Sticky Mango Chicken.

I would normally start this post by making a comment about my lack of food photography stills, but

{1} I bought { this } book to learn how to take better pictures, and

{2} this dish is so good you won't mind the less than stellar photo.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I want to tell you about this dish. There's a restaurant in Atlanta that serves Spicy Mango Chicken that I loooove. What I didn't love was the price tag each time we went out to eat, and the fact that I had no idea what exactly went into the food I was putting in my body. I had no clue how many preservatives were in the sauce,  how the chickens were raised or even how many pesticides were in the vegetables. I wanted to simplify the dish so I could make it inexpensively at home and know exactly how it was made.

Enter, Sticky Mango Chicken. This dish isn't an exact replica of the chicken I loved, but honestly, I think it's even better. It's easy to make, full of flavor and satisfies that Chinese food craving we're all known to have on occasion. (Okay, just to be honest I probably get that occasional craving more than the normal person. Hence, the need to make it at home.)

Feel free to add whatever vegetables you have in the fridge to this dish. Just make sure to keep the red pepper, mango, garlic and jalapeno. It would be terrific with snap peas, green beans, bok choy, carrots...you get the point. I'm all about using what you have! For a healthy swap, try brown rice instead of the traditional white variety. It's chock full of nutrients and an easy way to take a step towards a healthier lifestyle.

Also, make sure to use real maple syrup. If it has Mrs., Butter or Worth in the name, it's not the real deal. My cousin Carrie over at Deliciously Organic turned me on to { this } maple syrup. I use it for cooking, baking and obviously waffles. Since it's much sweeter than the fake stuff, you use less and so it lasts longer. A jug lasts us a couple months easy. And the best part is if you order it from Amazon, you can "subscribe and save" and get it for much cheaper. They'll send you a jug as often as you like. Gotta love that Amazon.

Sticky Mango Chicken

{serves 4 }

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 TBS arrowroot

1 TBS rice wine vinegar

1 tsp. toasted sesame oil

1.5 cups brown rice flour

2 TBS Chinese 5 Spice Powder

2 tsp. coarse sea salt

1 pound chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 TBS coconut oil

1/2 large onion, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 red pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 tsp. coarse salt

1 mango, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (more if you like it spicy!)

1 TBS, minced fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup cilantro, lightly packed

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the first 5 ingredients until well combined. Set aside.

2. Add brown rice flour, Chinese 5 Spice powder and 2 tsp. sea salt to a large ziplock bag. Shake bag to combine. Add diced chicken to bag and shake to coat.

3. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from ziplock bag, shaking off excess flour mixture. Add half of the chicken to the pan in one single layer. The chicken should sizzle when you put it in the pan. If it doesn't sizzle, the oil isn't hot enough. Cook chicken until browned on first side for 1-2 minutes. Flip chicken and cook until other side is browned, 1-2 minutes more. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Repeat with remaining chicken.

4. Once done with step 3, set all chicken aside and cover to keep warm. In the same skillet, turn heat to medium and add the onion and red pepper. Season with 1/2 tsp. sea salt. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Add diced mango and cook for 1-2 minutes more.

5. Make a well in the center of the pan and add the minced ginger, garlic and jalapeno. Cook for 30 sec - 1 minute.

6. Turn heat to medium low and add the sauce mixture. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until it begins to thicken. Add chicken back to pan and toss to coat.

7. Garnish with cilantro leaves and enjoy!