No more take-away: Sticky Sour and Sweet Chicken
I’m beyond proud of me.
I am a loyal customer of my local Chinese restaurant. In Lisbon, you can find a Chinese restaurant almost in every corner and I love it.
Almost all my visit to take-away restaurants end in a big bowl of fried rice and a delicious portion of sour and sweet chicken. It’s just my safe dish. I know that every time I get served these fried small pieces of chicken with that delicious sticky sauce I won’t get disappointed.
Of course, I wanted to challenge myself and do it from the comfort of my tiny kitchen. What is life without the emotions of an imminent kitchen catastrophe?
Everything was set for a disaster lunch: fry chicken — I’m a complete coward when it comes to frying things—, a sauce that I had no clue how to make, multiple recipients (the flour, the eggs, the chicken, the sauce, etc) and steps, and working in the tiniest kitchen of the world.
The first thing when you work in batches is to have everything organized and put in different recipients for every step of the recipe. I cut all the chicken and seasoned it in its bowl. Another bowl for the flour and other for the beaten eggs. Also, the sauce is previously made and stored, and the pepper cut into big slices.
I cannot stress enough how organization is key to fry large batches of food. If you are inexperienced in the art of frying you can see my article about best deep fryers and tips to fry.
One of the things that surprise me about this dish is that you use cornstarch to fry your chicken instead of the classical flour and the result is just like the takeaway.
It made my house smell like a Chinese restaurant. The best feeling: the realization that maybe this wasn’t going to be a disaster.
After frying the chicken the only thing lacking was the millenarian Chinese sweet and sour sauce. So the key to this particular sauce is the balance: not too sweet not too acid. The ketchup and soy are the base. Now the sugar and the vinegar are opposites that we are supposed to bring together in the sauce. After a lot of experimentation, 3 tbsp of sugar for the ¼ cup of rice vinegar was the sweet spot where the sauce seemed pretty much balanced.
And the result: a complete hit. I tried a few more times and each of them the result was the same. No more take away for us!
Also, I made my own version of the fried rice. I add some baby green beans and even a scrambled egg, and it was perfect for my sticky sour and sweet chicken.
- 1 ½ cup cornstarch
- 2 eggs
- 600 gr chicken breast boneless cut into cubes
- ½ red pepper cut into big cubes
- Vegetable oil
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 cup ketchup
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 3 tbsp sugar
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp sesame oil
Cut the chicken into dices of 1 inch. Season the chicken with a pinch of salt and black pepper.
In a deep fryer or a big pan add enough oil to cover the chicken pieces. Let it heat to at least 170ºC (350ºF)
Dip the chicken pieces into the beaten eggs and then pass it through the corn starch.
Fry the chicken and then use a rack or absorbent paper to get rid of the excess of oil.
Mix all the ingredients for the sour and sweet sauce.
In a big sauté pan add the peppers and let it soften. Then add the chicken and the sauce and stir until the chicken is glazed.