Sweet and Sour Chicken

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You know those people that always have to say things like: Oh the movie was great, but the book was so much better? Don’t you hate those people? Well I do too, but sadly I’m one of them. I mean just the other day, I made these seriously awesome sweet and sour chicken, you know the chinese takeout type of sweet and sour chicken? and man they were awesome, and like nothing I’ve ever tasted before…they were so much better than store bought…You see? I said it, look what I’ve become…Help me.

Anyway, what can I say, I said it, and I meant it (right Ambinders?), these little morsels of chickeny sweet goodness are awesome, and worth the time it takes to make it.

Let’s get something out of the way first. These here morsels were fried, and yes the dreaded “deep” type of frying. I understand some of you may have aversions or allergic reactions to fried foods, and I want to assure you, I’ll make sure we’ll have some weight watcher bars for you when you’re over next time for our monthly “fried stuff n’ cheese” party.

Onward! Mush!

Mix together some soy sauce, rice vinegar, and cornstarch. Then Grab a hold of your chicken, and cut them in to bite size pieces, and toss them in to the cornstarch mixture, and let it sit for 30-60 minutes.

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Then put a whole bunch of oil in a dutch oven, or any heavy pot, and heat it up to 375 degrees.

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A good two to three inches should do the trick.

While it’s heating up, make the batter. The batter is very thick and pasty, but that’s normal. Combine egg whites, canola oil and water, and whisk until it all together. Then combine flour, cornstach, salt, and baking soda together, and then combine the flour and egg white mixture, until it’s uniform and pasty. Add the chicken, and toss to combine.

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When the oil is ready, drop in the chicken a few at a time, and cook for 2-3 minutes, moving them around while they cook with a spider or slotted spoon to make sure they don’t clump all together.

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When ready, move to a cooling rack, or to a paper towel lined baking sheet. I like to season food when they’re still hot, so sprinkle some salt on them, and finish frying up the rest.

When they’re done, make the sweet and sour sauce. Combine the rice vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, pineapple juice, cornstarch (dissolved in some water), and soy sauce in a pot, bring to a boil, and simmer it up good.

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If you want, the recipe calls for a second fry to re-heat the chicken, and to crisp it up. I really don’t think it’s necessary, but if you want go for it.

Toss the chicken with the sauce, and serve over rice, for that authentic take out feel.

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Now there were a few things I deviated from in this recipe. First of all, it calls to sauté peppers and pineapple first, and then combine it with the finished product, I’m not a big fan of sauteed peppers (unless they’re peeled) and I didn’t have pineapple. Second, I didn’t add the pineapple juice to the sauce because I didn’t have any, the sauce tasted fine, but it was a little thick, so if I would have thought about it, I probably should have just added a little water to it, but I didn’t.

Either way, it came out awesome, and yes, they were waaaay better than store bought.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

adapted from TheKitchn

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts cut into 1/2-inch to 1-inch pieces
  • 1 each green and red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (optional)
  • 2 cups pineapple chunks (optional)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

For the marinade

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

For the frying batter

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/3 cup (5 tablespoons) warm water

For the sweet and sour sauce

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce

Directions:

For the marinade

  1. Whisk the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and cornstarch together in a medium sized bowl. Add the cut up chicken and let it marinate for 30-60 minutes
  2. (If you want the peppers and pineapple – heat a couple of tablespoons vegetable oil in a heavy dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sauté the bell peppers and pineapple until tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside, and wipe the dutch oven clean with a paper towel)
  3. Fill the dutch oven with 2 to 3 inches of peanut oil. Heat the oil to 375°

 

For the frying batter

  1. Combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Combine the egg whites, canola oil, and water and whisk until the uniform, and then combine with flour, and mix until mixture is thick and sticky (almost glue-like). Stir the marinated chicken into the fry batter until every piece is completely coated.
  2. Working in batches, fry the chicken until crisp and golden brown, about 2 – 3 minutes per batch. The coated chicken pieces will want to clump together in the oil, so I like to put in each piece one by one. I(f you’re using a thermometer, which you and I both know you’re not going to do, the oil will lower when you put the colder chicken in there, and that’s ok, as long as it’s between 350-375 you’re golden and delicious.)
  3. Using a spider or a slotted spoon, remove the cooked chicken to drain on a sheet pan lined with paper towels.  

For the sweet and sour sauce

  1. combine the rice vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, pineapple juice, cornstarch slurry, and soy sauce in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce begins to gently boil. It will darken in color and become thick. Immediately reduce heat to simmer and keep warm.
  2. If you want that second fry, then add all of the fried chicken back into the hot oil for about 30 seconds – 1 minute.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the hot chicken with the warm sweet and sour sauce and reserved vegetables. Serve immediately with cooked rice.

6 thoughts on “Sweet and Sour Chicken

  1. This looks delicious! The only thoughts of cooking I have right now is planning an activity to show my students how vitamin C is soluble in water so if they boil their vegetables, vitamin C will actually leak out into the water. So we’ll do a titration to measure that. Not that tasty, but still fun I hope.

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