Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sweet & Sour Chicken

Um. So, this dish is...AMAZING. Completely deserving of all-caps. Hands down, one of my favorite things we eat, and we probably eat it at least once a week. It's seriously easy and, since you only fry the chicken for a couple of minutes on each side, a little bit healthier than the completely battered & fried versions you get in a restaurant.

I doubled the sauce from the original recipe because, well, I'm a sauce girl. I mostly view the food as a vehicle to get the sauce to my mouth. I'm a freak. Plus, I like having extra to mix into my rice. Also, you can buy fresh ginger if you choose, but I've found ginger paste to work wonderfully and it simplifies the process; no grating required. Either way, you should make this for dinner. Tonight. Now.

Sweet & Sour Chicken
Adapted from Simply Recipes
Serves 4

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (or tenders), cut into 1" chunks
1 egg (if you want to be even healthier, you can simply use 1 egg white)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt (1/4 tsp. table salt)
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks (reserve juice)
1/2 cup juice from canned pineapple
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tsp. kosher salt (1/2 tsp. table salt)
4-5 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1-2 tsp. cornstarch (optional; I just use it to thicken the sauce a bit)
1 tablespoon + 1 tsp. vegetable oil (I don't really measure this, so it is just an estimate)
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 white onion, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. ginger paste OR freshly grated ginger

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the chicken with the egg, salt, pepper, and cornstarch, stirring to coat the chicken. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes (I like to do this first, then make the sauce, chop the veggies, etc).

Whisk together the pineapple juice, vinegar, ketchup, salt, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, and cornstarch. Set aside.

Poor 1 tablespoon oil into a large nonstick frying pan and turn to high heat. Once a bead of water instantly sizzles and evaporates, it's ready. It's important that the pan is very hot before adding the chicken. Add the chicken and spread out into one layer so that each piece cooks on one side (try not to crowd the pan). Let it fry untouched for 1-2 minutes, until the bottoms have browned. Flip and fry the other side for 1 minute or so, until those sides are brown. The chicken will still be a little uncooked in the middle - this is OK. Remove chicken from pan onto a clean plate.

Turn the heat down to medium and add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Add bell peppers, onions, garlic, and ginger. Cook for 1-2 minutes until peppers and onions begin to soften. Add in the pineapple chunks and sweet and sour sauce. Turn heat back up to high. Once sauce is simmering, add the chicken pieces back in. Cover with a lid and let simmer for 3-5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through (test by cutting a piece in half).

Serve over noodles or rice. If you're feeling fancy, eat with chopsticks. ;)

You know you want some!

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