This Saturday, we’ll be making our surprisingly easy potsticker dumplings (wontons) again as our nod to Chinese New Year but, should you have a busy weekend, here’s a delicious and easy alternative to give you that Eastern vibe; my easy slow cooker Chinese orange and sesame chicken recipe.
It’s not often you inherit food. Yachts, jewelry and antique furniture maybe, if you’re lucky. 300 pairs of unopened tights and 2 string bags if you have a very eccentric (but nevertheless much-loved) Grandma like mine!
However, if you’re moving halfway around the globe, it doesn’t make sense to take the contents of your cupboards with you, given what they charge for shipping, and we recently lost some dear friends to the oddly attractive charms of their homeland Australia. I mean, seriously, where’s the attraction in endless sunny days, a laid-back lifestyle and sipping a cold beer next to a sizzling barbie, I ask you?
Anyway, it was typically generous of these particular friends to throw their last bits of food in a crate and send them our way. It created a fun “Ready, Steady, Cook” type challenge as no-one buys exactly the same ingredients and there were plenty of interesting ingredients to try out, some of which I’d never tasted before. I wanted something vaguely Asian fusion as I know almost nothing about Australian cuisine but any descriptions always contain the word “fusion” in them! This was what resulted.
Slow cooker Chinese orange and sesame chicken recipe
Ingredients for 4:
4 chicken quarters (thighs, wings or drumsticks would also work well but reduce the time a little for smaller cuts)
Zest and juice of one orange
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder (or 1tsp if you’re a big fan of star anise)
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp roasted sesame oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional garnish)
Brown the chicken quarters in a large non-stick frying pan/skillet for a few minutes until light golden (or use a little vegetable oil in a normal frying pan). Put the chicken into the slow cooker.
Mix all the ingredients down to the sesame oil in a jug or bowl and pour over the chicken. Toss the chicken in the sauce to coat well.
Cook on Low for 6 Hours or High for 3. Check the chicken juices run clear from the thickest part of the meat. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds if you have them,
Serve with rice (maybe egg-fried with mixed veggies) or noodles and some stir-fry vegetables. Pak Choy or something else fresh and green tasting would be lovely here.
I really liked how sticky and sweet the sauce was on the chicken and I love the the taste of sesame. The texture of the meat was also perfect. Some slow cooker recipes just totally over cook the meat but this was great. (The base of this recipe, by the way, was from “Slow Cooking” by Katie Bishop). However, I’ve reduced the Five Spice from the original recipe as it just seems to bully other flavours in larger amounts and refuses to balance with other tastes. Not a team-playing spice! If you’re also wary of Five Spice, this would still be great without it. If you like it, dial it up a bit.