Friday, June 22, 2012

Sweet & Sour Chicken: Start with Pink, change to Orange

Who doesn't like sweet & sour chicken? It's the safe dish if you are at an Asian restaurant and don't know what to order. Originally I found this recipes on Of course I altered it some but it is still wonderful nonetheless. It's definitely labor intensive but worth it. Pineapple is the sweet, vinegar is the sour; savory and delicious is the result.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

1 (8 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained (juice reserved)
2 green bell peppers, cut into 1 inch strips
1 sweet onion, sliced
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 3/4 cup water
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
2 drops orange food color
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 1/4 cups self-rising flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 egg
2 cups water
1 quart vegetable oil for frying

In a saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups water, sugar, vinegar, reserved pineapple juice, and orange food coloring. Heat to boiling. Turn off heat. Combine 1/4 cup cornstarch and 1/4 cup water; slowly stir into saucepan. Continue stirring until mixture thickens.

Combine flour, 2 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, salt, white pepper, and egg. Add 1 1/2 cups water gradually to make a thick batter. Stir to blend thoroughly. Add chicken, and stir until well coated.

Heat oil in skillet or wok to 360 degrees. Fry chicken pieces in hot oil until golden. Remove chicken, drain onto paper towels.

When ready to serve, layer green peppers, onions, pineapple chunks, and cooked chicken pieces on a platter of rice. Pour hot sweet and sour sauce over top.

For some reason, my sauce turned out pink. It was quite pretty but not that appetizing. It took more than 2 drops of food coloring to change it to orange. Also, since I have been taking a lot of cooking classes, I am not a fan of cornstarch. It's hard to get rid of the strong flavor. I prefer a roux-equal parts by weight, cooked butter and flour.

Is this the "Pink Slime" referred to in the news?

This was one of Rachel's favorite dishes. I also liked it but since it was so laborious with much clean up required, I was a little burned out.

Happy Eating.


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