Wednesday, April 24, 2013

New Favorite: Lite Sweet and Sour Chicken

I have a secret that I'm now ready to admit. It's kind of embarrassing and I'm sure my mother is about to hang her head in shame.

Until three weeks ago, I didn't know how to saute anything. Like, I didn't even know what kind of food to saute, let alone what utensils to use for the process. A spoon? Maybe a spatula? Pot? Pan?

I didn't have a clue.

Also embarrassing, what I thought was a clove of garlic turns out to be a bulb of garlic. Small difference, apparently.

Seriously, how have I made it this far in life without poisoning anyone?

Clearly, dinner around here has come a long way in the past few years. I've moved up in the world. Now I don't eat eggs and cereal for dinner every night. Instead I've slowly learned how to make the basics - tacos, baked salmon, chef salad and even the occasional pork tenderloin. Don't let my Thanksgiving table fool you. I can't really cook. I can merely follow basic recipes.

I was reading one of my favorite blogs a few weeks ago and came across a recipe for sweet and sour chicken that seemed way out of my league. It also had a list of a few foreign ingredients but it sparked a memory of delicious take-out back from back in my college days.

Ahhh, the sweet memories of gaining the freshman fifteen...or thirty. Luckily, this is a healthier version that won't plague my thighs the same way.

As it turned out, that week I just so happened to have a freezer full of meat, which meant my grocery budget was going to have some extra room. This was good because that meant I could splurge a bit on all the random items I would need to make this sweet and sour chicken.

Don't you hate that when it costs $30 just to buy the ingredients for one dish? And then the bottles are all so big that you better love this fancy new recipe because otherwise you're going to be stuck with enough random oyster sauce to last a lifetime? So you cross your fingers and hope you love the recipe because now you'll be able to make the meal for months without having to spend another penny.

That's exactly what happened here. I love this sweet and sour chicken so much, we have had it for dinner every single week for almost a month now.

I can't stop cooking it. I crave it. I dream about it.

And then, I inhale it.

The recipe came from Iowa Girl Eats, but was actually a guest post there by Gimme Some Oven. You can see the original recipe here. Neither of these ladies have every let me down before, so no surprise that this dish was excellent as usual.

I did make a few adjustments, however. I left out the pineapple and reduced the chili sauce because the full three tablespoons caused a decent amount of smoke to come out of TC's ears. It was hot! Two table spoons is more than enough. I'd go with one tablespoon if you're a weenie when it comes to spicy food.

Maybe you have rice vinegar, or oyster sauce or sriracha chili sauce already in your pantry - you must be an adventurous cook. Can you please invite me over sometime? If not, find a little bit in your grocery budget and give this a try. It's definitely worth it.


Light Sweet and Sour Chicken (adapted from Gimme Some Oven at Iowa Girl Eats)

Stir Fry Ingredients
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
sesame seeds (optional)
white or brown rice, for serving

Sweet and Sour Sauce Ingredients
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. sriracha chile sauce (3 tablespoons if you're a badass, 1 if you're a weenie)
3 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. oyster sauce
1 pinch freshly grated pepper
1/2 cup orange juice (or pineapple)
1 Tbsp. cornstarch (NOT corn syrup - duh!)

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, then add to skillet. Saute for about 5 minutes, flipping occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink on the inside. Remove chicken and set aside. Cut the vegetables while the meat cooks.
  2. Add an another tablespoon of oil to the skillet, then add in the onion and peppers. Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for another 3 minutes or until the vegetables are tender yet still a bit crisp. Remove vegetables and set aside.
  3. Add ketchup, sriracha, vinegar, brown sugar, oyster sauce and pepper to the pan, and whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together the fruit juice and cornstarch until it has dissolved. Then add the mixture to the sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Add back in the vegetables and chicken. Stir until evenly coated. Allow the mixture to thicken for 3-5 minutes, or until no longer soupy.
  4. Remove from heat and serve over rice, garnished with sesame seeds if desired. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a covered container for up to 3 days.
  5. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Yum! I have a pork tenderloin glaze you may like too- super easy.
    1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    1/4 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup water
    2 tbsp soy sauce
    1 tbsp cornstarch

    Put all ingredients in small pot and boil for about 30 seconds. Remove form heat and let cool. Sauce will thicken into a glaze. Sooo yummy!