Sweet and Sour Chicken
A good version of the American-style Chinese food classic. Don't overcook the chicken, or the coating will be hard and crunchy instead of crisp, and the chicken breast will be dry instead of tender. A light golden brown is good enough - check a piece early for doneness. To used canned pineapple instead of fresh, see note below.
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 2 drops orange food color
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup small diced fresh pineapple
- 2 cups ap flour, scant
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 quart vegetable oil for frying
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes
- Dice the chicken breast into one inch pieces; set aside.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, cornstarch, salt and pepper and stir to blend. Seperately mix egg, water and vegetable oil. Add the wet mixture to dry ingredients and blend to make a thick batter. Mix in diced chicken breast and stir until well coated; and set aside.
- Combine water, white sugar, white vinegar and food color in a medium saucepan. Heat to boiling. Combine second quanity cold water with cornstarch and mix into smooth paste. Add this cornstarch slurry to the boiling liquid while whisking vigorously. Remove from heat and stir until thickened. Add pineapple chunks to the sauce and keep warm.
- Heat oil for deep frying. Cook the chicken pieces, adding them to the hot fat (360°) one at a time and cooking until crisp and golden brown. Do not overcook. Drain on paper towels and hold in a hot (175°) oven.
To use canned pineapple rather than fresh, drain chunks of fruit and reserve 1/2 cup syrup. Add syrup to the sauce ingredients, but reduce water to 1-1/2 cups and sugar to 3/4 cup. Measure 1 cup of pineapple chunks.