It's citrus season! I used to not care about the citrus season but then I discovered blood oranges, raspberry oranges, Meyer lemons, and Cara Cara oranges. Now, I can't wait until January. To kick off all of the citrus recipes coming your way, I'm starting with a Cara Cara orange ginger chicken stir fry. This dish is a spin on the classic orange chicken, using Cara Cara oranges instead of navel oranges. Add sesame, ginger, and snap peas, and bell peppers to the stir fry and you have one delicious and flavorful meal!
Cara Cara Orange Ginger Chicken Stir Fry
- 1 lb chicken breast cut into bite-size chunks
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon cara cara orange zest
- ½ cup cara cara orange juice
- 3 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoon rice wine
- 1 ½ tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- 2 tablespoon oil divided
- 1 cup snap peas
- ½ red bell pepper chopped
- ½ green bell pepper chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon minced ginger
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 scallions chopped
- Toss the chicken with cornstarch, ground ginger, turmeric, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon oil. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce. Combine the zest of 1 cara cara orange with ½ cup orange juice, honey, rice wine, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and red chili flakes. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and saute until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, heat another tablespoon oil. Add the snap peas, red bell pepper, and green bell pepper and saute until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and ginger and saute for another minute.
- Add back the chicken to the pan along with the sauce. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook for another minute, stirring to coat everything in the sauce. Season the stir fry with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the dish to a plate and garnish with sesame seeds, chopped scallions, and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
If you never had a Cara Cara orange before, I highly recommend that you give them a try. Imagine if a strawberry and orange had a baby and that's what you get with Cara Cara oranges. They have beautiful pink flesh, are incredibly juicy, and when in season, are very sweet.
We're going to pair these wonderful oranges with Asian staple ingredients including soy sauce, rice wine, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and chili flakes to create a sauce for the stir fry. Don't forget to add both the juice and zest to the sauce for maximum orange flavor.
Marinate chicken breast or boneless skinless thighs with cornstarch, ginger, garlic, turmeric, salt, pepper, and olive oil, and let sit for 10 minutes. Cornstarch is important for two reasons. First, it will tenderize the meat. Second, it will help thicken the sauce.
Heat oil in a large saute pan or wok and cook the chicken until golden brown. Don't worry if the inside isn't fully cooked since we're going to cook it again with the sauce.
Remove the chicken and set it aside. In the same pan, saute the vegetables until tender. You can swap out the snap peas and bell peppers for whatever is in season. Broccoli, bok choy, kale, and zucchini would all work wonderfully in this Cara Cara orange ginger chicken stir fry.
Add the sauce to the pan along with the chicken and simmer for another minute or until thickened. Give the stir fry a taste and give it a final seasoning.
Transfer the stir fry to a plate and garnish with scallions, sesame seeds, and fresh chopped cilantro. Serve the Cara Cara orange ginger chicken stir fry with rice for a complete meal.
Although this recipe doesn't stray too far from the original orange chicken stir fry, the flavors differ from the classic. Not overly sweet with a slightly peppery taste from the ginger, this dish is easy to make and dare I say, better than takeout!
For more stir fry inspiration check out this honey walnut coconut shrimp!