Saturday, March 19, 2011

Take Out Fake Out: Sweet & Sour Chicken

I recently joined a Facebook called The Great Recipe Exchange Between Friends. It's a new group so there aren't very many recipes on there, but all the recipes already posted seem very promising. When I saw this one, I must say, I had mixed emotions of being excited and sceptical at the same time. I work in a college bakeshop and get to see alot of the behind the scenes in the kitchen while walking through. I've seen bits and pieces of the process of making sweet and sour chicken and, while I haven't seen it from start to finish, I'm pretty sure that their technique involves marinating, definitely deep frying, and then tossing in sauce. When I saw the picture that went with this recipe, I was beyond excited because it looked SO sticky and delicious without breaking out the deep fryer. I love Chinese food and was SO excited how GREAT this tasted and how similar it was to the real deal. I think we've broken a little of our Chinese take out habit which will definitely save us cash (not only on the extra expense of the restaurant mark up, but also on gas with the closest Chinese restaurant being 15-20 min away and gas prices currently at roughly $3.50 a gallon). This is, by no means, the healthiest dish to have, but add a little broccoli and the fact you can make brown rice instead of the usual white served along side the local take out and maybe, just maybe, you can ignore all the sugar. Either way, I know this one will show up in my kitchen again and I'm very grateful that this recipe was shared among the group and I can pass it on to you!

Sweet & Sour Chicken
Courtesy of a Member of The Great Recipe Exchange Between Friends on Facebook

For the Chicken:
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

For the Sauce:
3/4 cup sugar
4 Tbsp. ketchup
1/2 cup vinegar (preferably rice or white)
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 325F.
2. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
3. Working in two batches, toss the chicken pieces in cornstarch and then coat with the egg. Heat the oil over med-high heat and, again working in batches, brown the chicken, turning it so that all sides are browned.
4. Place the chicken in a single layer in a 9x13in baking dish. (My 13x9 was dirty, or rather filled with my hubby's birthday cake, so I used two 8in square pans and it worked fine.)
5. Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and pour evenly over the chicken. Turn the chicken to ensure each piece is coated.
6. Bake for 1 hr, turning the chicken every 15 min. For the first 30 to 45 min it will look like it is not turning out. Stick with it! In the last 15+ min, something magically happens and it is incredibly delicious, I swear!

Serve with veggies and rice of your choice. I chose broccoli to make it most like our local take out and brown rice to make it a little healthier.