Sweet and Sour Chicken With Black Rice Vinegar
Sweet and sour chicken is a very popular dish and there are several different ways to make it. In this recipe, black rice vinegar heightens the tartness of the sauce. (Black rice vinegar is available at Asian markets).
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 cucumber
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 3/4 cup baby carrots
- 4 1/2 TB rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 TB black rice vinegar
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 TB tomato paste
- 4 1/2 TB brown sugar
- 3/8 tsp chile sauce, or to taste
- 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 6 teaspoons water
- 1 - 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 TB potato starch (cornstarch can be substituted)
- 3 1/4 cups oil for deep-frying and stir-frying
Cut the chicken into 1/2-inch cubes. Marinate in the rice wine or sherry and cornstarch for 30 minutes.
While the chicken is marinating, prepare the vegetables: mince the garlic clove, peel and cut the cucumber into thin slices, and cut the red pepper into cubes. Chop the baby carrots. Bring a large pot of water to boil and blanch the carrots briefly in the boiling water. Drain thoroughly.
In a small saucepan, add the ingredients for the sweet and sour sauce and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and keep warm.
To deep-fry the chicken: Preheat 3 cups of oil to 350 - 375 degrees Fahrenheit. While waiting for the oil to heat, brush the chicken cubes with the beaten egg and dip in the potato starch to cover. Deep-fry the dredged chicken pieces in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the wok. Deep-fry for 3 - 4 minutes until the chicken turns golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
To deep-fry the chicken a second time if desired: bring the oil temperature up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Deep-fry the chicken in batches, very briefly for less than a minute, until the chicken turns brown. Drain on paper towels.
Drain all but 2 tablespoons oil from the wok. When oil is hot, add the garlic and stir-fry briefly until aromatic. Add the carrots. Stir-fry for about 1 minute, then add the red peppers. Add the cucumber or save to use as a garnish.
Bring the sauce back up to a boil and add to the wok, mixing with the vegetables. Add the chicken. Heat through and serve over rice. Garnish with the cucumber if desired.
**This recipe is designed to make extra sauce for mixing in with the rice. It can easily be adjusted either up or down depending on how much sauce you want - just be sure to keep the proportions constant. For 3/4 lb of chicken, reduce quantities by 1/3 - ie. use 3 TB rice vinegar, 1 TB black rice vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 2 TB tomato paste, etc.
Yield: 3-4 Servings