Sunday, December 30, 2012

Orange-Sesame Chicken Stir Fry ~ A Sweet and Spicy, Light and Sassy Dinner

If you love Chinese sesame chicken, you'll probably like this spicy-orange-sesame-chicken-stir-fry. Wow, that's a mouthful, isn't it? This dish is a much lighter take on that classic dish. Here, contrasting, bold flavors play off each other in a good way. A delicate honey-orange-sesame glaze gives the chicken a sweet, citrus zing. The heat from a chili pepper balances the sweetness. Bell peppers and red onions add texture, crunch and a dose of vitamin C. A sassy Moroccan spice-blend lends warm, smoky back notes. A sprinkling of  sesame seeds finishes everything off beautifully. Sesame seeds are very good for us. They're high in calcium and magnesium. A healthy and tasty meal I think you'll enjoy after a long walk in the cold air.

It's the kind of meal I think about creating on snowy, New England evenings when I've just finished walking our eager, young beagle a good distance. Tail wagging, ears flapping, she's loves walking in the snow. Coming home refreshed and famished, with snowflakes on our noses and eye lashes, we settle in for the night. This Christmas season in New England is everything I imagined it to be. Soft, sparkling snow, twinkling lights, crackling fires and spicy dinners.

Orange Sesame Stir Fry Recipe

Some Notes: 

This is a light stir fry which is best made in a nonstick pan. I use my large eco-friendly Scanpan.
You can serve it with brown rice, Jasmine rice or basmati rice to round out the meal.

Use any kind of bell pepper you like, red, green, orange, yellow, they'll all work here. If you don't have a chili pepper handy, you can use a bit of ground red pepper or chili flakes.

Ras el Hanout is a uniquely Moroccan spice blend that is wonderful in most North African dishes. I buy mine from Soluna Garden Farm. It's delicious, but not absolutely necessary.

Saffron is also a spice that's found in Moroccan cuisine, but you can leave it out with good results. The cumin, smoked paprika and sesame seeds are the only necessary spices.

I like serving this dish with freshly steamed rice. A sprinkling of chopped scallions on top is a good idea too.

The sauce is thickened with tasteless-gluten-free potato starch. It gives the sauce some body and a smooth texture which I like in this dish.

Serves 4-6 with rice

Happy New Year Everyone! Many Blessings, Health and Happiness!

You'll Need:
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips. You can also use red bell pepper.
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, diced. Remove seeds and veins if you want it to be less spicy or use red chili flakes.
  • 1-2 oranges, zest one and reserve the zest.
  • 2 lbs of skinless, boneless chicken breast, sliced into thin strips. I used two packages of thin chicken breasts and sliced each breast into thin strips. 
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. I used unfiltered.
  • A spice blend of 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1/2 tablespoon of smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds, 1/4 teaspoon of ras el hanout, pinch of saffron. (see notes)
  • Generous drizzle of honey, about a tablespoon or so
  • Sea salt or kosher salt to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon of potato starch mixed with 1/2 tablespoon of cold water to thicken the sauce. (see notes)
  • A teeny tiny drizzle of toasted sesame oil would be great way to finish this too! Be careful it's strong! Use just a tiny amount. 
  • Serve with: Brown rice, couscous, basmati rice, jasmine rice scallions and/or sliced almonds.

The Rundown:

Add the oil to a non-stick fry pan. Heat on medium high to high heat, add the green pepper, onions and jalapeno pepper. Add salt and cook until the vegetables are tender crisp. It helps to occasionally cover the pan and stir frequently. When the vegetables are tender-crisp, set them aside.

Add a drizzle more oil to the pan and the chicken. Season with salt. Cook the chicken over medium-medium high heat. As the chicken begins to cook and turn color, add the spice blend and the orange zest. Stir and combine. Add the peppers and onions back to the pan with the chicken. Finish cooking with the honey and the juice of one orange. Add the potato starch and water mixture to the pan sauce to thicken it a bit. Adjust salt. Serve with rice and more sesame seeds sprinkled on top.


  1. Hi there!

    I am a midwife and am trying to get a nice collection of recipes on our website that are healthy and simple and appealing to families with small this recipe!

    I'd like to encourage you to submit it (and as many others as you like) to our recipe contest. If we post your recipe(s) on our site (which will if you submit them...your recipes are awesome), we will post not only your name as you enter it but also a link to your blog.

    Each recipe you enter earns you the chance to win a $50 gift certificate to a local restaurant of your choice. (Local = where you live, and locally owned, not some big chain) For full details on the contest, click here:

    PS - Any readers of this blog are also encouraged to enter the contest!

    1. Hello Jesica, Thanks so much! I'll be sure to submit some as soon as I can! I work in the evenings as an admin assistant, blogging is my day job. Thanks for popping by and leaving a comment! :)

    2. Jesica, you're free to copy and paste my recipes on your site. All I ask is that you provide a link back to my site or credit me(with my blog name) for each recipe. Thanks again!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks very much Kareena! I'm so happy you enjoyed it! Stop by again. :)