It’s amazing how picky I’ve become in one area, while simultaneously becoming much less so in another. I’m much more adventurous these days with what I prepare in my kitchen, cooking with ingredients that have previously been foreign to me. At the same time, my standards for food photography have elevated to a level where I’m being way too selective. Instead of making a new recipe and instantly running to the computer to share it, I’m stopping and scrutinizing my photos, wondering whether they’ll stand up to my newfound standards. I should be on recipe 59 or 60, but I’ve got a number of dishes that didn’t make the cut, at least as far as the pictures are concerned. What’s good though, is that while they don’t look as appealing thanks to how I captured them visually, they’ve still been quite delicious. So, I’ll simply have to make them a second time, learning from my mistakes when it comes to presentation and photography.
This is my long way of saying that though it’s been a few days since I’ve shared something over here at From James (Seaton) to Jamie (Oliver), it’s totally been worth the wait. I found this recipe on Foodgawker, posted by Deborah over at her blog Taste and Tell, and instantly knew I had to make it. I played around a bit with the ingredient proportions and threw in some locally grown yellow bell peppers, and it turned out quite amazing. I served it over fried rice (the same stuff that I’ve posted about before, just minus the chicken), snapped a few gawk-worthy photos (in my opinion, at least), and then devoured it.
It’s the last full week of school for my students, however, so I should really keep this short and head off to get some rest. The end of the school year is always a busy time of catch-up and craziness, and I want to be at the top of my game. I’m definitely excited for the end, though, no matter how fast-paced the rest of June will be. The summer will give me ample opportunity to cook with fresh, local ingredients, and to do so on an I-don’t-get-paid-in-the-summer budget – it should be interesting.
Anyways, without further adieu, Sweet and Sour Chicken:
Sweet and Sour Chicken
- 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
- salt and pepper
- 2/3 cup corn starch
- 3 eggs
- 90 ml vegetable oil (divided into 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp.)
- 1 cup sugar
- 90 ml ketchup
- 2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
- 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 orange or red bell peppers, cut into 1 1/2 cm squares
- 1-2 green onions, for garnishing
- Prepare two bowls for coating the chicken. One will contain the corn starch, and the other will contain the eggs, slightly beaten. Add 1/4 cup of the vegetable oil to a large skillet and place this over medium-high heat.
- Season the chicken cubes with salt and pepper. Working with 1/4 to 1/3 of the chicken at a time, toss them in the corn starch and ensure all pieces are fully coated. Then, dredge the chicken in the eggs so that they are once again fully coated.
- Using tongs, add the chicken to the skillet with the oil. Be sure to shake off excess egg from the chicken when transferring to the skillet.
- Brown the chicken on all sides, then toss in a large baking dish.
- Repeat this process until all the chicken has been coated and browned. If the skillet runs low on oil, add another tbsp. (up to 2, total) during each successive round of coating/browning.
- Once all the chicken is browned and sitting in the baking dish, quickly make the sauce. Combine the ketchup, sugar, soy sauce, garlic powder and apple cider vinegar in a bowl and stir. Once fully combined, pour over the chicken and stir to fully coat.
- Place the baking dish in an oven preheated to 325 degrees and cook for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. After the chicken has been in the oven for 30 minutes, add in the bell peppers and mix to incorporate, before continuing with the second 30 minutes in the oven.
- Remove from the oven, and serve over a bed of rice, garnishing with the green onions if desired.