Sweet and Sour Chicken

One of my favorite places to be in the entire world is in the kitchen with my Ngin-ngin (grandmother). Watching her in the kitchen as she scoops up some rice, mixes together a sauce, or guesstimates various measurements with a splash or a dash has always made the kitchen a whole lot less intimidating. I’ve actually featured a recipe by her on this blog about 2 years ago.

Alright, everyone. It’s true. I’ve gone back to meat. Here’s my first REAL meat dish on Soups & Roots & Rants.

Today, we decided to attempt making Sweet and Sour Chicken. Even though Ngin-ngin refers to it as an American “Chinese” dish, she really likes it! While cooking, she said to me, “Restaurant, they make you pay $10.99. And they give so little! But this is so easy. They are so crazy.”

So if you go bonkers for American “Chinese” dishes, too, I recommend you try this recipe out! There are a couple of variations that you can make along the way and even as we were eating ours, we kept thinking about modifications. So don’t feel tied down by this recipe!

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Sweet and Sour Chicken

2-3 Boneless Chicken Thighs, trimmed and large diced
1 Egg
1/2 c. Flour
1 T. and 2 T. Soy sauce, separated
Salt, as needed
1 T. and 1 T. Sugar, separated
1/4 c. Corn Starch
3-4 Heaping T. of Honey
1/2 c. White Vinegar
1 c. Water
Corn oil
1/2 Small Onion, large diced
1-2 Sweet Bell Peppers, large diced
1/2 c. Pineapple, large diced (optional)

After trimming and slicing up your ingredients, place the diced chicken on a plate. Season the chicken with 1 T. Soy sauce, 1 T. Sugar, and some dashes of salt. Next scramble up the egg and pour on top. Mix all of the ingredients together!

Next, we have to flour the chicken. You can either be fancy and dredge the chicken pieces in flour. Or, if you’re like us, you can just pour the flour onto the mixture and just make sure that all of the pieces are covered.

Once the chicken is ready, take out a wok, place it on high heat and fill it with corn oil. You should have enough oil so that the chicken will be covered (about 2-3 inches). Once the oil is nice and hot, (we check using some chopsticks – place your chopsticks in the oil and if bubbles start to surround the sticks, you are ready!!) pour in about 1/2 of the chicken. As you place the chicken pieces into the oil, make sure to separate them so that they do not stick together. Let cook with occasional stirring until the chicken pieces are fried to a perfect golden brown.

Scoop and strain them up and set on a plate (with optional paper towels to sop up the oil). Repeat with your second batch!

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Once all the chicken is done, remove about 95% of the oil from the wok. Next, sauté your onions, bell peppers, and (optional) pineapple on medium to high until they are almost soft – but not quite.

Pour in the vinegar and water and bring to high heat. Let the onions and peppers cook in the mixture until it comes to a boil. While that is cooking, in a small bowl, mix together the corn starch, 2 T. soy sauce, 1 T. sugar, and about 2 T. water.

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Once the mixture has come to a boil, taste one of your bell pepper pieces or onion to see if the sour flavor is to your liking. If not, feel free to add more vinegar. If it is right, pour in the honey and soy sauce mixture. Stir quickly! This sauce thickens up fast!

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Once again, taste your mixture! If you think it needs more sweet, add in some more honey or sugar.

Last, mix in the fried chicken pieces and turn off the heat. Ready to go!

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Serve hot over rice.

Admittedly, we felt that our dish was a bit more sour than we would’ve liked, but I am not a huge fan of entrees that are overly sweet anyway. Next time, we’ll have to try adding a bit more sugar or honey to the sauce. But adding pineapple also could’ve given us a nice natural sweetness, too!

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