Don't worry if you missed the first night of Chinese New Year's. (I know it was keeping you up at night.) The wise Chinese, along with other Asians, will continue to celebrate for two glorious weeks. Oh how I love a prolonged party! One little box on a calendar just doesn't suffice. Plus once you make a little Chinese food, you'll want to eat it much more often, like almost every day for two weeks. (But you'll have to take a break for Super Bowl Sunday, since Chinese food and football just sound wrong together.) Our "Year of the Ox" dinner included steamed white rice, stir fried noodles, a sweet and sour sauced orange and sesame chicken, and honey soy broccoli, topped off with brown sugar-almond cookies with tangerines for dessert. I think you're really going to love this menu, but most particularly this chicken. I mean weak-at-the-knees love it. Our dinner guests were smitten, and the usually cryptic Mr. Quiet Man even got a little verbose (for him), and I also found myself scraping the pan for the last of that syrupy- vinegary sauce. Good heavens, I'm always a little ashamed of myself when I scrape the pan. I'll just have to make it again. (And my little boy requested it for dinner again tonight. Yep. I think we must.) We've got almost two more weeks of Chinese good wishes. What a way to start a New Year! Money Saving tips: Sesame Oil is pricey but a little goes a long way. Try using it to drizzle on finished dishes for the most bang for your buck. (Use cheaper oils for the actual cooking.) The orange chicken is based on a knock off recipe from Panda Express (I know, I know, unauthentic), only this one is ten times better and will cost you considerably less, especially if you got your chicken on sale. Plus you can control the amount of oil that goes into this recipe, which normally consists of deep fried batter coated chicken. I've used plain old pasta noodles in my recipe below also, since that's going to be your cheapest option. Check out your produce section and compare prices for the cheapest broccoli: loose or bagged. For the cookies, you can swap out any nut you might have on hand, or leave them out all together and swap in a bit of almond extract.
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Place chicken pieces in bowl. Stir in egg, and about 3/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper , and mix well. In a separate bowl, stir 1/2 cup cornstarch and flour together. Add chicken pieces, stirring to coat. Heat oil for frying in wok or large skillet. Add chicken pieces, small batch at a time, and fry 3 to 4 minutes or until golden and crisp. (Do not overcook or chicken will be tough.) Remove chicken from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside. Clean wok with paper towel and heat 15 seconds over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant. Add and stir-fry crushed chilies and green onions. Add soy sauce, orange juice and zest, sugar, and vinegar to the wok; bring to a boil. Add cooked chicken, stirring until well mixed. Stir about 1/4 cup water into remaining 2 tablespoons cornstarch until smooth. Add to chicken and heat until sauce is thickened. Stir in 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Serve at once.
Heat oil in large pot over high heat. Add carrots and cook for 2 minutes, until tender crisp. Add cabbage, garlic, and green onions. Cook for 1 minute. Add noodles and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add soy sauce and drizzle with a bit more sesame oil.