Thursday, 26 August 2010

Recipe - Sweet & Sour Chicken



As a child, the most exotic food we ever got to eat was Chinese. There was a Chinese restaurant a short walk away from my parent's house called the International. In fact, it's still there although it's half the size it used to be and now does a lot of "all you can eat" food most of the time, although it's still good.

Going for a Chinese was a real treat as there were six of us to feed in the family. I used to love sweet and sour until one Christmas, when I was about 8, I went there and got sick after eating it. It could have just been a bug but after that, I didn't eat it for a long time.

I never tried making it at home ever as I assumed, for some reason, that it would be difficult to do. A couple of years ago, I got the book Chinese Food Made Easy by Ching-He Huang after seeing the TV series. I tried her Sweet & Sour Pork recipe but I was disappointed. It was a bit long winded and I really didn't like the flavour - it had way too much lime in it for me. I wanted it to be more like restaurant or take away fare.

A while later, I bought this fantastic book by Gill Holcombe. I thoroughly recommend if you are trying to feed a family on a budget. There was a recipe for Sweet and Sour Chicken in the book. I tried it and I couldn't believe how easy it was to make - and with pretty basic ingredients that you'll have at home or can get hold of easily. It can be adapted to use with pork which needs a little more cooking, or I'm guessing large prawns, which may need much less. We ate this last night for our tea and the kids loved it. They had it with some couscous which makes for easy preparation as I pour boiling water over it and leave it on the side, we had ours with rice.

I've made a few tweaks to it after making this a few times and here's how I make it.

Sweet & Sour Chicken
Serves 4

Ingredients
4 chicken breast fillets or 5 chicken thigh fillets, skin removed, cut into chunks or strips
Plain flour or cornflour
1 tbsp oil (not olive)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 peppers, any combination of red, orange or yellow, deseeded and chopped into small pieces.
1 tin of pineapple rings or chunks in juice
2 tbsp vinegar (malt, white or white wine, tho I have used red wine)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 rounded tbsp sugar (brown or white)

1. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with a little plain flour or cornflour to coat. Heat the oil in a pan or wok. Fry the chicken until golden all over. Turn the heat down and add the onions and peppers.

2. If using pineapple rings, cut up 3 or 4 rings into small chunks then add them to the pan. Add the vinegar, soy sauce, tomato puree, sugar and the juice from the tin of pineapple and stir well. I find at this point, you need to turn the heat up so that the sauce bubbles a bit as it seems to help to mix the sauce thoroughly - the tomato puree needs to dissolve properly, I think.

3. Turn the heat right down, cover with a lid and simmer for around 10 minutes. If the sauce seems a bit too thin, leave the lid off and allow it to reduce and thicken the sauce. Season.

As ever, do let me know if you try the recipe and what you thought of it by leaving a comment. Happy cooking as ever!

11 comments:

  1. Yum - I havent made S&S in ages, on the menu for next week I think

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  2. I can remember my folks getting a copy of "Ken Hom's Chinese Cookery" and a wok the size of a dustbin lid. Always amazed me how colorful and flavorful everything we fixed was, and how it seemed nothing took more than ten minutes to prepare. I ran into this gorgeous picture when I was supposed to be exercising and all I could think of was... lunch! Thank you!

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  3. Jolly good, Jen. Let me know what you think.

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  4. LOL. Is that good or bad?! Thanks for stopping by and commenting anyway.

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  5. That looks delish and you're right -- it does seem so easy to make. I wonder what I could substitute instead of the pineapple juice as son #2 is allergic. Maybe orange juice?

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  6. Ooh, now that is a toughie. Orange might be quite different flavour... It's kind of sweet and sour in itself, isn't it?!

    Let me have a think.

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  7. Ooo.. I've been meaning to look for a simple sweet & sour chicken recipe! This is perfect! Thanks hun!! Going to add it to my forever growing list of bookmarks! xx

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  8. Hello! Thanks yourself and no worries. Let me know if you do try it.

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  9. I tried this recipe; it was delicious -- and a lot healthier than what we get from our local place.

    I just wonder if you have suggestions for making a separate, thicker/unhealthier sauce to serve since the sauce tends to disappear once it's been reheated?

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  10. Brilliant photographs! wow....lovely n delicious .it tastes yummy too!
    order online food delhi

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  11. your blog is too much good and your food menu is also good but we are also one of them visit at restaurant near venkateshwar college

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