Delicious breading, sweet orange, and spicy chili peppers unite in this healthy carb Szechuan orange chicken recipe.
The inspiration behind this Szechuan orange chicken recipe is our local Chinese restaurant, of course. I happen to really like the little Szechuan (or Sichuan) peppers, but most recipes don’t call for them. So I did.
Beyond that, I also of course had to make this orange chicken Trim Healthy Mama friendly and I wanted to be authentically orange flavored, so I decided to make it an E dish.
About Some of the Szechuan Orange Chicken Ingredients
- Flour. This uses real flour and stays on plan! I specifically used sprouted white flour (I usually purchase this from HealthyFlour.com). This is not bleached or processed flour, it is flour made from the hard white spring berry, so it is whole grain. It is also sprouted, which is important to keep your blood sugar from spiking. I prefer the sprouted white wheat flour because it has a more neutral taste over regular sprouted flour’s more whole grainy flavor plus the coloring I find makes food look more like what we’re used to.
- Baking powder. Why baking you ask? Well, it makes the breading turn into more of a breading texture for one, plus it also helps with texture. Be sure you’re using baking POWDER though, not baking soda.
- Orange juice. Use juice from a fresh squeezed orange, but don’t go over the 1/2 cup called for in the recipe. Liquid carbs like juice tend to hit the bloodstream faster and harder than solid carbs, so you don’t want to overdo this. If the end recipe does not have enough orange flavor to you (say your oranges were out of season or under ripe and therefore not as sweet, so more oranginess is needed, or if you just prefer more orangey flavor), then add some orange extract a wee bit at a time after removing the sauced chicken from the heat until the desired oranginess is achieved. You could also try adding more sweetener if the orange is under ripe to enhance its sweetness.
- Avocado oil. Sautéeing and panfrying are both done in avocado oil in this orange chicken recipe. The purpose for using this specific oil is smoke point. Other fats such as olive oil or butter have a lower smoke point, while avocado oil has a higher smoke point. If smoke point is reached during cooking, the oil/fat goes rancid, causing harmful free radicals in the body. Since avocado oil’s smoke point is so high, it’s unlikely it will be attained if this recipe is cooked per directions. That means no rancid oil and no free radicals!
Two Helpful Tools
This recipe calls for orange zest. This is the orange exterior of an orange (be sure the wash the orange first). You’ll want to avoid the pith, or white part of the peel just under the orange because, although it is nutritional, it tastes pretty bitter.
There are two ways to acquire the zest. One is to peel off the outermost orange colored part of the peel off with a sharp paring knife then mincing it. Or, to make it super fast and easy, use a zester. A quality zester will make this task a breeze while a cheapo one (like the flimsy, dull ones that sometimes come with kitchen utensil sets) will make it quite the tedious chore. I highly recommend this zester. It is super sharp and I was able to zest both oranges in about 2 minutes flat (possibly less–basically, I’m saying it was super easy with the quality sharp zester).
Another helpful tool is a citrus juicer like this one. This makes juicing the orange more thorough and easier than squeezing it just by hand. The one I have linked also has a handy measuring cup attached so you can measure as you juice. Plus, it has holes to catch any stray seeds. If you like the juicer I have pictured above, it was purchased from Hobby Lobby.
Szechuan Orange Chicken
- 2 pounds (about 8) boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized chunks
- ½ cup
sprouted wheat flour(more if necessary to coat the chicken)
- 1 teaspoon
aluminum free baking powder(NOT soda)
- 1 teaspoon mineral salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground black or white pepper
- 1 tablespoon
For Orange Sauce
- zest from 1 or 2 oranges
- ½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- ¼ cup cold water
- ¼ cup
Gentle Sweet or equivalent sweetener(reduce if your oranges are especially sweet)
- 3 tablesoons
tamari, liquid aminos, coconut aminos, or soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons
unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon unsulphured blackstrap molasses
- 2 teaspoons
sesame seed oil
- ½ teaspoon
glucomannan or xanthan gum, optional
- Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, garlic powder, and pepper in a plastic zip bag. Add the chicken, zip the bag shut, and flop it around until the chicken is coated in the flour mixture.
- In a wok or a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the avocado oil over medium-low heat. Add the chicken, turning occasionally to get all sides, until cooked through and the exterior is golden brown.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the zest, orange juice, cold water, sweetener, tamari, vinegar, molasses, sesame seed oil, and gluccie (smash any clumps). Set aside.
- Add the 1 teaspoon avocado oil, garlic, chili peppers, green onion, and ginger to the skillet. Heat until fragrant, stirring a few times, for about a minute or so.
- Add the prepared orange sauce to the skillet; stir and cook until heated through, about a minute or so. It should thicken, but if you feel like you should add more gluccie or xanthan gum do so a tiny bit (like ¼ teaspoon or less) at a time (sprinkle over top before stirring in to avoid clumping).
- Serve over cooked brown rice or cauli rice.