Ever since I was little I have loved Chinese sweet and sour – every time I went to a Chinese restaurant or called for takeaway that was my order. Whether in a dodgy London Chinatown cafe or the best dish i’ve tasted in a beautiful HongKong restaurant it always makes me happy.
Elix and I stayed in last night – X Factor and Strictly takeover our Saturday nights now and I fancied trying Sweet & Sour Chicken – given its such a favourite I’m surprised I have never cooked it before – I think its the fear I wont be able to achieve the same flavour we enjoy in restaurants – well boy did I surprise myself!
The recipe below combines a healthier approach alternatice to heavily battered chicken with a shiny, silky, sweet and sour sauce packed with fresh pineapple and peppers.
The portion i made was enough for both me and elix aswell as leftovers for my lunch today!
For the Sauce
100g Caster Sugar
Half a Pineapple – diced
One Pepper – diced
3tbsp Tomato Ketchup
5tbsp White Wine Vinegar
2tbsp Soy Sauce
For the Chicken
4 Chicken Thighs – no skin or bones, diced into bitesize pieces
Salt & Pepper
2cloves Garlic – chopped
Red Chilli – sliced
Spring Onions – shredded
2tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
For the Rice
2 servings basmati rice
A handful of peas
2 Spring Onions – sliced
Drizzle of Soy Sauce
Sprinkle of White Pepper
To start, coat the chicken in the seasoned cornflour and fry in groundnut oil until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove and set aside.
Make the sauce – fry the pepper and pineapple until softened then evenly add the sugar to the pan until caramelised. Add the vinegar and stir for a fee minutes until syrup-y in texture. Add the ketchup and soy and stir through. It was at this point of the recipe that Elix and I forgot we were supposed to be cooking a full dish and kept dipping prawn crackers into the tasty sauce!
Anyway, back to it. Rinse the rice under cold water and boil for 10 minutes until the water has evaporated and the rice is cooked.
Let the rice cool, then fry the spring onion in a pan in some groundnut oil, add the rice and peas and the whisked egg. Drizzle the soy and sprinkle with the pepper and stir through and leave off the heat but kept warm.
Almost done! Fry the garlic, shredded spring onions and chilli in some groundnut oil, de-glaze with shaoxing rice wine and then add the chicken. Mix thoroughly.
Serve how you wish – i smothered everything in the sauce, Elix covered only the rice with the sauce so as to keep the chicken crispy.