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Sweet and Sour Chicken - dinnerjournal
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Sweet and Sour Chicken
Tonight's Dinner: Sweet and Sour Chicken
Jeff's Rating:  (1 to 5 Yums) : 4 Yums Left Over Ratings: 1 Yum
Things you need that aren't food: A wok (or two!) and a ton of bowls and things to hold stuff

This took me over two hours to make, and was pretty crazy. It tasted quite good when I made it, but the left overs were pretty pathetic.  I'd serve it to company, but I would also try to get rid of it all that night.

Recipe:

Chicken:
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
3 teaspoons Chinese rice wine
pinch of white pepper
1lb of chicken, cut into cubes (5/8th of inch or so)
1/2 cup of plain flour
1/2 cup of cornflour (you can find it the Mexican food section of the local grocery stores)
1 teaspoon baking soda (Bicarbonate of Soda as the original recipe calls it)
oil, for deep frying.  I blended 60% peanut oil, 40% vegetable oil.

Sauce:
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon very finely chopped ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 small onion, cut into wedges
1 small carrot, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 small green pepper, cut into thin strips about two inches long
1/2 cup of canned pineapple chunks well drained; reserve 1/3 cup of the juice
1/4 cup sliced bamboo shoots (in the Asian section of the grocery store)
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar (in the Asian section as well)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornflour combined with 1/2 cup of water

1. Combine the soy sauce, rice wine, and white pepper in a non-metal bowl, add the chicken and marinate for 30 minutes.

2. Combine the plain flour, cornflour, and baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of salt, then gradually add mix in 5 fluid ounces of cold water.  This will form a very sticky, thick batter.  (I used two additional ounces of water)  Add the chicken cubes and mix well with your hands.

3. Fill a wok one-third full of the oil and heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 Celsius) or until a cube of bread browns in 15 seconds. Make small balls of chicken and dough and drop them into the oil.  Cook in small batches (4 or 5 at a time) for 1 1/2 minutes or until golden.  You may need to loosen the chicken from the bottom of the wok after about 1 minute of cooking, then they should float to the top. (Mine didn't really do this)  Drain the pieces well on a layer of crumpled paper towels and allow to cool to room temperature.  Remove the wok from the heat but reserve the oil.

4. To make the sauce heat a second wok (or a saucepan like me) until very hot, add the oil and swirl to coat. Add the ginger, garlic, and onion and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the carrot and stir-fry for 2 minutes, then add then add the green pepper and cook for 1 minute or until the vegetables are tender but still a bit crunchy.  Add the pineapple chunks and the bamboo shoots, toss well and cook for 1 minute or until heated through.  Remove from the wok.

5. Combined the tomato sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, cornflour mixture, and the reserved pineapple juice and pour it into the wok.  Cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce boils and thickens, then return the vegetables to the wok.  Stir well and then remove from the heat.

6. Re-heat the deep-frying oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Re-fry the chicken in two batches for 1-2 minutes or until crisp, golden and heated through. Drain on paper towels, then quickly combine with the sauce.  Serve immediately with steamed rice.

Wow...this was a killer cooking experience.  It my first time deep frying in the wok so that was pretty crazy.  Gathering all the ingredients up took up all my preparation bowls and technically the recipe calls for pork not chicken, but I didn't want pork.  It turned out really well despite the fact that for the sauce I used rice wine on accident (in place of rice vinegar) so who knows what if it would have been much better without that mistake.  I probably won't make this too often or even in the near future, only because of how the bad the leftovers were. If you have the right company over, and plenty of prep time, this could be a really impressive dish to serve.
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