If you were a somewhat typical American child, chances are, you loved Chinese take out – and as much as I may slander the name now – Panda Express was my shit. And you can probably guess why: Orange Chicken.
Was it good quality? No. Was the service good? Definitely not. But was that orange chicken fire? You betcha! Double order of orange chicken with fried rice all day, son.
As most stories go, life happened and eventually I grew up, taking responsibility for my impact on this world, hence going vegan 2 1/2 years ago. Not only did I want to help preserve this world and our animal companions, I’ve been continually fueled to fine-tune my body with nature, eating the foods that I’ve been designed to eat. And that ain’t Panda Express.
What I can do, however, is take those same flavors and textures I miss and turn them into something ethical, harmonious, and way better on the taste scale. Sesame seared tempeh coated in thick, sweet and tangy orange sauce takes the lead being accompanied by fork tender steamed broccoli and a bed of white rice.
A word on white rice before I continue: there is much controversy over which rice is better for us, white or brown. Well, after sticking mainly to brown rice for years – if I’m going to eat any at all – I’ve now discovered solid proof that white rice is the superior rice. If you’ve read my past couple of posts, you’ve read about lectins and what they do to the body. If you haven’t heard of them, lectins are proteins found in the hull of grains (as well as many other foods) that interfere with your body’s nervous system, tell your body to store fat, and cause your immune system to mistakenly attack your own cells, a phenomena known as autoimmune disease.
Brown rice is loaded with lectins that pierce your gut wall, latch onto healthy cells, and confuse your body into sickness. White rice on the other hand, while definitely not to be considered a “health food,” does not contain such harmful lectins. If brown rice were in fact superior, why have Asian people been going out of their way to remove the hull of rice for thousands of years? Surely, if brown rice was healthy, they would have avoided the extra work.
Any who, back to the subject at hand, this easy dinner only takes 45 minutes to whip up, is the perfect cure for a Chinese take out craving, and contains 19 grams of protein per serving!
If you like what your taste buds are tellin’ ya, leave behind a nice rating, share your thoughts with us in the comments, or show us your creations by tagging @noeggsorham on Instagram.
All the best,
Ryan & Kim
Orange Chick'n Tempeh
Reminiscent of Panda Express' orange chicken, seared tempeh swims in a pool of sweet & tangy orange sauce alongside steamed broccoli and white rice.
- 12 oz organic tempeh, cut into large chunks
- 1/2 c vegetable broth (or water + 1/4 tsp salt)
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 c fresh squeezed orange juice + zest of 1 orange
- 1/4 c tamari sauce
- 1/4 c water
- 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1/4 tsp liquid stevia
- 3 tbsp arrowroot starch*
- 1 head of broccoli
- 1 1/4 c white rice
- 2 1/2 c water
- Salt to taste
- For rice, place rice into a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold water until the water begins to run clear, about 1 minute.
- Transfer to a medium non-stick sauce pot, along with 2 1/2 cups of water. Without stirring once, bring to a boil over high-heat then reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Turn off heat, fluff rice with a fork, return the lid to the pot, and set aside until tempeh is finished.
- Combine tempeh and vegetable broth or water & salt combo in a large skillet or non-stick soup pot. Set over high heat and bring to a boil, uncovered, until all the moisture has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
- For broccoli, cut the head into bite-sized florets and the stem into thin, bite-sized, slices. Add broccoli pieces to a large skillet along with a heavy pinch of salt and enough water to come 1/3 of the way up the broccoli. Place over high heat, cover with a lid, and steam until fork tender – 5-7 minutes – stirring occasionally.
- Once the broccoli is tender, strain into a colander or fine mesh strainer, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
- While the tempeh and broccoli cook, prepare the sauce by combining all respective ingredients in a mason jar or air tight container and shaking the devil out of it. This will coat every starch molecule with liquid so that clumping won’t occur when it’s introduced to the heat. Set aside.
- As soon as there’s no more liquid in the pot with the tempeh, add sesame oil and drop the heat to medium-high. Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until lightly golden brown on a few sides, stirring frequently.
- Once browned, add in all of the sauce. Stir constantly for 1-2 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened up. If using arrowroot starch, the sauce may be slightly stringy – don’t worry, that is characteristic of arrowroot powder.
- Serve your saucy orange “tempeh” chicken atop a mound of fluffy white rice next to plenty of freshly steamed broccoli. While best when fresh, left overs will keep in an air tight container in the fridge for two days and can be re-heated via a non-stick pan over medium-heat heat along with an extra touch of water to loosen the sauce up. Cook for 3 minutes and it will be just like the first time around!
*If you don’t have arrowroot starch, potato starch or corn starch will provide good substitutions. However, I chose arrowroot starch as my go-to thickener because it is the healthiest thickener out there, as it’s minimally processed and contains no lectins – harmful proteins found in most foods.