Mandarin harvest season is in full swing on Jeju Island, and what better way to enjoy Jeju’s natural candy than with a delightful dish showcasing these tasty treats. For those with a French palette, there is no need to read on as this dish breaks the cardinal rule requiring separation of meat and sweet, but for those hoping to explore some of the island’s sweetest treats, this meal combines both dinner and dessert in one course, a duet of a traditional Chinese mandarin chicken with Jeju mandarin oranges.
Mandarin style mandarin chicken (serves 4 people)
Preparing the mandarins (5-10 minutes)
2 Jeju Island mandarin oranges (small-medium size)
Step 1: Peel the mandarin oranges.
Step 2: Break the oranges into their natural segments.
Step 3: Peel the pith from the individual mandarin segments.
Preparing the chicken (5-10 minutes)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts ½ tablespoon sugar ½ teaspoon salt Oil (fried option)
Step 4: Mix the sugar and salt in a standard sized bowl.
Step 5: Horizontally slice the two chicken breasts in half, resulting in four thinly-sliced pieces of chicken.
Step 6: Lightly coat the chicken in the mix from step 4.
Step 7: Grill or lightly fry the chicken on low to medium heat until the pink inside is gone.
Step 8: Slice chicken into bite size strips.
Preparing the sauce (10-15 minutes)
1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup soy sauce 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon fresh minced Jeju Island garlic 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger ½ cup chopped zucchini 1/2 cup water 2 tablespoons flour
Step 9: Mix the water and flour in a small bowl. Wisk thoroughly to ensure there are no clumps.
Step 10: In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, and zucchini. Over a low to medium flame, heat this mixture in a sauce pan until just before the boiling point, stirring slowly to ensure the sugar dissolves.
Step 11: Add the water/flour mixture and the mandarin oranges to the sauce and heat until just before the boiling point.
Step 12: Add the chicken, stir, and allow the sauce to simmer until it is heated.
Step 13: Serve over hot rice and enjoy!
If you are watching your sugar, try replacing the ½ cup sugar with ¼ or ⅛ cup sugar. Honey may be a suitable substitute for sugar in this recipe, but it has not yet been tested. Cornstarch can be used instead of flour. If you do not like zucchini, broccoli would make a fine substitute. If you would like to make just enough sauce to coat your chicken, vegetables, and mandarins, reduce the soy sauce from ½ cup to ¼ cup, the water from ½ cup to ¼ cup, and the flour from 2 tablespoons to 1 tablespoon.
The above recipe was inspired by the blog blogchef.net/mandarin-chicken-recipe but altered to accommodate the addition of zucchini and mandarins. All ingredients used are easy to find on Jeju.
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