Sunday, 2 February 2014

Sweet and sour chicken

I've always loved those red-and-white place mats at American-Chinese restaurants that all owners seem to order from the same warehouse. Textured paper, a thick red border and gold text describing the zodiac animals and their various traits provided plenty of entertainment for me as a child waiting for my sesame chicken. The zodiac pairings were always of the most interest, predicting whether a relationship would be successful or not. I'm positive that quizzing my parents for their birth years countless times at The China Cafe is the only way I remember the dates (as a tiger and a pig, they are a good match). 

As for me, I should've been looking for a dog but ended up with an ox, which means unfortunately, we will part.

Whatever. Bottom line is, I'm a horse and as of the Chinese New Year (last Friday), it is MY YEAR.

In celebration (okay, it was more of a coincidence), I made sweet and sour chicken. It's a hallmark of all American-Chinese restaurants -- basically popcorn chicken swimming in a sticky, sweet, thick sauce. I imagine you'd be hard pressed to find a similar dish in China, but they are just missing out.

Thank you to Damn Delicious for the recipe. You'll need at least and hour and a half to whip this up -- but if an impatient horse like me can do it, so can you.

Cook up some brown rice, steam some broccoli to serve on the side and enjoy. 


Serves: 2
Preparation: 1 hours 30 minutes

2 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
Salt and pepper
1/4 c. corn starch
1 egg
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. sesame seeds

3/4 c. white sugar
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. ketchup
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sriracha sauce
dash garlic powder
dash onion powder

1. Preheat oven to 325*. Coat a medium, shallow baking dish with coconut oil.
2. Whisk together the sauce ingredients over low heat; bring to a simmer. Cook down for 5-10 minutes until it thickens.
3. Mix the cornstarch, salt and pepper together. Coat the chicken pieces in the corn starch mix and then the egg.
4. Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes, flipping halfway through. When golden brown, transfer to paper towel-lined plate.
5. Mix chicken and sauce together in baking dish. Cook for about 45 minutes, stirring two or three times.
6. When the chicken is almost done, toast the sesame seeds in a nonstick pan over medium heat until golden brown. Serve chicken over rice and top with seeds.


  1. Granted, I'm obviously not dating them, but my dad and brother are both horses and I'm an ox, and we get along famously! This chicken looks delicious!

    1. Good to know that there is hope, haha! It was faaaabulous -- a little sinful but so good.

  2. I'm a rat :/
    we have a big asian population in our neighborhood, and my husband and i pick out new restaurants to try based on where the asians are--they know good food! there's this new one a 5 minute walk from our house and every time we've tried to go, it's been PACKED. hopefully we'll be able to try it one day soon... but this meal looks like a good substitute til then!

    1. I like your methodology haha. I hope you've gotten to try it by now! We mostly have the sketchy American Asian restaurants around here -- nothing too impressive. There is a new Thai place that I'm looking to try soon, though!

  3. I think I am a goat!
    Also, I looooove sweet and sour chicken! A big fan of all the veggies you put on your plate too, that's how I have mine!

    1. Yeah, I actually identify with almost NONE of the horse characteristics lol so I'm not sure how much I trust them ;)
      Broccoli is the only way I felt even halfway healthy eating this. It was worth the indulgence, though!