Friday, July 17, 2009
Sweet and Sour Chicken (not fried, not dyed)
Doesn't look like your typical restaurant sweet and sour chicken, does it?
No red dye; no out-of-place, overly sweet maraschinos; no breading; no deep frying. There's just flavor, and it's fairly healthful, too.
If we ate green pepper at our house, it would be a little prettier. I substituted yellow pepper, and a glance at the picture tells me red might have looked better.
The recipe is from Low-Fat Chicken Breasts by Diane Rozas, who also wrote Chicken Breasts and More Chicken Breasts, all of them affordable and stuffed with recipes.
I modified this recipe just a little, and have added those adjustments. It speeds up the cooking a good deal if you do the chopping and sauce-mixing ahead of time.
Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-Fry
1 tbsp. light (as opposed to dark) sesame oil
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts (4 pieces), cut into bite-size strips
1 large or 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
4 heaping tbsp. brown sugar (dark or light)
1 1/2 cups diced fresh pineapple, juice reserved
3 tbsp. reserved juice
3 tbsp. white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
4 tbsp. sherry
1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger*
1 chopped bell pepper, your choice color
1/2 cup celery (I didn't have any, so I increased carrots)
1/2 cup carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1/4 cup chopped green onion, white and green parts
1 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsp. soy sauce
In a wok, heat the oil. Add the chicken and stir-fry until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from wok and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine sugar, pineapple juice, vinegar, sherry and ginger and stir to dissolve sugar. Set aside.
Add chopped pepper, celery, carrots and green onion to the work and stir-fry for a minute. Add the soy sauce and stir-fry just a little longer, till beginning to get tender.
Stir in chicken, pineapple, sauce and cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil. Stir constantly for two minutes or till sauce thickens and everything is done.
Serve immediately on rice.
*Fresh Ginger: I don't remember where I learned to do this, but I like to buy a chunk of fresh ginger, peel it, thinly slice and toss it in a jar with a lid. Pour in enough sherry to cover and close the lid. This keeps a long time in the fridge and I always have ginger on hand. Just dip out what you need. The sherry takes on the ginger flavor and is a good addition to other recipes, like Sesame Chicken, which I will post someday.