This week I set my sights on a sweet and sour chicken recipe I found in a Pil Publications cookbook called "Chinese Favorites." My hope was to duplicate the dish I typically order when dining out. While the chicken in this recipe is not battered and deep fried, as you find in many restaurant versions of the dish, I found it just as delicious and guilt-free. It was very easy to prepare and took a less than an hour, including the 20 minute marinade time. In the end I was particularly impressed with how the meal turned out, especially being my first attempt at Sweet and Sour Chicken from home. My 4-year-old son, Declan, seemed to enjoy it as well, as he ate a rather large sized portion by his standards. I was of course eagerly waiting to confirm this when I stated "This was a great dinner wasn't it Declan?" He answered with a cheerful tone that quickly turned serious, "Yes, it was a great dinner Dad. But next time, I just wish you could make the rice with nothing else on it."
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
3 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons apricot fruit spread
1 can (11 ounces) mandarin orange segments, drained
2 cups hot cooked white rice
Combine vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and crushed red pepper into a medium bowl. Cut chicken into chunks and place them into the marinade. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Prepare chicken broth just before the 20 minutes is up and set aside.
Heat vegetable oil in nonstick skillet over medium heat. Drain chicken from the marinade but save the marinade. Add chicken to the skillet and stir-fry for approximately five minutes before adding the green pepper and green onions.
Whisk your cornstarch into the saved marinade then add the marinade, chicken broth and fruit spread into the skillet with chicken. Cook and stir until chicken is fully cooked and sauce thickens slightly. Add pineapple chunks and simmer another 3-4 minutes.
Serve over rice.