Introduction: Sweet and Sour Chicken

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One of my favorites! Insanely easy and quick to put together, and you can feed several people. And then those people will be full and happy and like you a lot.

My friend Cher made this years ago for one of our LOST nights and I've been making it ever since. She got the original recipe here, but I've modified it through the years and I'll be giving additional suggestions for substitutions and tweaking it to fit your tastes.

Feeds: 4-6
Time: 45 minutes to an hour

Step 1: Gather Yourself Some Ingredients.

For the chicken:
  • 1 lb of chicken, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
For the veggies/fruits:
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • pineapple chunks
For the sauce:
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 8 oz can pineapple chunks - you'll use 1/4 cup of the juice (No pineapple? See the note below.)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar - add more as needed to suit your tastes
If you're not a fan of pineapple or happen to have none around, you can substitute 1/8 cup lemon juice and 1/8 cup orange juice. I actually prefer using the lemon/orange mixture for the sauce, but I love the pineapple chunks in the dish.

  • 1 cup rice (I like jasmine)
  • 1 3/4 cup water

Step 2: Prep Chicken.

In a medium bowl, whisk together an egg white, 2 tsp of cornstarch and 1/2 tsp salt.

Add your chicken and stir until everything is well coated.

You'll let this sit for about 15 minutes while you get everything else prepped.

Step 3: Make the Sweet and Sour Sauce.

Combine 1/4 cup pineapple juice (or equal parts lemon and orange juice), 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup ketchup and 1 tbsp brown sugar.

Whisk these together until well combined and taste.

Want it more sweet? Add a little more sugar. More sour? Add more vinegar.

Step 4: Prep the Veggies!

If you want veggies, now is the time to add them.

Chop them up into 1 inch-or-so pieces - it all depends on how big you want them to be. Just try to keep everything around the same size so it all cooks at the same rate.

Also take the time to drain the pineapple chunks the rest of the way right now. :)

Step 5: Extra Credit: Rice!

If you'd like to make rice with this, now is the time to start.

I always do 1 cup rice to 1 3/4 cups water. Rinse the rice well - 3-5 times until the water runs clear. Then cover with the right amount of water, add a pinch or two of salt, and bring to a boil.

Once it boils, stir it, and cover it.

Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 18 minutes. Turn the heat off, let rest for 5-10 minutes, and fluff with a fork. :)

It should be done about the same time as the rest of the meal.

Step 6: Cook the Chicken.

Heat a bit of oil in your pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers and/or starts to lightly smoke.

Add the coated chicken pieces, making sure to not overcrowd the pan and cook them about one minute per side, so that they're lightly browned. You'll probably need to do this in two or three batches unless you have a gigantic pan. The chicken will still be pink in the middle - it'll finish cooking when it simmers in the sauce.

Reserve the rest of the cooking oil in the pan for the vegetables.

Step 7: Cook the Veggies.

Keep the pan over medium-high heat and add a little more oil if needed.

Cook them, stirring frequently, for a few minutes until they get a bit of color and the onions get kinda translucent. You want them to stay pretty firm.

Step 8: Add Sauce and Pineapple!

Pour in the sauce and add the pineapple, and stir until everything is coated.

Turn down the heat, and bring the sauce to a simmer.

Step 9: Add the Chicken and Simmer.

Mix everything together and simmer, stirring occasionally for 5-10 minutes, until the chicken is done. 

The chicken will be very firm when done, but if you're worried about it - take out of the the biggest pieces and cut into it to make sure you're good to go. :)

Step 10: Serve!

I like it best over rice with a little sriracha. :)

And the leftovers are extra yummy, so it's good for a work lunch the next day.