Archive for September, 2012

postheadericon Orange Chicken

My friend Tony’s 12 year-old son  Jonah loves orange chicken.  Jonah and his dad love to cook together so I promised to post my mother’s famous orange chicken recipe.   If you love orange chicken, you’ll be thrilled to master this dish at home.  Tender pieces of chicken are marinated and then lightly fried in a simple batter.  The sauce is sweet, sour and slightly spicy and when poured over the chicken, the result is mouthwatering, crispy, juicy and delicious!   Forget takeout and a trip to the food court, here is the key to your family’s favorite Chinese dish.  Skip the crushed red pepper if you’re cooking for young children.

Orange Chicken


  • 4 to 6 servings
  • chicken marinade:
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thigh or breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • dash white pepper
  • batter:
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • vegetable oil for for frying
  • sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
  • 3/4 cup rice or white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • orange slices for garnish


  1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken pieces, egg, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon salt and the white pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a wok or deep frying pan to 350 degrees. Mix four, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the baking soda. Stir the chicken and remaining marinade into the batter until well coated. Fry about 15 pieces at a time until lightly browned, turning frequently, about 3 minutes. Drain on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Increase oil temperature to 375 degrees. Fry all of the pieces at one time for 1 minute (this is the secret for getting crispity-crunchy results). Drain on paper towel.
  3. Heat sugar, chicken broth, orange concentrate, vinegar, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, garlic, red pepper flakes and orange zest to boiling in a medium sauce pan. Mix 1/4 cup cornstarch and 1/4 cup water; stir into the sauce. Cook and stir until thickened about 10 seconds. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over chicken pieces. Serve immediately with hot jasmine rice.

postheadericon Thai Steak Salad

Even though summer has come to a close, it’s still warm enough to throw some steaks on the grill for most of you.  I love this Thai Steak Salad recipe because it turns an everyday grilled steak into an exciting symphony of salty, hot, sweet and sour flavors from the lemongrass, lime and orange juices, Thai basil, cilantro, mango, lemongrass and sambal oelek (Asian chili-garlic sauce.)  My friends who are on low-carb love it because it’s packed with protein and healthy veggies.  Feel free to grill some chicken or shrimp instead and toss with the salad and dressing.  This is my go-to salad when we have friends over for a last minute BBQ because it’s fast and soooo yummy. You can find sambal oelek at Asian markets but feel free to substitute with Siracha (available at most grocery stores these days) or Tabasco.  To mince lemongrass:  use only the bottom third, remove the tough outer leaves and bruise with the back of a cleaver and chop finely.

Thai Steak Salad


  • 1 lb. (500 g) boneless rib eye steak
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fish sauce (nam pla)
  • ½ teaspoon Asian chili-garlic sauce, preferably Sambal Oelek
  • 1 teaspoon minced lemongrass
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil
  • Salad
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • ¾ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 cup (7 g) fresh Thai or Italian basil leaves, julienned
  • 1/3 cup (7 g) fresh mint leaves
  • 1 small carrot, julienned
  • 1/3 cup (55 g) diced fresh mango
  • crushed roasted peanuts


  1. Preheat broiler. Season steaks with salt and pepper. Broil for 4 to 7 minutes per side for medium-rare or to desired doneness. Transfer to a cutting board; let stand for 10 minutes, then cut across the grain into thin slices.
  2. Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, soy sauce, orange juice, fish sauce, chili-garlic sauce, lemongrass, and garlic. Gradually whisk in olive oil and sesame oil until well blended.
  3. In a serving bowl, combine the mixed greens, cilantro, basil, mint, carrot and mango. Add all but 2 tbsp dressing and toss to combine. Arrange steak on top of salad. Drizzle the remaining dressing over steak. Garnish with crushed peanuts. Serve immediately.

postheadericon Japanese Style Stir-Fried Vegetables

The twins just started preschool again yesterday so I’ve been running around like a crazy woman trying to get everything together.  Between finding the new lunch boxes I bought two months ago and learning the new teachers, I realized I forgot to shop for dinner tonight.  Luckily, I had all of the ingredients on hand for this yummy veggie side dish that I’m serving with some grilled fish.  Flavored with notes of soy, mirin, rice vinegar, ginger and garlic, this recipe pairs beautifully with any grilled seafood or meat.  You can also toss in some tofu for a complete one-dish meal.   Feel free to substitute the soy sauce with tamari (but use about half) if you’re on a gluten-free diet.

Japanese Style Stir-Fried Vegetables


  • Serves 3 to 4
  • 1/3 cup lite soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 japanese eggplant, sliced diagonally into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup fresh shitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 ½ cups broccoli florets, blanched
  • toasted sesame seeds for garnish


  1. Make the stir-fry sauce: In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, sugar and sesame oil until blended and sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl to coat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and add the eggplant. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and red bell pepper and sauté for 1 minute. Add the broccoli and sauté for 1 minute. Add the sauce mixture and toss to coat for 1 minute. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve immediately with hot jasmine rice or brown rice.

postheadericon Panaeng Curry Meatballs

When is a meatball not just a meatball? When it is one of these delicious numbers that my whole family just loves to eat as fast as I can serve them. The combination of tender balls of your favorite ground meat (I made these with beef but you can use turkey, chicken or even pork if you prefer) and a wonderfully aromatic and tasty broth of curry, coconut milk and my personal favorite, kaffir lime leaves. Let this simmer in your kitchen for a a few minutes and watch the crowd gather. Also it’s great to bring to parties because it travels really well.

Panaeng Curry Meatballs


  • 1 ½ cups coconut milk
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon minced galangal or fresh ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon high-heat cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons panaeng curry paste or red curry paste
  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 4-6 kaffir lime leaves (optional), torn in half
  • ¼ cup canned sliced bamboo shoots, drained
  • Two small handfuls of fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves (about ½ cup), finely chopped


  1. Mix the ground beef with ginger, salt and egg. Place approximately 1 teaspoon of the mixture and shape it into a meatball. Continue shaping and transfer them onto a platter.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate and set aside.
  3. Add the coconut milk to the frying pan and let come a gentle simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the curry paste to the pan and cook about 3 minutes, stirring to dissolve the paste into the coconut milk. Return the meatballs and cook, turning gently to coat, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a gentle boil, and add the water, fish sauce, palm sugar, kaffir lime leaves and bamboo shoots. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring gently until the meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.

Welcome to The Sweet
and Sour Chronicles!

Hi! I’m Katie Chin, an Asian food expert, cookbook author, tv host and food blogger. I'm also a mom, so I know what it takes to get dinner on the table in a busy household. I specialize in everyday Asian recipes for real people on real schedules and real budgets. more

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