Friday, September 19, 2008

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I am not very well-versed in any type of Asian cooking, with the exception of the stir fries I lived on from the cafeteria in college and I'm not quite sure they count as anything authentic. Through her guest appearances on Simply Recipes (one of the blogs I visit regularly and have cited recipes from before) I have found Jaden's Steamy Kitchen, which has so many tasty looking recipes that I can't wait to try. Her recipe contribution on Simply Recipes this month was for Sweet & Sour Chicken, my favorite dish from our local Chinese take-out when I was growing up. I had to try it. It helps that the sis loves Chinese, Thai, Japanese, basically any type of Asian food, so I thought it would be nice to make something that I knew she'd be in to as well.

You know the drill, my comments in purple.

Sweet & Sour Chicken
Simply Recipes via Jaden's Steamy Kitchen
Serves 4

1 pound of boneless and skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1" chunks
1 egg white
1 teaspoon kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon table salt)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 10-ounce can pineapple chunks (reserve juice) (I could only find an 8 oz can at my local store so i went with that)
1/4 cup juice from the canned pineapple
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon table salt)
2-3 tablespoons brown sugar (I only used two because i didn't want the sauce to be too sweet)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cooking oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1. In a bowl, combine the chicken with the egg white, salt and cornstarch. Stir to coat the chicken evenly. Let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
2. In the meantime, whisk together the pineapple juice, vinegar, ketchup, salt, and brown sugar.
3. 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.
4. 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. Taste the sauce and add more brown sugar if you’d like.

I will definitely be trying this recipe again. The sis suggested next time adding onions and/or water chestnuts which I think would go really nice with the sauce. I would also go with the recommended 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, as opposed o the 2 I used. I liked the sauce when I tasted it but as I ate it was slightly too sour. I think that additional tablespoon of sugar would be perfect. Looking forward to trying more of Jaden's recipes.

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