02/08/2005

Citrus chicken

To serve 3-4 as a main course:

3-4 chicken breasts, or about 600g chicken strips
1 tblsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 red pepper chopped
2 tblsp dark soy sauce
juice of an orange
1 tblsp honey
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tblsp sesame seeds

Method
If using chicken breasts, cut into thin strips. Marinade in the fridge with the olive oil and lemon juice, for a few hours, stirring occasionally.

Stir-fry the chicken for about five minutes in a fairly big saucepan or deep frying pan (or wok), using a little extra olive oil if needed. The chicken should all be cooked through. Add the crushed garlic and cook for another minute.

Mix the orange juice, soy sauce and honey together, then pour over the chicken, and sprinkle on the sesame seeds. Continue cooking for about ten minutes, stirring to ensure the chicken is well-coated.

Serve over rice.

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Notes:
While the marinading is nice, it isn't essential. I often forget, and nobody notices the difference.

Cutting fresh chicken breasts into strips isn't all that easy; use a fork to hold it and a sharp serrated knife. I find the simplest method is to start with frozen chicken breasts, thaw for a couple of hours (or a couple of minutes in the microwave) until it's the consistency of ice-cream. Then it slices much more easily.

Juice from fresh citrus fruits is of course best, but it's entirely possible to use orange juice from a packet, and lemon juice from a jar. So long as they're pure juice with no additives.

Don't worry if the garlic pieces turn light blue while cooking! I found it very disturbing the first time that happened, but research taught me that garlic will sometime go blue in the presence of acids such as lemon juice. By the time you've added the soy sauce, the blue colour should mostly have vanished.

If you forget the sesame seeds it doesn't matter, but they do add a pleasant crunch.

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