Monday, July 08, 2013

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken 1

I think there's a misperception that Chinese dishes that are popular in the United States aren't "authentic." Or maybe the misperception is that they aren't tasty? I have to admit, the overly battered and goopy dishes can be a bit much, but a light touch with the batter and the sauce and you can get an "authentic" and tasty dish. I think "authenticity" is debateable anyway.

Even though it is very popular, Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken is an authentic Chinese dish. It's best eaten fresh, of course, when the sauce isn't so heavy that it makes the crispy fried chicken pieces soggy. The "sweet" is achieved with fresh pineapples and orange or pineapple juice and ketchup in the sauce; the "sour" is through the use of vinegar. A bit of soy and Worchestershire sauces round out the flavors.

I marinated the chicken pieces before dipping them into the batter and deep-frying so there is flavor throughout the dish, and not because of the sauce. While you can certainly skip the batter and deep-fry and make this a sweet and sour chicken stir-fry, it's the crunchy sweet sour chicken that's the whole point, if I do say so myself.

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken 2

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken

For two servings as a meal, or four servings as a side, you'll need:

2 boneless chicken thighs and drumsticks or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tblsp soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 green bell pepper, large dice
1 red bell pepper, large dice
1/4 pineapple, large dice

For the sauce:
1/3 cup orange or pineapple juice
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tblsp soy sauce
2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
2 tsp corn starch dissolved in 1/2 cup cold water

For the batter:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup corn starch
1 cup cold water
1 egg
Oil for deep-frying

Optional:
2 tsp or more Sriracha added to the sauce if you want a spicy kick

Debone 2 chicken thighs and drumsticks or breasts and cut into bite-sized pieces. Save the bones for making soup. Marinate the chicken pieces in 1 tblsp soy sauce, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp sugar. Set aside.

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken 3

In a small saucepan on medium-low heat, add 1/3 cup orange or pineapple juice, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1 tblsp soy sauce, 2 tsp Worchestershire sauce, and 2 tsp corn starch dissolved in 1/2 cup cold water.

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken 4

While the sauce is simmering, dice a green bell pepper, a red bell pepper, and 1/4 pineapple. Set aside.

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken 5

Make the batter for the chicken by mixing 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1 cup cold water, and 1 egg. Deep-fry on medium heat until golden. Put the chicken pieces on a rack to drain excess oil.

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken 6

After about 15 to 20 minutes, the sauce will have thickened like so. Turn off the heat when the sauce has thickened to your liking.

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken 7

When the chicken pieces are all fried and drained and the sauce is done, you're ready to put it all together.

In a large pan or wok on medium-high heat, drizzle a bit of oil and add the diced bell pepper first.

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken 8

After about 5 minutes or so, when the bell pepper has softened to your liking, add in the diced pineapple. Stir to mix.

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken 9

Then add the fried chicken pieces.

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken 10

And all of the sauce.

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken 11

Stir to mix.

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken 12

Plate and serve. This photo was taken after sunset so the lighting wasn't the best. The taste was fabulous though!

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken 13

So I saved some to photograph the next morning. Doesn't the reheated Chinese sweet and sour chicken still look good?

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken 14

Serve with rice.

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken 15

Enjoy!

Other Chinese-American dishes:
Chinese Beef and Broccoli Stir-fry
Chinese Crab Rangoons
Chinese Hot and Sour Soup
Chinese Kung Pao Shrimp
Chinese Lettuce Wraps with Chicken, Water Chestnuts, and Bell Peppers
Chinese Ramen Noodle Stir-Fry with Cabbage, Carrots, Spam, and Eggs
General Tso's Chicken

*****
1 year ago today,
2 years ago today, AltaMed's 6th Annual East LA Meets Napa (Union Station) - Los Angeles (Downtown).
3 years ago today,
4 years ago today, behind the scenes of Jamba Juice Headquarters - Emeryville.
5 years ago today, a quickie Hong Kong cafe-style afternoon tea of ham and egg sandwich and milk tea.
6 years ago today, Fogo de Chao - Beverly Hills.

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