Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I am really beginning to think that my husband could subsist on pizza, chinese, and Coke zero. With that said, I can't really say that I'm opposed to any of the above especially when we can make them at home and somewhat control the ingredients going into the dish. We went for a basic chinese dish with this one - sweet and sour chicken.

Little did I know that there are about a million recipes out there for sweet and sour chicken! After searching for what seemed like forever, I decided on this one at Simply Recipes. I really liked that it wasn't based on deep-fried battered chicken. The recipe is written for a light coating of cornstarch and egg white, but we even left that off without any problems.

The only issue in the recipe that we encountered was the thickness of the sweet and sour sauce. It could be personal preference, but we like the sauce in our chinese dishes to be a bit thicker so that it coats all the meat and veggies. I didn't measure but am guessing that I added approximately 1 tablespoon of cornstarch at the end of the cook time. With that addition the sauce thickened up, and the dish turned out great! Enjoy!

Sweet and Sour Chicken - Modified from Simply Recipes
1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" chunks
1 (10oz) can pineapple chunks (reserve juice)
1/4 c. juice from canned pineapple
1/4 c. white vinegar
1/4 c. ketchup
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. cooking oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1" chunks
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1" chunks
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
approximately 1 Tbsp. cornstarch (use as much as needed)

Whisk together the pineapple juice, vinegar, ketchup, salt, and brown sugar. Heat a large frying pan or wok over high heat until a bead of water instantly sizzles and evaporates. Pour in the 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and swirl to coat. It's important that the pan is very hot. Add the chicken and spread the chicken out in one layer. Let the chicken fry, untouched for 1 minute, until the bottoms are browned. Flip and fry the other side the same for 1 minute. The chicken should still be pinkish in the middle. Dish out the chicken onto a clean plate, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible.

Turn the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 teaspoon of cooking oil. Let the oil heat up and then add the bell pepper chunks and ginger. Fry for 1 minute. Add the pineapple chunks and the sweet and sour sauce. Turn the heat to high and when the sauce is simmering, add the chicken pieces back in. Let simmer for 1-2 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Timing depends on how thick you've cut your chicken. The best way to tell if the chicken is done is to take a piece out and cut into it. If it's pink, add another minute to the cooking. Add cornstarch at this time if desired to thicken sauce.

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