If you want to make the most out of Chinese New Year, forget your local take-away, and cook yourself a tasty meal inspired by the vibrant eastern traditions. This Chicken in Orange sauce with forbidden rice, is a simple recipe that embraces at the very best Chinese ancient history and culture.

Orange Chicken is a widely acclaimed American favorite Chinese take-out, you’ll be surprised to know the popular restaurant-chain Panda Express owns its way to master this Asian inspired dish. Besides being absolutely succulent and far more appreciated in US rather than in the actual China, there’s still a lot of tradition behind this recipe.

Forbidden rice may have gotten its name because only emperors in ancient China were allowed to eat it, due to its rarity and high nutritional value. Also known as Chinese black rice, this fantastic ingredient has plenty of nutritions, including iron, antioxidants  and more healthy benefits that will easily convince you to have it more often. It’s worth mentioning that black rice tastes amazing. It has a nice nutty flavor when is cooked, making an impressive addition to any dish.

Orange chicken —also known as orange peel chicken or tangerine chicken— derived its name from the use of dried orange peel (??) in the recipe. It comes originally from the Hunan cuisine, where spicy dishes are popular, so don’t omit the chili sauce. As dried orange peel may not be easy to find, you can easily swap for fresh orange peel, without compromising the flavor.

Combine orange chicken with forbidden rice for a fantastic main course, you can taste already the crispy chunks of deep-fried battered chicken in a sweet, sour, and savory glaze with deep citrus aroma. A succulent dish that’s the perfect excuse for gathering together family and friends, and celebrate Chinese New Year!

Orange Chicken Black Rice - Traditional Chinese recipe by The Petite Cook
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Orange Chicken with Forbidden rice

Combine orange chicken with forbidden rice for a fantastic main course, you can taste already the crispy chunks of deep-fried battered chicken in a sweet, sour, and savory glaze with deep citrusy aroma.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 4
Author: The Petite Cook


For the chicken:

  • 1 lb/ 450gr chicken thighs - boneless skinless cut into cubes
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the orange sauce:

  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp chicken stock vegetable or dashi also good
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp roasted sesame seed oil
  • 1/4 cup juice from fresh orange
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 4 2-inch strips dried (or fresh) orange peel
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 thinly sliced scallion bottoms

To serve:

  • 2 cups steamed Chinese forbidden/ black rice
  • 2 sliced spring onions
  • 1 tsp minced fresh Thai chili
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp toasted almond flakes
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange zest


  • In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and egg whites until frothy, season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken chunks to the mixture and rest for 10 minutes.
  • In the meantime, prepare the orange sauce: in a small bowl whisk together soy sauce, wine, vinegar, chicken stock, sugar, sesame seed oil, orange juice, and cornstarch. Add dried orange peel and sweet chili sauce, combine all ingredients and set aside.
  • Heat a large wok with the vegetable oil, over low-med heat. Add minced garlic, ginger and scallions and stir-fry for 2 min.
  • Add the orange sauce mixture into the wok and cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and transfer the sauce into a bowl, to rest and cool a little.
  • Heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pot until hot ( the perfect temperature is 350F).
  • Drop a few pieces of chicken into the oil (one by one to prevent them from sticking together) and deep-fry until light golden and cooked through. Remember to not overcrowd the pan, cook the chicken in batches if needed. Let the nuggets drain on paper towel for 2 min.
  • Transfer the chicken into the wok with the orange juice, heat for 2 mins, stirring to combine all ingredients.
  • In a large bowl combine steamed black rice with chopped red chili, almond flakes, sesame seeds, orange zest, fresh parsley and spring onions.
  • Serve orange chicken together with the steamed forbidden rice. Enjoy!
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