Seven years living in China, I’ve eaten Sweet and Sour Crispy Chicken countless times. I was young and eating sweet dishes was not an issue, I could use high levels of sugar to hang out all night long and have fun in clubs even during week nights, then go to work in the morning and do it again the following night. Not gaining a pound, as I was dancing my nights away!
Most times, I would try to avoid fried dishes when eating out, but in China it can turn out to be really hard sometimes. Baking food in an oven was not a common thing at all, as an oven simply was not the common appliance. The wok, on the contrary, is a basic kitchen utensile, and there can’t be a good use of the wok without the use of oil. Therefore, it is not exaggerated to say that oil is the basic component to all Chinese dishes.
I have tried to challenge myself and avoid deep-frying my chicken here, so I have baked it in the oven and did not add any fat of any sort to my mixture. Because I am not 25 yo anymore, because I don’t go dancing every night anymore, and because dealing with weight loss on a yearly basis when Summer comes is enough of a hassle already, so I don’t put myself into the trouble of eating in more fat when it can be avoided.
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 egg
- a bit of flour
- Panko breadcrumbs (or thinner breadcrumbs)
- 1/2 chopped large green bell pepper, diced
- 1 handful of pineapple chunks
- 1 big scallion
- 1 tbsp of ginger powder
- 2 garlic cloves
- (if you like a little spice, replace the garlic cloves by some chili garlic sauce that can be found in Asian stores)
- 2 tbsp of Ketchup
- 2 tbsp of Shaoxing wine
- 2 tbsp of sugar
- 1 tbsp of soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of sesame oil
- 1,5 tbsp of cornstarch + 125 ml of water (1/2 cup)
- Start with the chicken breasts: butterfly, slice, coat and oven-bake them like you’ve learnt how in the recipe of my General Tao Chicken. For that step, in a big salad bowl, set the chicken pieces and combine the egg and the flour to form a liquid paste over and around the chicken. In another bowl, pour some Panko breadcrumbs and start coating the chicken piece by piece. Display on a baking sheet on the oven tray, and bake for about 30 minutes or till golden brown. Set aside when ready.
- In the meantime, prepare the rest of the ingredients so that everything is ready to be used once the fire is on. Dice the bell pepper, mince the garlic cloves, chop the white part of the scallion, slice the green part of the scallion 2 cm long.
- In a small bowl, prepare the sauce by combining the Ketchup, Shaoxing wine, sugar, soy sauce, salt and sesame oil.
- Only when the chicken is ready on the side, start heating a bit of oil in a wok.
- Stir-fry the green bell pepper for 30 seconds.
- Quickly stir-fry for 15 seconds the garlic and white scallion parts with the ginger powder. If you choose the chili garlic sauce instead of the garlic cloves, do not add it here now but combine it to the small bowl of the sauce.
- After the 15 seconds, pour in the sauce and start heating it.
- Add the pineapple and combine.
- Quickly stir in a cup the cornstarch with 125 ml of cold water. Immediately add to the wok and slowly stir to combine until the sauce thickens.
- When the sauce has thickened, add the chicken pieces to the wok and coat them with the sauce.
- Stop the heat and throw the green scallion parts over, combine one last time.
- Serve warm with white rice. Or push your creativity to the next level and use half of a pineapple as an individual serving dish! (this needs to be decided upfront, obviously).
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2017 All Rights Reserved.