This week I plan on running some recipes for Valentine’s Day. The first is Homemade Chinese Sweet & Sour Chicken. Sweet & Sour Chicken has always been one of my favorites. It is easy to find in Chinese restaurants in Turkey, but the sauce is not always right, and the peppers and onions often taste like a tin can. So a while back, I set out to make it myself. And last night, I perfected it! It was literally the best I ever had, bar none.
I named it after my friend, Aydan – who is dying to try this recipe.
The secret is in the sauce – boiling a lemon and oranges! The base sauce begins by boiling a lemon and oranges. Wow! What a difference!
This is not a “last minute meal”, however, as you will see in my notes below, the base for the sauce can be prepared in advance and even frozen.
I used this recipe from a Chinese American fellow at the Art of Cooking on YouTube. I have added it for safe keeping to a “Recipes” playlist on AIA’s YouTube Channel. You can read the recipe and watch it being cooked (with subtitles) by clicking on the video below:
MY NOTES on cooking this fabulous meal:
- You will see in the video that the sauce does not contain peppers, onions, and pineapple as we know it. According to the video, that is “pineapple” chicken. I went ahead and sauteed onions and peppers (and once I added carrots too) in olive oil before adding the sauce to the pan. Saute just until slightly wilted – they should be more “al dente.” Add the sauce base. Then add the thickener. I used a lot of vegetables because we like it that way. You can find canned pineapple in most markets in Turkey. And of course, fresh pineapple when in season.
- His base sauce makes about 10 cups. Then he says to use one cup of the base and add a thickener. I actually used about 2 cups of the base for mine. So what do you do with the rest of the sauce? Before adding the thickener, freeze the rest in small plastic containers. That makes it faster and easier the next time you want to enjoy the meal.
- I did not add any kind of food coloring to the sauce. It is red enough for me from the ketchup.
- You may be concerned about letting the chicken sit with water. Go ahead and follow his instructions. It works!
- After letting the chicken rest in water and other ingredients int he refrigerator for 30-60 minutes, you prepare and add the rest of the batter ingredients. The batter should be nice and thick. If it is not thick, add more flour before adding the chicken.
- When frying the chicken, he uses a toothpick to lower the battered chicken into the frying oil. On my first attempt, I did not do this, and my batter did not stick. The toothpick allows you to add the chicken without accidentally wiping the batter off of the chicken. I did it last night and it worked great!
- Also, follow his instructions about removing the chicken from the oil after 1-2 minutes, wait about 20-30 seconds, and then carefully lower them back into the oil until golden brown.
I hope you will give this a try! I can’t say enough good things about this recipe!