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Sweet and Sour Chicken

Updated June 20, 2016

This classic dish is one of the most popular of all Chinese-American culinary creations.

Preparation Time30 min

Cooking Time25 min

Cooking MethodFrying, Stir-frying

CostModerate

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe CourseMain Course

Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Lactose-free

EquipmentWok

MealDinner

Taste and TextureCrisp, Savory, Sweet, Tart

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup lager beer
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • One ¾ in (2cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and shredded
  • 1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 tbsp cold water
  • 4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 in (2.5cm) pieces
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp unsalted cashew nuts or whole blanched almonds
  • ½ red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 8 scallions, cut into 1in (2.5cm) lengths
  • ½ cup cubed fresh or drained canned pineapple
  • Wok or large frying pan
  • Deep-frying thermometer

Instructions

  1. To make the batter, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center, add ½ cup of the beer, and whisk, gradually adding the remaining beer. Let stand for 30 minutes.

  2. To make the sauce, stir the stock, soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, honey, and ginger in a small saucepan over low heat until the honey is melted. Stir in the dissolved cornstarch and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, until just thickened. Set aside.

  3. Preheat the oven to 200°F (95°C). Fill a wok halfway with oil. Heat to 350°F (180°C). Place the flour in a bowl. In batches, toss the chicken in the flour, then coat in the batter and add to the hot oil. Deep-fry about 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet lined with paper towels and keep warm in the oven.

  4. Pour all but 2 tbsp oil from the wok and return to high heat. Add the cashews and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Transfer to the baking sheet. Add the red pepper to the oil and stir-fry 2 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Add the scallions and pineapple and stir-fry for 1 minute.

  5. Pour the sauce into the wok, add the chicken and stir until coated. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with cashews, and serve hot.

Notes

  1. Prepare ahead: Steps 1 and 2 can be completed several hours in advance.

  2. Checking the oil temperature: If you don't have a deep-frying thermometer, check the oil temperature with a piece of day-old bread. Drop it in the pan; it will rise to the surface if the oil is hot enough.

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