Mandarin, Soy, Ginger and Garlic Chicken | The RGB’s Last Mandarin

RGB Tangerines and Chilies

Winters in Southern California are quite glorious. With a mild cool season and plenty of sunshine, we’ve hauled in a lot citrus this year. Sadly, while we’ve had a good run with them (crumb bars, duck breasts and winter salad), we’re down to our very last basket of mandarins.

The RGB's last mandarin basket. Also shown: chilies and bok choy.

Because we also had chilies and bok choy in the garden, it seemed like the proper thing to do was make something “Asian.” The initial thought was to create some sort of stir-fry with all three ingredients, but then the idea of doing an “orange chicken” hit: so mandarin chicken we made.

Mr. RGBistro thought it was a good lunch. There was just enough batter to soak up the sweet and sour tang, but not so much that the chicken could be drenched in oil. The mandarin, soy, ginger and garlic are all present, but not overwhelming. Unfortunately, our garden chilies didn’t pack (any) heat, so we’ll have to adjust (and maybe add cayenne) next time. Sautéing the bok choy in the pan after the chicken was done was a great way to scrape up the last of the mandarin chicken sauce. Best served over a piping bowl of jasmine rice.

So sad we’re out of these babies… and already looking forward to November.


What are you going to miss about winter?


RGB Mandarin Chicken Lunch



Mandarin, Soy, Ginger and Garlic Chicken


~ Serves 2 ~


~ Ingredients ~

  • 2 small chicken breasts (yield ½ pound), cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 5 dried red chilies (cut into 1 ½-inch length pieces, seeded and soaked in warm water)
  • zest from 3 mandarins (yield 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 1 stalk scallion
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 quart canola oil for deep frying
  • Orange Sauce:
    • juice from 3 mandarins (yield ¼ juice)
    • 3 tablespoons chicken stock
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice wine vinegar
    • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
    • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
    • 1 teaspoon corn starch
    • Salt to taste
  • Frying Batter:
    • ½ cup water
    • 2 ounces all-purpose flour
    • 1 ounce corn starch
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ egg
    • 1 teaspoon canola oil
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


~ Preparation ~

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

  1. Mix the orange sauce ingredients and set aside.
  2. Mix the frying batter and dip the chicken meat into the batter. Heat up a 5-quart pot with 1 quart canola oil. When the cooking oil reaches 350˚F (gauge with a candy thermometer), drop the chicken pieces, one at a time, into the oil, and deep fry them until they turn golden brown or crispy, about 2 minutes. Transfer them out onto a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the excess oil.
  3. In a wok or 10” skillet, add 2 teaspoons of canola oil and quickly stir-fry the minced garlic and ginger until aromatic. Add in the dried red chilies and toss around until you smell the spicy aroma. Follow by adding in the minced mandarin zest, then the chicken. Quickly stir the chicken around before adding the mandarin sauce mixture. Continue to stir-fry until the sauce thickens. Dish out, garnish with the scallion threads and serve immediately.

Nutrition content per serving: 579 calories, 41g carbs, 47g protein, 26g fat, 4g fiber

Cost per serving: $2.30 – 3.82

Source: (Slightly adapted by the RGB to incorporate mandarins)


RGB Mandarin Chicken


  1. says

    Your recipe is perfect for two teen age boy’s (and me!) at our house! They always want “Orange Chicken” but I try to stay out of fast food shops and cook at home. I’ll try making a batch as pretty as yours!

    What will I miss about winter? I love the holiday’s and the food…and the food! Ahh…the food!

  2. says

    what will i miss? hmmmm hot soups and chilis, braised meats, and pumpkin… this dish looks amazing the colors are gorgeous and you can just tell it’s got that sweet, spicy, tangy, flavor combo going on- your a good wife!

  3. says

    No more mandarins! You certainly whipped up some fantastic RGBistro meals with them – your lightly battered Mandarin Orange Chicken looks absolutely delicious – I’m imagining all the flavors as I type. Beautiful photos, Kim. Hope you’re feeling better.

  4. says

    What am I going to miss about the winter? That’s easy! The snowboarding. Luckily for me though, my mountain has a really long season and was open until the 4th of July last year. I’m hoping for another long one this year. This chicken looks and sounds amazing. At first I thought that it would be pretty similar to the chicken I have marinating in the fridge right now but it’s pretty different! I’ll have to try this one also.

  5. says

    Mandarin chicken is so hard to pass up. No matter how hard I try to talk myself into ordering something different, I always gravitate toward mandarin chicken. This looks absolutely delicious, Kim. It’s making my canned soup lunch look so pitiful…

    What am I going to miss about winter? Not much at this point, lol. Spring fever is setting in big time.

  6. says

    Well, since you asked…I’m not going to miss very much about the winter. Winters here in New Jersey are cold and dreary. I miss my herb and vegetable garden, I miss Jersey summer tomatoes, and I miss the relaxed summer lifestyle. I can’t wait for the warm weather!!!

  7. says

    Good thing the teenagers aren’t around.. otherwise i think I’d be shanghai’d into the kitchen to whip up a batch of this chicken!! Seriously, this is my “boys” (hard to call them that when they are taller than I am!) favorite “Asian” dish!!
    Gorgeous photos BTW!!

    Hope you are feeling better soon!!!

  8. says

    I have never made a mandarin chicken dish, but it is something that would be a big hit over here. Your photos are lovely & very tempting! xo

  9. says

    Only you can unite the words “winter” and “glorious” without a hint of irony, because having seemingly endless citrus at home does seem quite glorious.

    I actually like the snow and cold so long as I don’t have to travel in it, especially here in New York–it does force the city to stop, even for a moment or two, and the quiet that comes from that can be deafening. I like to go up to our laundry room (it’s on the top floor of our building) and stare out at the water tanks on all of the buildings; blocky grey blobs standing on snow-covered buildings.

    On a food-related note I’m also going to miss having excuses to eat hearty meals every weekend, but I’m itching to go to the Union Square greenmarket and see all of the gorgeous produce out–like ramps! I may have to pickle some this year to have them around a little longer than six weeks.

  10. says

    I’m posting what I wrote on FB because I thought it was so neat that my friend saw a link to your blog… “I will now sound like a commercial for Face Book… How cool is it that my friend, Frank Dysthe made Kim@Rustic Garden Bistros dish, he even styled it! Love you guy’s! & thanks Kim!” Renee

  11. says

    Your photographs are stunning…we have been having a lovely “winter” in Texas this year. It was 75 degrees today…in February! But I don’t think we come anywhere close to your glorious California winters. And this chicken looks amazing. Ryan and I would love this! Thank you for sharing your heart and these eats. I hope you have a blessed Saturday!

  12. says

    I haven’t made orange chicken in a while over here…but your photos have motivated me. Our tangerine tree is just starting to come in so maybe it’ll be tangerine chicken. 😉

  13. says

    I could have sworn I left a comment a while back, but I guess that Herr Alzheimer visits when not expected:)
    I have to pass this recipe to my daughter in college – she loves orange chicken, and your take on it looks much healthier than copy cat Panda Express recipe she usually uses:)
    What winter are we talking about? I still think in Midwestern terms, and just NOT having winter is plenty:) Although, I am kinda sick of rain:(
    BTW, your comment on my blog about Asian dishes made my mom cry. And I was thinking that it is entirely possible that some of your cousins were actually wearing my pretty clothes:) I’d love to hear your story about those days.
    Let’s get a group organized to go to 99 Ranch Market. I would so appreciate a bit of guidance:)

  14. says

    Well, I won’t be missing oranges because they won’t grow here. So sad!

    I suppose I will miss seeing my baby for the first time. Is that silly? I relive it again and again in my mind. That’s what I’ll miss about winter.

    I look forward to tons of “firsts,” however. Tons.

    Love the recipe!

  15. says

    Orange Chicken is one of my absolute favorites. I live in the middle of nowhere, so if I want it I have to make it and I am so going to make this! Thanks for sharing.