The history of the orange is a history of the world itself. It originated in South-East Asia (although there is debate over whether this was India or China); it was carried by Persian traders to Rome in the first century BC, from where it travelled to parts of Europe and Africa. After the decline of the Roman Empire in the 16th century, the Portuguese took the fruit to new places. In fact, in many European languages, the word Portugal refers to the orange (the Greeks call itportokali, for instance). The Spanish explorers introduced it to the Americas around the 15th century. Today the largest producer of oranges is Brazil, the country where it perhaps reached almost at the end of its globetrotting.
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The orange is had fresh, juiced, it’s made into marmalades and jams; whipped into a variety of cakes and tarts; and coupled with chicken, eggs, cheese, in salads, omelettes and bakes. Really, when you’re an orange, the world is your oyster, and the future, as someone once said, is orange.
Eat it this way
Chicken, rocket leaf and orange salad
•150g chicken breast
•70g rocket leaves
•15ml olive oil
•10ml Tarragon vinegar
• 30g plain yogurt
• 30g Thousand Island dressing
•30g carrot, sliced
•Salt to taste
•Pepper to taste
Marinate the chicken breast with olive oil, salt, pepper and vinegar for 15 minutes. Peel the oranges and take out segments from them. Pan-fry the chicken and then cook in the oven till done. Then cut it into strips. Make the dressing by mixing yogurt, Thousand Island dressing, salt and pepper. Mix the chicken strips, orange segments, rocket leaves and carrot slices. Add the dressing and garnish with toasted walnuts.
Citrus chicken: Although commonly used in desserts, the orange is also a great salad ingredient.
By Anurudh Khanna, executive chef, The Park, New Delhi.