Crunchy Mama’s Orange Chicken (Paleo, Gluten-Free)

Crunchy Mama’s Orange Chicken (Paleo, Gluten-Free)

When someone says “Chinese food”, what do you immediately associate with it? Take-out, chopsticks, fortune cookies, greasy. “Gourmet” is not a word I hear in the same sentence with Chinese food so I find the Panda Express logo a bit on the ironic side.


I have never eaten from a Panda Express. I may have set foot in one ONCE (and I don’t know how that happened in the first place). It ended with me backtracking out the door and running for my car. I don’t know if that was how an Italian person would have felt if they ever accidentally walked into Pizza Hut.

More than ever now that our family has taken up with Paleo, the questionable ingredients found in a Panda Express kitchen (MSG, refined sugar, vegetable or corn oil, cornstarch, wheat flour, to name a few) give me a tummy ache just thinking about it.

That doesn’t mean we give up on Chinese food, though. Which is why I worked on this recipe for Orange Chicken and the results were delicious and did not make me want to drink a gallon of water and go on a juicing detox afterwards.

Start with some chicken pieces cut up and marinating for 30 minutes. I prefer dark meat but this works well with chicken breast too.

Marinating chicken


Prepare the “orange” ingredients on the list – Grab yourself some fresh local oranges and make zest, squeeze some juice and cut up some slices.



Also prepare the rest of the stir-frying ingredients – garlic, ginger, green onion, red peppers and chili if you are using this (I’m a wimpy Asian, no chili for me).


Mise En Place

Mix up the sauce ingredients too while you prepare and when ready, heat up your fat of choice in a large skillet (olive oil, coconut oil or lard). Coat the chicken pieces in some tapioca flour and shallow fry until golden and cooked.

Shallow fry chicken


Drain the chicken pieces over some paper towels.

drain chicken


Drain most of the grease out of the skillet and saute up the other ingredients.

Saute ingredients


Add the sauce to the skillet and cook until thick and bubbly.

cook sauce


Add chicken back to the skillet and coat with sauce.

Orange Chicken (Paleo, Gluten-Free)


Nom away!

Orange Chicken (Paleo, Gluten-Free)

You’ll need:

  • 2 lb skinless boneless chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 slices ginger, minced
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • a few thin slices of orange
  • red pepper, sliced
  • Optional: some red chili
  • Fat of your choice for shallow frying – olive oil, coconut oil or lard. Must be enough to cover bottom of skillet


Orange Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 6 TBSP organic chicken stock
  • 2 TBSP coconut aminos
  • 4 tsp Sherry
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 TBSP white vinegar
  • 3 TBSP raw honey
  • 2 tsp tapioca flour
  • salt and pepper to taste (I used 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper)
  1. Mix chicken with marinade and let it sit for 30 minutes
  2. Combine sauce ingredients and set aside
  3. Heat up oil or grease in a large skillet and fry chicken pieces for 2-3 minutes until cooked
  4. Drain chicken on paper towels
  5. Pour out oil or grease except for 2 TBSP
  6. Saute ginger and garlic until fragrant
  7. Throw in peppers, zest and chili if using and saute for 2 minutes
  8. Add sauce to the skillet and cook until thick and bubbly
  9. Add chicken back to the pan and coat in sauce

Orange Chicken (Paleo, Gluten-Free)