Orange Chicken (Gluten & Soy Free, AIP, Paleo)
This Orange Chicken is made with crispy fried chicken covered in a flavourful orange sauce! It’s free of gluten, soy & sugar making it a healthy alternative to traditional Chinese take-out, yet still comforting and delicious! This recipe is paleo friendly and can also be modified for an AIP diet. Serve over cauliflower “rice” or with steamed veggies.
DID YOU KNOW? Arrowroot powder is a starchy substance that’s extracted from the root of a tropical plant known as Maranta arundinacea – and is frequently used in gluten-free, paleo cooking.
Sometimes arrowroot powder is referred to as arrowroot flour or arrowroot starch, but they’re all the same thing – a white, powdery starch that’s naturally gluten & grain-free, plant-based and paleo-friendly.
Because arrowroot is not a grain, many people (especially those with IBS or digestive issues) find that arrowroot powder is easier to digest and therefore does not cause symptoms like gas, bloating, etc. It also contains more fiber than potatoes and other starches, which helps promote healthy bowel function.
Arrowroot powder works great as a thickener and can easily replace cornstarch. It’s also great for frying, roasting and baking since it can add crisp and crunch to your food.
Unlike cornstarch, arrowroot powder is extracted in simpler, more traditional methods, without the use of high heat or harsh chemicals.
When making Asian dishes (like my Orange Chicken), I coat my chicken in arrowroot powder and then fry in heat stable avocado oil. This creates a crispy coating on the chicken that absorbs sauce and tastes delicious!
What you need for Orange Chicken:
- Chicken thighs
- Arrowroot starch/flour
- Avocado oil
- Hot water
- Medjool dates
- Orange juice or Oranges
- Coconut aminos
- Apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
- Ground ginger
- Garlic powder
- Red pepper flakes (omit for AIP version)
- Sea salt & black pepper
- Green onion, for garnish
Want more healthy Asian recipes? You’re going to love these …
- 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size chunks
- 1/4 cup arrowroot starch/flour
- Avocado oil
- Sea salt & pepper, to taste
- 2/3 cup hot water
- 4 medjool dates, pitted
- ⅓ cup orange juice, shop for best quality or use fresh squeezed
- 3 tbsp coconut aminos
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, omit for AIP version
- 1 tsp arrowroot starch/flour + 1 tbsp water
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1/2 orange, chunked
- 1 green onion, finely chopped
- Cover the bottom of a large frying pan with avocado oil and heat until it begins to sizzle.
- While oil is heating, combine arrowroot flour, sea salt and pepper in a shallow bowl and mix. Add chicken chunks and coat. Remove the chicken, shaking off extra flour and add to hot oil. You may need to do this in batches if your frying pan is not big enough.
- Cook each batch for about 10 minutes, turning mid-way through, until all sides are golden. Set chicken aside.
- Place dates and hot water in a food processor or high speed blender and let soak for 10-15-minutes, then process/blend until a smooth date paste forms.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the orange juice, date paste, vinegar, coconut aminos, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Whisk and let come to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer.
- In a small bowl, whisk 1 tsp of arrowroot with 1 tbsp of water to form a paste. Add this to the orange sauce and whisk well. Raise the heat back to medium until sauce thickens/reduces. Remove from heat and stir in the orange zest.
- Toss the chicken with the orange sauce (reheat if necessary), garnish with green onion & orange chunks & serve with your choice of side.