Spicy Tangerine Chicken with Black Rice

tangerine chicken in a black bowl with chopsticks

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 in a black bowl with chopsticks

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.

stir fried tangerine chicken

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…

tangerines on a white surface

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!

making tangerine chicken in a wok

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.

tangerine chicken in a wok

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.

black rice steaming in a bowl


Ingredient spotlight: black rice

You can sometimes find black rice in well stocked supermarkets, but otherwise you can find it on Amazon. It has a dramatic color and a nutty flavor. It’s a wonderful ingredient to have on hand, and it doesn’t have to be reserved for Asian recipes. I like to use black rice for stuffings, pilafs, and side dishes of all kinds.


More better-than-take-out recipes ~

Spicy Tangerine Chicken with Black Rice on a black plate with chopsticks
4.45 from 25 votes

Spicy Tangerine Chicken with Black Rice

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!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese/American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Yield 4 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • 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.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

tangerine chicken pin


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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.


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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    March 1, 2012 at 11:47 am

    So now I need to go searching for black rice, I guess! I’m intrigued. I recently bought red rice but haven’t used it yet…I’m waiting for the perfect meal. This may just be it! I love the citrus flavor and that it’s a REAL version of a take-out classic!

  • Reply
    March 1, 2012 at 1:04 am

    I’ve never had that rice – but this dish has it all – splashes of grand color and just delicious flavors.

  • Reply
    March 1, 2012 at 5:46 am

    Hi Sue. This dish reminds me of one the entree I always get at our favorite Chinese restaurant. I love all the flavor combinations this dish brings and especially topped on black rice.

    • Reply
      January 5, 2020 at 8:02 am

      This looks very yummy, even this early in the morning! I have forbidden rice in the pantry and tangerine juice in fridge right now……will make soon.
      I just found you on the net and am excited to join and cook!
      Thanks for the interesting recipes….look very good!

      • Reply
        January 5, 2020 at 8:08 am

        Glad to have you here Nancy, I love this recipe, hope you do too! I’m here for questions if you have any while making it.

  • Reply
    Gerlinde in Dallas
    February 29, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    I was just looking at a bag of forbidden rice on a recent grocery shopping trip, but I don’t recall where. I typically go to one of three different stores, however it might have been Whole Foods which you mentioned.

    Your tangerine/orange chicken looks great; it’s one of my favourite dishes!

  • Reply
    February 29, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    The sauce and black rice sound delicious and creative!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ saving room for dessert
    February 29, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Yum, yum and yum! Haven’t tried making any orange flavored chicken but know several people in my family that would be happy if I did! Very nice – have a super Wednesday.

  • Reply
    February 29, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Gorgeous photos!! Now this HAS to be made at our house! If I can’t eat at your house at least I get a feast with my eyes every time I visit your blog <3. You are a "site" for sore eyes 😉

  • Reply
    February 29, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Oh my, such lovely photos! That chicken looks wonderful, never had some with tangerine, will have to try it.

  • Reply
    February 29, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    This sounds FANTASTIC! I have tried no less than four orange chicken recipes in the past few months. I’m a break from them for the time being, but this one will be at the top of my list when I’m ready to try again. I love the tangerine variation!

  • Reply
    Heather @girlichef.com
    February 29, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Everything about this looks magical! I love all of the bold colors. The chicken Looks absolutely perfect once fried. Simply put? I want this right now. And I want to find some black rice!

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