the veggies. I used large-sized pieces that were about even with the chicken strips, but it’s most important that your veggies are all about the same size to one another (ie all the mushrooms are about the same size).


(note: if making a grain, begin that before you stir fry so it’s ready with the rest of the meal. Quinoa, used here takes about 15 minutes, so I started it before I chopped my veggies. It will hang out on the stove nicely (heat off) waiting for you to serve. Rice cookers are awesome too, but some take 30 minutes to make rice.)

Heat a large non-stick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Drain the chicken from the marinade over a colander. Add 1 tbsp of oil, followed by the chicken. Spread the chicken out so it has its own space in the pan. Let cook without moving for a few minutes, then toss/flip so chicken is browned on all sides (about 5 -6 minutes total. Remove chicken from pan and set aside on a plate.




Next add the 2nd tbsp of olive oil, followed by the onions and hard stem section of the bok choy. Let soften for 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms and squash. Let soften another 2 – 3 minutes, string periodically.


Meanwhile, whisk in 2 tbsp of corn starch into the remaining marinade. (note: Heating in the microwave for 30 seconds can help with clumping, but isn’t necessary. I opted to smoosh the clumps against to edge of the bowl. Just make sure all clumps are gone).




Slide the chicken back into the pan and pour the sauce over. Stir everything together, cover, turn the heat to low, and let simmer for about 5 minutes until chicken is cooked through and sauce is thick and glossy.

Serve over quinoa and top with more fresh chopped cilantro.

Variations and notes

  1. Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Great for meal preparation.

  2. Switch the animal protein – pork, beef, a sturdy fish like halibut, or shrimp would all work. Marinate fish and shrimp for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Beef and pork can sit for much longer, up to 8 hours.

  3. Make it plant-based/vegan – use tofu, tempeh, or seitan. Marinate for 30 minutes – 3 hours. Use vegetable stock instead of chicken

  4. Reduce sugar a little more by using more stock and less orange juice – try 1 cup oj and 2 cup stock to retain sweet and flavor

  5. Other great vegetable options – broccoli, snap peas, caulflower, carrots, eggplant, green beans, and bell peppers

 

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