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Dharma Kitchen


Tangerine Chicken with Cauliflower Steaks

Carrie H

This post comes to us courtesy of Lisa Howard's new cookbook The Big Book of Healthy Cooking Oils from Page Street Publishing. (Did you see my Q and A with her earlier this week?) This one features coconut oil and Lisa likens this to the take-out staple, General Tso's chicken. Hers, however, gets a facelift, by using tangerines instead of white sugar and coconut flour instead of cornstarch. She calls it "a newly re-created classic." 

Tangerine Chicken with Cauliflower Steaks

Serves 4


For the cauliflower steaks

  • 1 head cauliflower, rinsed
  • Coconut oil for cooking and roasting
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt

For the chicken

  • 3 T (20g) coconut flour
  • Pinch cloves
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tangerines
  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into oversize bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup (70g) cashews
  • 2 T (24 g) coconut oil plus more if needed
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T (30 ml) gluten-free tamari (use coconut aminos for a Paleo version)
  • 3 T (45ml) apple cider vinegar
  • Toasted sesame oil for garnishing


Preheat the oven to 400°F and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Strip away the bottom leaves from the cauliflower. Cut the head in half, starting with the top of the head and cutting through to the base. Cut the head into "steaks" about 1/2 inch wide, starting at the center and slicing toward the outer edge of the florets. Depending on how thick the main "branch" is at the base of the head, you'll get 4 to 6 steaks. Save the outer florets that fall away.

In a large skillet, melt a knob of oil over medium heat. Cook the cauliflower steaks for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until both sides are browned, working in batches if necessary. Repeat with the loose cauliflower florets, browning them as well. Transfer the steaks and florets to the prepared baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and roast for 25 minutes, or until tender. 

While the cauliflower roasts, make the chicken. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, spices and the zest of 2 tangerines. Add the chicken and toss to coat well. Set aside.

In a large skillet, toast the cashews over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until they're turning golden brown, shaking the pan often to toast them evenly. Transfer the cashews to a cool plate. In the same skillet, melt the 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Add the chicken, reserving any dredging that falls off the chicken pieces. Cook the chicken for 7 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown, occasionally flipping to cook all sides. Remove the chicken to a plate.

In the same skillet, cook the onion over medium heat for 3 minutes, adding more oil if the skillet becomes too dry. Stir in the garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes, or until the onion and garlic are soft and fragrant. Stir in the the juice of 2 tangerines and the sections of 2 tangerines, the tamari, vinegar and the reserved dredging mixture. 

Cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the chicken and toasted cashews. Heat through for 2 minutes. Right before removing the chicken from the skillet, stir in a drizzle of toasted sesame oil. Serve immediately with the cauliflower steaks and florets. 

Tangerine Chicken from Lisa Howard's  The Big Book of Healthy Cooking Oils . Photo by Jenny Castaneda of  Paleo Foodie Kitchen .

Tangerine Chicken from Lisa Howard's The Big Book of Healthy Cooking Oils. Photo by Jenny Castaneda of Paleo Foodie Kitchen.