Friday, August 25, 2006

Sweet & Sour Chicken

I recently had a request for a recipe from the Time - Life Series I've talked about before - this time from the volume on China. Pat was unable to find her copy and was craving a family favorite recipe. Luckily I have the book and naturally sent her the recipe. I just asked that she take some photos and email me her comments so that I could add this to the Weekend Cookbook Challenge - Foreign Foods, since she doesn't have her own blog. I'd be happy to do the same for anyone else out there without a blog but who would like to participate. The deadline is September 4th. Those of you with blogs, just email your URL so I can post your entries - all the details are here.
So without further's what Pat had to say about the Sweet & Sour Chicken...

"Okay - here's some pictures of the meal. I'm not very good a 'staging' stuff, plus I was trying to hold off the masses from devouring everything I made my comments in blue, as the recipe isn't really true to portions. "

Veggies are frying

Everything ready to scoop up to individual tastes

Sweet and Sour Chicken, with Green Giant's Create A Meal Stir Fry Vegetables and Rice-a Roni chicken stir fried rice
Sweet & Sour Pork or Chicken or Shrimp
From Time Life Series – China

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 - 30 minutes
Serves 2-4 as a main course; 4-6 as part of a Chinese meal. (This is good for 2-3 adults. Anyone making this for a family of 4, where teens are involved, need to DOUBLE the batter ingredients.)

1 lb/500g boneless pork, preferably butt, cut into 1” cubes (REAL LIFE: 5-6 boneless pork chops or 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts for that family of 4.)
1 egg, lightly beaten (2 for the big family recipe)
¼ cup cornstarch (1/2 cup for the big family recipe)
1 tsp salt (2 tsp salt)
¼ cup flour (1/2 cup flour)
¼ cup chicken stock ( 1/2 cup )
3 cups peanut oil or flavorless vegetable oil

1 tbsp peanut oil or flavorless vegetable oil
1 tsp garlic, finely chopped
1 large green pepper, seeded, deribbed and cut into ½” squares
1 medium carrot, scraped and sliced into 2” strips ¼” wide & ¼” thick
½ cup chicken stock
4 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsp cold water


Prepare ahead:
1. For the pork: In a large bowl, mix together the egg, ¼ cup of cornstarch, ¼ cup flour, ¼ cup chicken stock and salt. Set aside

2. For the sauce: Have the oil, garlic, green pepper, carrot, chicken stock, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and cornstarch mixture within easy reach.

To fry the pork/chicken:
1. Just before cooking add the pork cubes to the egg and flour mixture and stir until each piece of meat is well coated.

2. Preheat the oven to 250°F/130°C.

3. Pour the 3 cups of oil into a wok and set it over high heat. When the oil almost begins to smoke or reaches 375°F/190°C on a deep-frying thermometer, drop in half of the coated pork cubes one by one. Fry for 5-6 minutes, regulating the heat so the pork turns a crisp, golden brown in that time period without burning.

4. Remove pork with a strainer or slotted spoon to a small baking dish and keep warm in the oven.

5. Continue the process with the rest of the pork.

To make the sauce:
1. Pour off any oil remaining in the wok or use a 10” skillet. Set the pan over high heat for 30 seconds. Pour in 1 tbsp oil, swirl it about the pan , heat for 30 seconds over moderate heat if the oil begins to smoke.

2. Add garlic, green pepper and carrot, stir fry for 2-3 minutes or until the pepper and carrot darken somewhat in color. Do not let them burn.

3. Pour in ½ cup chicken stock, sugar, vinegar and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Boil rapidly for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

4. When the sauce is thick and clear, pour the entire contents over the fried pork and serve at once.

This is a great recipe that you can finagle to fit your own tastes. I'm always in a time crunch, so I precut the chicken/pork the night before since partially frozen meat is easier to cube. Then I zip-lock it and toss in the fridge. Also, there are a ton of great frozen vegetable combinations out there, as well as prepackaged fried rice kits. I like "Green Giant Create a Meal Stir Fry" and the Rice-a-Roni brand stir fried rice.

I don't put the peppers and carrots in the sauce. Just personal preference. I add sliced water chestnuts and pineapples in AFTER the sauce is thickened. I leave the sauce as a 'side', as everyone has their own taste as far as chicken 'swimming' in the sweet and sour sauce, so they spoon it out themselves.

This is also a great recipe for your tween and teens to help cook. The extra hands always help, and they get a kick out of using the big Wok. While I get the chicken out and the oil going, my daughter mixes up the batter. By the time that's done, the oil (and I) are ready to do the frying. Meanwhile, my daughter has now switched to combining all the ingredients for the sauce, and the thickening agent. She'll open the cans of water chestnuts and pineapple, and then stands ready with the cookie sheet to drain the chicken as I take it out of the Wok. When all the chicken is done, I let her toss the bagged veggies in, as they don't spit and pop oil, so she's pretty safe. We do the sauce together.

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1 comment:

indianadoc said...

Quite interesting...I'm always a chicken fan!! so anythg to do with chicken,i'm going to give a try...thanx for sharing the recipe!