My Spicy Tangerine Chicken with Black Rice is an authentic Chinese stir fry recipe with fabulous from-your-favorite-restaurant flavor, and the black “forbidden” rice makes it extra special!
Tangerine chicken is just about my favorite stir fry recipe.
But up until now I’ve only been able to enjoy it in restaurants. I’m so glad I made my own version because, to be honest, mine is even better. I get to use my preferred chicken, I use fresh squeezed tangerine juice, I keep all the veggies nice and crunchy, and I put it all over black rice, which is so nutritious and has such great flavor. Most importantly, I get to have it nice and spicy, just the way I like it.
I like the spicy/sweet dynamic in this dish so I use dried or fresh hot peppers, seeds and all.
I prefer fresh, but sometimes my supermarket doesn’t have them, so dried are fine. You can leave out the hot pepper if you aren’t fond of heat, or if you’re cooking for kids. And by the way, kids love this!
The fresh tangerine zest is critical to the citrus flavor, so don’t skimp.
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the tangerine (or orange) and then slice it into fine julienne. You can also use a citrus zester to create very fine ribbons of zest. You don’t want any of the white pith, which is bitter, just the colored part. If you’re not much of a citrus rind lover, just mince it, that way you won’t bite into any big chunks. Your nose will tell you you’re on the right track as you throw the rind into the hot pan with the chili and ginger…
Can you use oranges instead of tangerines?
Yes, you can use regular oranges if you like. Tangerine is a little less sweet, a little more complex, and has a hint of bitterness, which I prefer, but you can use either.
Is the chicken deep fried in this recipe?
The chicken is shallow fried in peanut oil, right in the wok, you’ll only need about 1/4 inch depth. I wanted the chicken to be fried in a light batter like the kind you get in restaurants, but I didn’t want the coating to be heavy. I found the perfect batter was a combination of beaten egg mixed with a little cornstarch. This keeps the chicken moist and tender while the outside has a little crunch. It turned out just the way I wanted it to: lightly puffed and golden brown, perfect for grabbing on to the tangerine sauce!
The chicken takes on another texture altogether after it slides into the thick sauce, and results in the classic tangerine chicken we all know and love.
Everything in this Spicy Tangerine Chicken with Black Rice recipe is available in the regular supermarket, even the black rice.
What is black rice?
- Black rice, aka forbidden or purple rice, is an heirloom variety that has more fiber and nutrition than regular white rice.
- The color is gorgeous; it starts out jet black and cooks up purplish…another example of the color = nutrition equation. The texture is firm and the flavor is nutty.
- Whole Foods type stores carry it, and some regular supermarkets are getting better about stocking unusual varieties these days.
- The brand I bought is Lotus Foods, an interesting specialty rice company dedicated to reviving exotic species of rice and promoting small sustainable farms in remote parts of the world. Their amazing rices come in all shapes and sizes, and jewel tones. If you can’t find it you can buy it on Amazon.
More better-than-take-out recipes ~
- Teriyaki Chicken with Broccoli Rice
- Chinese Chicken Salad
- Japanese Pork Dumplings with Ginger
- The Best Panda Copy Cat Recipes
Spicy Tangerine Chicken with Black Rice
- a wok or similar large skillet
- 1 1/4 cup black rice cooked according to package directions
- 3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenders, cut in bite sized chunks
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- Pinch of salt
- Peanut oil
- 1 heaping Tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 4 or 5 dried hot chilies or 1-2 fresh hot chiles, sliced
- The peel from 1 tangerine or 1 orange finely sliced (use a vegetable peeler to remove just the peel, no bitter white pith)
- 1 medium white onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 4 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
- 4 tsp chili paste
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 cup fresh tangerine or orange juice
- 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp water
- 5 or 6 scallions finely sliced
- Sesame seeds for garnish
- toasted sesame oil
- First make the chicken. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg and add the cornstarch and salt. Add the chicken pieces right into the bowl and stir to coat.
- In a deep frying pan or wok, heat about 1/4 inch of peanut oil till quite hot, about 340F.
- Fry the chicken pieces, in batches, for about 3 minutes total, flipping halfway through till they are golden and cooked through. The chicken should sizzle as it hits the pan, if it doesn't, heat the oil more. Don't crowd the pan, and keep the pieces separate as they cook. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.
- Discard the oil and wipe out the pan. Heat 2 Tbsp of peanut oil and stir-fry the chilies for about a minute or two. Add the grated ginger and the orange peel and cook for another minute.
- Add in the onion and green pepper and stir fry for about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate.
- In a small bowl or measuring cup mix all the sauce ingredients EXCEPT the cornstarch. Add this to the pan and heat till it's boiling. Let it cook for about a minute.
- Add the cornstarch mix to the pan, whisking until the sauce thickens and turns glossy.
- Add in the chicken and veggies back to the pan, and stir gently to combine everything. Taste to adjust the seasoning.
- Serve hot over rice. Garnish with sliced scallions and drizzle each serving with the sesame oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
VINTAGE VIEW ~ this tangerine chicken is from TVFGI archives, first published in 2012. As part of a series on the blog I’m reviving some of the best recipes that you may have missed over the years ~ I’ve updated the recipe, taken new photos, and enjoyed making this wonderful stir fry recipe again.