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
    February 24, 2022 at 6:49 am

    Hiya Sue. Looking forward to trying this recipe since we’ve been doing massive Oriental cooking lol. Instead of chili paste, can I use Gojujang instead? ( hope my spelling was close lol) Thanks kindly for your advice in advance.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      February 24, 2022 at 8:15 am

      Yes, that should be fine, have fun!

      • Reply
        February 25, 2022 at 12:46 pm

        Thanks Sue. Looking forward to your recipes. We’re on a roll ?

  • Reply
    Corliss A. corder
    February 6, 2022 at 2:22 pm

    Hello Sue, I LOVE your blog and often use your recipes, with great results !! Your recipes are outstanding !!! I was wondering, in the recipe for TANGERINE CHICKEN, do you think I could try swapping the chicken out for thinly sliced beef steak or some lovely pork, with good results ? AND, if so, are there other adjustments that you would think necessary? As always, THANK YOU for your inspiration !!! [my hubby always LOVES eating any of your recipes !! ]

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      February 6, 2022 at 6:09 pm

      Thanks Corliss, and I don’t see why you wouldn’t have success with beef or pork, but I might skip the coating and frying step with the meat and just stir fry it.

  • Reply
    Shar Mullen
    January 11, 2022 at 3:20 pm

    5 stars
    This is absolutely DELICIOUS! The only change I made was to substitute jalapeños for the red chilies. My husband just asked if there are leftovers! Definitely would make it again!

  • Reply
    Kim DeVittorio
    November 24, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    5 stars
    This dish is outstanding! We’ve been waiting months for tangerines to come back into the store 🙂
    Sue, what kind of chili’s do you use when making this for yourself?
    Thanks for ALL of your amazing recipes. My Pinterest is chocked full of View from the Great Island recipes. Never a disappointment!!

  • Reply
    Lisa Carroll
    February 22, 2020 at 9:39 am

    5 stars
    I have tried making various Chinese dishes at home over the years and never like them, NEVER! But, this is the best thing I have ever made! I mean, it might be my favorite dish of all dishes!!!! It is Chinese food that is better than any Chinese dish I have ever gotten at a restaurant! I could go on and on and on!! Everything can be prepped ahead of time (theres is quite a bit of prepping, chopping, etc.) and then cooked at a later time. We prepped everything one night for at home date night but then got called away on an emergency. Two days later when things got back to normal, everything was ready to throw together. It was amazing!!! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

    • Reply
      February 22, 2020 at 1:12 pm

      You sound like me the first time I made this recipe!

  • Reply
    Becky Rhodes
    January 24, 2020 at 5:22 pm

    5 stars
    Made this today and we loved it. Didn’t know what kind of hot chilis, bought Pablano, but only used about 1/2 of one – lowered the chili paste as well and it was hot enough of us and delicious. As some of the comments – we added some additional veggies, which were great. The Forbidden Rice was wonderful. The sauce was wonderful. Will do this again for sure. Thank you. What kind of peppers did you use?

  • Reply
    Mary Henning
    January 20, 2020 at 11:34 am

    5 stars
    My husband loved the Tangerine Chicken. Added equal amount of broccoli and carrot to the veggies, he even liked that balance. Delicious, took me a little longer than 30 minutes for prep, but worthwhile to repeat in the future. I used my juice machine to extract tangerine juice, they were so delicate they fell apart in sections when I squeezed.

    • Reply
      January 20, 2020 at 11:40 am

      That’s great Mary ~ I love how juicy tangerines are, it makes juicing that one cup so easy. My husband and I just finished off our last batch of this yesterday!

  • Reply
    January 19, 2020 at 1:15 pm

    Hi Sue
    Recipe looks awesome tangerines are a favourite with my family so will surely give it a go but do have a question about one of the ingredients in your sauce recipe.
    Your sauce ingredients lists chili paste so am wondering what kind you used? I have red, green and yellow chili paste I use for Thai dishes but am thinking you might have used something hotter, perhaps?
    Thanks Sue

    • Reply
      January 19, 2020 at 2:49 pm

      I use the classic Sambal Oelek chili paste, but any hot red chili paste will work.

      • Reply
        January 19, 2020 at 3:18 pm

        Perfect! I always keep Sambal Oelek on hand too. Thanks for clarifying Sue!

  • Reply
    Andrea Metlika
    January 19, 2020 at 10:51 am

    5 stars
    This dish looks amazing and It’s a perfect combination of flavors.

  • Reply
    January 19, 2020 at 10:40 am

    5 stars
    Black rice is a recent obsesession of mine, so you KNOW I loved this recipe. So many great flavors – and I’m totally with you on the tangerine, the complexity it adds is just next level. Love your pictures as well, so beautiful and mouthwatering!!

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