Orange & Kumquat Glazed Chicken


My mom worked at P.F. Chang‘s China Bistro early in the restaurant’s history. It was a ritzy new joint at Fashion Island with call-ahead seating and a bustling reservation list. She arrived nightly to hostess in slick black pants and a skinny shirt, her hair spiky and fashionably coiffed. (My mom, incidentally, is gorgeous. Once, I even had the following conversation on the phone: “Hi Brooke! I heard your mom was in town this weekend. I wish I could have met her. My mom said she looks just like you, but pretty.’ And, really she does. She is so pretty.)
The year we were married, John and I visited Southern California, sleeping on an air mattress in mom’s tiny Costa Mesa apartment, waking to the thick marine layer and smell of salt in the air. Mom kept worrying about us sleeping on the ground. Worrying about the size of her apartment. Worrying that we were having a good time. Always a hostess, that mom of mine. We assured her we’d sleep on a bed of steel-dipped porcupines if it meant waking up in California. Love that place.
On our third night there, mom took the night off of work and treated us to dinner at PF’s. We sashayed ourselved through a black, sea-soaked night and walked right into the restaurant. They sat us immediately at a table. We felt very snazzy. Even more so when mom snapped her hand and summoned the waiter. “No menu’s, thank you.” She didn’t need them. She was about to order one of everything off the menu. Allright, it probably wasn’t one of everything, but good heck. Twenty minutes later, our table was filled to the gills with lettuce wraps and wontons, spring rolls and shrimp, ahi, egg rolls, steamed veggies, spare ribs. Every sort of gourment chinese food that has ever been imagined graced our tables and slid it’s way into our bellies. We talked and ate and laughed and ate the night away. The evening was long and sweet and savory. Even as I replay it now in memory, I imagine us laughing in slow motion, heads bowed together then thrown back in great delight, over and over and over again, until we were good and ready to be done.
When we finally hefted our well-fed selves up from our seats and started heading for the door, I turned to say thank you, but discovered mom walking far behind us. “Thank you,” I mouthed through the crowded room, motioning that we’d wait for her outside. She smiled. Her eyes smiled. She stood watching me this way for a moment. Then, she winked. It was as if to say that the whole night had been her pleasure. It was as though she thought that having me on the floor of her apartment, eating breakfast at her kitchen table, watching me walk out the restaurant door, it was all her pleasure. Though, it was so clearly mine.
Always the consummate hostess, that mom of mine. Ever the adoring mother.

Thank you, mom. I love you.


Orange & Kumquat Glazed Chicken
It was a drizzly Saturday and seven-year-old daughter, Alyssa, announced that she wanted chinese take-out, and she wanted it bad. We had a crowd to feed, and I started adding up the total, should we trip down to the usual fast-chinese joint and grab us each a box of Orange chicken. $6 x 8= $48. Yikes! That was half the grocery money I had left until payday. Instead, we headed to the grocery store and spent six bucks. A dollar for 6 packs of ramen noodles, a dollar for frozen stir-fry mix, four bucks for a package of chicken. One hour later, two gigantic, steaming bowls–one of chinese noodles, one of gleaming orange chicken–were set upon the table. If you’ve ever hosted a crazy-mad craving for orange chicken, be prepared to love this recipe even more. The sauce is gloriously thick and sticky with a hint of spice. The addition of sliced kumquats kicks up the orange flavor and makes for a stunning presentation. Tune in Thursday for the noodle recipe, which pairs perfectly with this chicken.
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, uncooked
3 well beaten eggs
2 T. milk
1 c. cornstarch
Salt & Pepper to taste

Slice chicken into bite-sized pieces. Dip chicken pieces in egg mixture, coat in cornstarch, then dip again in egg mixture. Fry in oil heated over a medium or medium-high stove, until lightly browned on both sides. Remove and allow to cool on a paper towel before transferring to a cookie sheet. To cook, make sure chicken pieces are in a single layer on cookie sheet, coat with orange-kumquat glaze and bake according to directions below.

Orange & Kumquat Glaze
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. catsup
1/2 c. honey

1/4 c. orange juice, freshly squeezed
Zest of 1 orange
8 kumquats, sliced
2 T. white vinegar
1 T. chives
1 T. red pepper flakes
1 T. sliced almonds

In a medium saucepan, combine soy sauce, catsup, honey, orange juice and zest, kumquats, chives and red pepper flakes. Stir together over medium heat and bring just to a boil. Drizzle sauce over prepared chicken. Bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, stirring often to coat the chicken with the glaze. Remove from oven when glaze is no longer puddled around the chicken, it should be sticky and fully coating the chicken. Garnish with chives or chopped scallions, red pepper flakes, kumquat sliced and sliced almonds. Serve immediately over rice, or with $2 Chinese Noodles (recipe arriving Wednesday right here on Cheeky Kitchen).



20 Responses to “Orange & Kumquat Glazed Chicken”

  1. Sherri says:

    Awesome!!! The kids were just asking for Chinese take-out the other day & I was dreading that huge bill … this sounds like it'll be dinner tonight!

  2. Tom and Mel says:

    you are so talented and always write so beautifully Brooke! this looks like a delicious recipe!

  3. Jamica says:

    I laughed myself crazy at that phone call "She looks just like you… but pretty." Funny! You look SO much like your beautiful mom! Especially in the eyes when you smile.

    This looks like a GREAT recipe! I bet it's kid friendly too… I just might give it a try!

  4. Sarah at Candiquik says:

    yum! Your blog is always making me hungry, haha. And good for the budget as well! Thanks as always for the post. Looking forward to Wednesday's noodles.

  5. Tickled Red says:

    YUM!! Orange and chicken one of my fav's. Love the photos as always :)

  6. WizzyTheStick says:

    Wow! These really do look like something you'd get in a restaurant.

  7. Daisy says:

    Oh my goodness that looks absolutely to die for! I am definitely going to be serving this up this week. Cant wait for the noodle recipe.

  8. Jas. says:

    yum – gluten free soy sauce and I am so there!

  9. Donna says:

    Made this for dinner last night, albeit I was missing a few ingredients, like kumquats and chives. It was absolutely delicious and almost everyone loved it! Thanks for the awesome recipes.

  10. Y says:

    What a delicious sounding recipe, especially with those kumquats!

  11. Anonymous says:

    We don't have kumquats at our grocer. what would you substitute?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Is it really supposed to be a TABLESPOON of red pepper flakes? I made this and it was soooo spicy we could barely finish it. Are red pepper flakes the same as "crushed red pepper"?

  13. Anonymous says:

    I am wondering why 2 people wrote anonymously and their questions were never answered. They asked what would you substitute for the kumquats?? The second person asked about the red pepper flakes being so spicy and is red pepper flakes the same as crushed red pepper?? Can you PLEASE ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS, I would love to know the answers as well! Thank you!

  14. Anonymous says:

    You could use orange or tangerine for the kumquats,Red pepper is the same as crushed.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I used boneless chicken thighs.I didn't make the dip and add that flour crust.Just cut up a piece of ginger and a red bell pepper; then into the Wok, after a couple of minutes; added the chicken.
    Then the sauce .i substituted Chinese Black vinegar (that mysterious flavor that's in the restaurants)but the rest was the same.I didn't thicken it w/ cornstarch.
    I used kumquats from our tree.They are a round japanese variety.
    It was SUPER and all cooked in the Wok.

  16. […] Chinese Chicken paired with Chinese Noodles One of my favorite dinners. A bit involved on the chicken part, but its certainly a crowd pleaser. You just can’t go wrong with Ramen. […]

  17. Tee says:

    Wondering if it would turn out ok if i just sauteed the chicken instead of pan frying it first.

    • Brooke says:

      You can try it, but the pan frying creates the crispy breading to which the sauce adheres. Let me know how the sauteeing goes! I’d love to hear!

  18. Suzanne says:

    I agree with the above poster about it being WAAAY too spicy for us. Is it really a tablespoon of red pepper flakes?? Maybe I was off somewhere else. Otherwise, I really like the cooking method and texture of the chicken (and that you don’t deep fry, like most orange chicken recipes call for). I came back to this site again (several months later!) to look up this recipe and try to adapt it for garlic chicken. Will let you know how it goes!

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