Sweet and Sour Chicken With Lemon
this recipe is for sweet and sour chicken but you can substitute pork tenderloin or lean beef instead. If time is short, you can use commercial sweet and sour sauces that are available in the Asian food section of your supermarket.
- Chicken Bits:
- 2 pounds skinned, de-boned chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- A little fresh ground black pepper, ground ginger and garlic powder to season flour (not a lot)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- Vegetable oil
- 1 green bell pepper, washed, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch square bits
- 1 red bell pepper, washed, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch square bits
- 1 large yellow onion, skinned, root end removed, cut into 1/2-inch bits
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and trimed, slice thinly on the diagonal
- 1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks in juice (no added sweeteners)
- Sweet and Sour Sauce:
- 1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 - 6 drops red food coloring
- 2 rounded tablespoons corn starch mixed in enough cold water to make a slurry
Directions for Making Chicken Bits
When cutting the chicken into bite-sized pieces, remove any fat, gristle or connective tissue. If the chicken is soft-frozen or almost thawed it is easier to cut.
In small frying pan, add 1/2-inch vegetable oil. Heat to deep-frying temperature.
In a bowl mix eggs and milk. Beat until well combined.
Place flour and seasonings in a shallow bowl and mix.
Dunk pieces of chicken in the egg and milk mixture. Allow excess to drain.
Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour coating thoroughly. Here is your chance to practice with your chop sticks and keep the flour off from your fingers.
Drop pieces into the hot oil and fry until deep golden brown. Turn as necessary to cook evenly on all sides. When golden brown, remove to paper towel covered plate to drain.
Repeat until all chicken pieces are cooked. Set aside until assembly.
Directions for Making Sweet and Sour Sauce
Place pineapple and water in sauce pan. Heat over low flame. Slowly add sugar while stirring.
When sugar has dissolved, slowly add the vinegar and the lemon juice while stirring.
Add corn starch slurry and stir while heating. Bring to a boil.
Stir constantly until thickened. Add food coloring (a couple drops at first and then adjust until you have the red color you like) and stir well to mix. Continue to heat and stir until almost a syrup. Remove from heat and set aside.
Note: You will be judging the thickness of the sauce while it is hot. It will thicken considerably when it is set aside and cools. Later, when added to the vegetables, the moisture from the vegetables will thin the sauce quite a bit.
Directions for Assembling Completed Dish
Add a little vegetable oil to a large frying pan or wok. Bring to frying temperature over medium heat. Add vegetables (but not the pineapple) and cook, stirring frequently, until onions begin to caramelize.
Add sweet and sour sauce and continue cooking and stirring until vegetable are bite tender and sauce has re-thickened and clings to the vegetables.
Add pineapple and chicken bits and fold into the vegetables and sauce. Simmer until heated through. Serve.
Most home-made sweet and sour sauces are made with brown sugar and the sauce has the distinctive coffee color of the molasses in the brown sugar. This recipe produces a red sweet and sour sauce that looks just like the Chinese restaurant take-out food but we think that it tastes a lot better. Try it and see how easy it is to make tasty oriental-style food at home.