Sweet and Sour Chicken

(by Pauline Hurst)
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      Next time your family requests Chinese take-out food, why not surprise them by you cooking my succulent sweet and sour chicken, served with steamed rice? To offer this dish, you need to prepare four groups of ingredients: vegetables; sauce; meat; and batter for deep frying. The preparation is time-consuming, because it involves measuring and extensive chopping, but the cooking time is quite fast. The reward for watching your family is far beyond reproach. They cannot help themselves from savoring this colorful and flavorful dish. Let me share the recipe and explain my method.

1 Large Cucumber 1 Small Bell Pepper
1 Small Yellow Onion 8-ounce can of Pineapple Chunks

      Wash and chop the vegetables before transferring them to a bowl. Try the trick of keeping your mouth wide open while cutting the onion and the pepper. This will help to avoid tears in your eyes. Before peeling the cucumber, snip off and rub both of its ends to eliminate a bitter taste. Retain some green peel of the cucumber for color and a crunchy taste by peeling the cucumber in a zebra stripe fashion. Next, quarter it. Remove the seeds before cutting it into bite-size pieces. Drain a small can of pineapple chunks and add to the vegetables. Reserve the juice for the sweet and sour sauce.

˝ tbs. Potato Starch 1 tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
2 tbs. White Vinegar 1/4 cup Tomato Ketchup
1/4 cup Unsweetened Pineapple Juice 1/4 cup White Granulate Sugar

      Measure and blend with a tablespoon all ingredients in a small sauce pan while ensuring that the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil in medium high heat while constantly stirring to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Immediately remove the red sauce from the heat and continue to the next step.

1/4 tsp. Salt ˝ tsp. Pure Sesame Oil
˝ Finely Chopped Scallion Stalk  
2 Large Skinless/Boneless Chicken Breasts (Approximately 1-1/3 cups of bite-size meat)

      Use a knife, or better yet, a pair of sharp-edged kitchen scissors, to trim off any attached cartilage and fat from the chicken breasts. Rinse off and pat dry the chicken with a paper towel. Proceed by cutting the meat into half-inch wide strips and bite-size pieces before transferring it to a small bowl. Finally, mix in the salt, onion, and sesame oil. This replaces the chicken smell with a delightful Asian aroma. Set aside the mixture and let the meat marinade while you prepare the batter.

1/s tsp. Baking Powder 1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
1/3 cup Cornstarch 3/4 cup Flour
1 tsp. Sugar 3/4 cup Water (Ice Cold)

      Combine all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Gradually add the water, and whip the mixture with a tablespoon to make a soft batter. The batter should be of a medium consistency. If it is too thick, add one or two more tablespoons of water. The trick to get an accurate amount of the flour and the cornstarch is to heap and then level the measuring cup by gently shaking it to fill all air gaps. Although the baking powder and the cold water will give the batter-fried meat a crispy taste, the sugar will add a golden color. Finally, pour the meat mixture into the prepared batter and mix well to evenly coat all chicken pieces.
      Now batter-fry the chicken. Heat 1-1/2 cups of vegetable or corn oil in a 10 to 12 inch skillet on medium high heat. When a haze forms, test fry ˝ teaspoon of the batter. If it sizzles, the oil is ready for batter frying. Scoop the batter-coated chicken, piece by piece, into the oil until they more than half fill the skillet. Use tongs to flip and stir the meat pieces occasionally as they fry. Meanwhile, keep watching the oil temperature and ensure that it is not too hot. Avoid burning the chicken pieces. Lower your stove’s temperature if the meat browns too fast. When the chicken pieces are cooked and appear golden brown, use the same tongs to transfer them to a plate lined with double sheets of paper towel. The paper will drain excess oil. When you finish frying the meat, pour the hot oil into a ceramic bowl to cool. Arrange the chicken nuggets on a serving plate. Use the same skillet to stir-fry the vegetables at medium high heat. Lightly sprinkle the vegetables with salt while cooking; this enhances their green color. When the vegetables are half-cooked, mix them with the sweet and sour sauce. Then, pour the mixture over the chicken nuggets and serve with rice. Watch your family enjoy this delicious meal.

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picture of Sweet and Sour Chicken
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picture of Ingredients
© Page Publisher: Duane R. Hurst