Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sweet and Sour Chicken

One of my favorite Chinese dishes has always been takeout Sweet and Sour Chicken, with its thick,sweet sauce and breading that always appeals to the sugar/carb lover that I am. Unfortunately, due to a gluten sensitivity I don't have a chance to indulge my culinary addiction as often as I used to which is why I jumped at the chance to make this slightly healthier, gluten free version of it. Overall, this is a somewhat labor intensive dish primarily because of the number of components that needed to be measured out but  once that was out of the way, the rest of the dish came together in about 15 minutes. As a personal preference, I did substitute chicken for pork as well as using ginger paste instead of chopped ginger but the overall flavors still blended together well. The recipe is definitely a modified version of traditional sweet and sour Chinese food but as long as I can have my sweet and sour chicken again, I can happily live with that. At least I will once I get over the number of dishes I have to wash now. 

Overall grade: A

Sweet and Sour Chicken
from: Quick & Easy Chinese by Nancie McDermott

2 tbsp dry sherry 
1 tbsp gluten free soy sauce
1 tsp salt

Sweet and Sour Sauce
2 tbsp water
2 tsp cornstarch 
1/4 cup chicken stock 
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp ketchup 
1 tbsp pineapple juice 

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp ginger paste
2 tsp garlic
2/3 cup chopped peppers (sweet red, orange and yellow)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup pineapple chunks
8 oz sliced chicken
3 tbsp chopped green onion

Combine soy sauce, sherry and salt and stir until blended well. 

To make the sweet and sour sauce, combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside. Combine chicken stock, vinegar, sugar, ketchup and pineapple juice in small sauce pan. Whisk until blended well and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Cook for one minute. Stir in cornstarch mixture and cook until sauce becomes shiny and thick. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm. 

Heat large, deep skillet over high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat pan. Add ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add bell peppers and onions. Cook, tossing often, until fragrant and beginning to wilt. Add pineapple and cook for one minute longer. Remove mixture from pan and set aside. 

Add chicken to the pan, spreading it out in a single layer and cook undisturbed until edges change color, about 30 seconds. Toss well and cook, repeating this often, until most of pork is no longer pink. 

Add sherry soy mixture and toss well. Return bell pepper mixture to pan and mix well. Add sweet and sour sauce and cook, tossing often, until all ingredients are evenly seasoned and coated. Add green onions and toss again. Serve immediately.