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If you spent any amount of your childhood in mall food courts – especially in the 1990s or early 2000’s – then this dish should spark some nostalgia. If you’ve ever made a meal out of free food court samples, then you know especially know what I’m talking about. I don’t know about your hometown suburban mall, but mine consistently had at least 3 “asian” options. One was Chinese, one was Korean, and the other was Japanese. Well, technically, they were all American… just about as American as the Subway sandwiched (pun intended) in between them too.
The giveaway was that the Korean place had most of the same entrees as the Japanese place which also had much of the same entrees as the Chinese place. They all had orange chicken and would compete over free samples of it. It would be many years before I’d come to realize that, although absolutely delicious, crispy fried chicken coated in a sticky sweet orange-soy glaze wasn’t my introduction to authentic Chinese food. American-Chinese food, yes.
Regardless of your thought on American-Chinese food, it’s a prominent part of our country’s food culture. Sometimes a greasy plate, or carton, of fried noodles, crispy glazed chicken, or any other American-Chinese/ Asian-American food concoction is just what the happy doctor ordered.
With that in mind, I had to take a stab at a nostalgic mall food court meal: Mandarin Orange Chicken with Stir-Fried Udon Noodles. Udon noodles are common among Japanese cuisine, not Chinese cuisine. I took the liberty of fusing the two cuisines using mall food courts as inspiration. There’s nothing wrong with mixing ingredients from various cuisines as long as you respect the origin. Where the mall food court outposts cross a line is when they label something like Orange Chicken as “authentic” Chinese food. It’s not, but the problem is that a label like that can make it authentic. Nobody should go a lifetime thinking that Orange Chicken is authentic Chinese food, like a trip through the local Panda Express drive-thru is akin to someone’s lunch break in Beijing.
Mandarin Orange Chicken with Stir-Fried Udon Noodles is a fun fusion dish that combines crispy fried chicken with a sweet and tangy mandarin orange glaze, served alongside udon noodles stir-fried in a savory soy based sauce.
Pieces of boneless-skinless chicken breasts are coated in flour and cornstarch and deep fried to crispy golden perfection. It’s then coated in a mandarin orange glaze for succulent, sticky finish that will leave you wanting to lick up every last drop.
The glaze itself is a delectable concoction made with Mandarin orange juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, shallot, rice vinegar, and red chili flakes. The combination of these ingredients creates a scintillating balance of flavors that enhance the natural taste of the chicken.
Thick and chewy udon noodles provide a hearty base for the dish, absorbing the flavors of the stir-fry sauce and bringing a contrast of textures to the table. These popular Japanese noodles are cooked al dente and stir fried in a hot skillet with freshly minced garlic, chopped green onion, and a savory combination of soy sauce, sesame oil, chili oil, and rice vinegar.
When plated, the Mandarin Orange Chicken is served alongside a generous portion of stir-fried udon noodles, drizzled with chili oil and garnished with chopped green onion. The result is an incredibly satisfying and comforting meal.
What’s the history of orange chicken?
It is widely believe that Panda Express, the popular American-Chinese fast food chain, invented orange chicken. They take credit for it, and per most accounts, their executive chef, Andy Kao, came up with the dish in 1987.
It was soon introduced to their menus and it quickly gained popularity among their customers. Orange chicken has become one of Panda Express’s most iconic and best-selling menu items. The success of orange chicken at Panda Express led to its widespread recognition and subsequent inclusion in the menus of many other Chinese-American restaurants across the United States.
What are udon noodles?
Udon noodles are a type of thick wheat noodle that originated in Japan. They have a distinct chewy and soft texture, which sets them apart from other types of noodles. Udon noodles are especially thicker and chewier compared to most Chinese noodle varieties.
Traditionally, udon noodles are hand-rolled and cut into thick strands, resulting in a cylindrical shape. They are typically shorter and thicker when compared to other noodles.
Due to their thick and hearty texture, udon noodles are excellent at absorbing flavors from sauces and broths. They have a neutral taste, allowing them to pair well with a wide range of ingredients and seasonings.
The post Mandarin Orange Chicken with Stir-Fried Udon Noodles appeared first on He Cooks..
By: Kyle Taylor
Title: Mandarin Orange Chicken with Stir-Fried Udon Noodles
Sourced From: hecooks.co/mandarin-orange-chicken-with-stir-fried-udon-noodles/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mandarin-orange-chicken-with-stir-fried-udon-noodles
Published Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2023 19:23:13 +0000
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