Want to try at recreating the popular lemon chicken and orange chicken into its version of a Filipino recipe? Then try this chicken calamansi recipe to get a taste of a classic Filipino ingredient.
Filipinos love their chicken Filipino recipes but the average Filipinos have rarely heard of the Chinese inspired orange chicken recipe and to an extent the lemon chicken unless they’re a frequent visitor to a Chinese restaurant.
I recently got to eat the Chinese orange chicken again (which isn’t actually a traditional Chinese recipe like the fortune cookie but don’t let the Americans know) at an Asian fusion restaurant and it was delicious. The tangy sauce coats the fried chicken to perfection, giving it dynamic flavors and a satisfying texture to bite in to. The rice that also prevents the flavors from overpowering the whole dish.
I wanted to give a go at cooking it at home right away. I’ve cooked it a couple of times at home before so I was already familiar with the recipe. But I wanted to create a truly Pinoy-twist with the orange chicken and turn it into a more Filipino dish with its Filipino flavors. And it’s as simple as replacing the orange with a staple ingredient in Filipino cuisine, calamansi.
Plus, I was hard-pressed at finding oranges at the market this time of the year so calamansi was a better substitute to get a sourer flavor to in the sauce. Also, chef Boy Logro already got a recipe for a Calamansi chicken dish so that’s what we’ll be recreating today in this recipe.
For those unfamiliar with the star ingredient in today’s recipe, calamansi is a native Philippines fruit that’s also found in nearby countries. It’s a citrus fruit that is commonly used in Filipino cuisine, mainly for marinades, preservatives, condiments, and even juices (calamansi juice is the best remedy for Filipino if they have a cold).
Many of the readers of this have probably come across calamansi already as it’s such a staple ingredient in Filipino recipes and Filipino households always have a basket of these small round fruits at the kitchen table or their pantry.
Now back to calamansi chicken. It’s not your ordinary juicy chicken joy at Jollibee that most Filipinos are familiar with. No. The deliciously crispy chicken is still there but this dish has a smoother texture with the sauce but uses familiar ingredients in Filipino cuisine along with some additional new ones that create a flavor profile that I guarantee many Filipino will love.
The ingredients will be divided into two categories, for the chicken and the calamansi sauce. To cook the chicken, we need 3 pieces of chicken breast fillet, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 2 pieces of egg whites, 1 tablespoon of cooking wine, 4 tablespoons of cornflour, cooking oil for frying, and shredded iceberg lettuce to serve with the chicken.
For the calamansi sauce, we’re of course gonna need 10 pieces of calamansi that are juiced, ¼ cup of sugar, ¼ cup of white vinegar, ¼ teaspoon of salt, ½ cup of light chicken stock (water can also work), 1 small carrot that should be finely sliced, 2 sprigs of spring onions that should also be finely sliced, and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch that’s mixed with 2 tablespoons of cold water.
Now for the cooking process! To cook the chicken, we first need to toss it with the soy sauce and cooking wine in a bowl and let it set aside for a few minutes. Then lightly whip the egg whites until it’s just frothy then whisk it through the cornflour. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a deep frying pan then dip the chicken pieces into the batter and shake off the excess.
Fry the chicken pieces for around 6 minutes, turning it in the pan after 3 minutes. It’s done when the chicken is lightly brown all over. Remember to drain the excess oil.
Set the cooked chicken aside to get started on the calamansi sauce. The first step is to use a small saucepan or wok and bring the sugar, vinegar, calamansi juice, salt, and stock to a boil. Next is add the carrots and spring onions and toss the contents until the vegetables are softened.
Next is to add the cornstarch mixture while giving it a stir and let it cook for one minute until the sauce has thickened.
Now for plating! Slice the chicken and arrange it on top of the shredded lettuce and pour the sauce over and serve. Enjoy your calamansi chicken with rice and iced tea.
Calamansi Chicken Recipe
- 3 pcs chicken breast fillet
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 pcs egg whites
- 1 tbsp cooking wine
- 4 tbsp cornflour
- Cooking oil for frying
- Shredded iceberg lettuce to serve
- Calamansi sauce:
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 10 pcs calamansi juiced
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup light chicken stock or water
- 1 small carrot finely sliced
- 2 sprigs of spring onions finely sliced
- 2 tsps cornstarch mixed into 2 tbsps of cold water
- Toss chicken with the soy sauce and cooking wine and set aside for a few minutes. Lightly whip the egg whites until just frothy then whisk through the cornflour.
- Heat the oil in a deep frying pan.
- Dip the chicken into the batter and shake off excess.
- Fry the chicken pieces for around six minutes, turning after three minutes, until lightly brown all over. Drain excess oil.
- For the sauce
- Bring the sugar, vinegar, calamansi juice, salt and stock to a boil in a small saucepan or clean wok.
- Add the carrot and spring onion and toss until the vegetables are softened.
- Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook for about one minute until thickened.
- Slice the chicken and arrange it on top of the shredded lettuce.
- Pour the sauce over that and serve.