Kirkkitsch’s Blog


Sweet & Sour Chicken
February 26, 2011, 6:00 am
Filed under: Food

I‘ve never made any kind of Chinese food, so I was pleasantly surprised when I tried this and it came out PERFECT! I initially had found a recipe in an old 80’s back issue of Reader’s Digest (it too was a Minute Rice™ recipe), but naturally, I forgot to bring it with me when I went grocery shopping. So, I did the next best thing and looked on the back of the Minute Rice™ box at the grocery store and used it as a grocery list. Sure enough, there it was: Sweet & Sour Chicken.

First, I’ll give you the recipe (which I thought was kinda vague to begin with), then tell you how I went about executing it:

SWEET & SOUR CHICKEN

1 Tbsp. oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 bag (16 oz.) frozen stir-fry vegetables
1 can (8 oz.) pineapple chunks in juice, undrained
1 can (10.5 oz.) low sodium chicken broth
2 cups Minute White Rice™, uncooked
1/2 cup sweet ‘n sour sauce

1. HEAT oil in large skillet on medium-high. Add chicken; cook and stir 5 min. or until cooked through.
2. ADD vegetables and pineapple with juice; mix well. Stir in chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
3. STIR in rice; cover. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 min. or until almost all of the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir in sweet ‘n sour sauce.

Makes 5 servings.

The recipe says that Prep time is “5 min.” and that Cooke time is “15 min.” It took me longer than that.

• REALITY

• First off, let me tell you what I DIDN’T do:

– I didn’t buy the bag of frozen vegetables marked ‘stir-fry’ in the freezer section of the grocery store. Before you think “Yeah! Frozen vegetables are yucky!”, let me tell you WHY I didn’t buy the ones marked ‘stir-fry.’ I didn’t really like the mix of vegetables prepackaged in most ‘stir-fry’ bags. I also didn’t like that the chunks were larger than I wanted them to be. SO, instead, I bought the store brand of a frozen medley called ‘Three Pepper and Onion Blend.‘ It had green, yellow and red bell pepper and onion pieces.
– I didn’t chop my carrots up into little slices, like they show on the package or like you see in the restaurant. I used a handheld shredding utensil (kinda like a carrot peeler, but with a row of serrated teeth…not sure what it’s actually called) to shred the carrots into long strings. I thought this would be nice, since we would be using chopsticks, and this would make them easier to pick up AND because I wouldn’t have to fret over them being undercooked, like slices would have been. If you don’t have one of these tools, shredding would be just fine too.
– I didn’t cook everything in the one-skillet ‘Hamburger Helper‘-style. I did this for two reasons: [1] I felt like it would overcook the veggies and make them soggy and [2] I wanted to ladle the stir-fry onto a bed of rice, instead of mixing it all together)

I cooked the chicken first, then set it aside. Cooked the rice in my Tupperware rice cooker (which makes it IMPOSSIBLE to not make PERFECT rice every time!) in the microwave (or would have made it in a separate pan, had I not had the Tupperware). Then, lastly, I put the frozen veggies (which I allowed to thaw for a little while on a paper towel, along with some drained pineapple chunks in the colander, so as to absorb any excess liquid) in a HOT skillet, THEN the chicken, THEN the fresh veggies for a total of 3-4 minutes. Stirring constantly, then adding the sweet ‘n sour sauce at the very last, tossing to coat.

• Here’s what I DID do:

– I opted to add fresh carrots & snow peas (both really cheap in the produce section)
– I used the store brand (Kroger) of sweet ‘n sour sauce
– I snapped the ends off the snow peas (I love snow peas) and rinsed them off. Setting them aside in the same bowl as the shredded carrot.
– I used canned pineapple ‘tidbits’ (why do I love that word so?) instead of chunks, because I don’t like huge chunks of things, whether it be pineapple or vegetables, in my stir-fry.
– I combined the pineapple juice from the tidbits and chicken broth, INSTEAD OF water, to cook the rice.
– I put the bite-size pieces of chicken in a Ziploc bag to marinate in some sweet ‘n sour sauce and minced garlic (cuz, I loves me some garlic, folks!), while I prepped all the veggies ‘n such.

And in the end, it all turned out perfectly; the vegetables were crunchy, the rice was fluffy and flavorful. My biggest fear with cooking stir-fry for the first time, was to overcook the veggies and have them come out soggy. Also, since I’ve never made Chinese food before, I wasn’t real clear on how to spice it. I pretty much left the flavor up to the veggies and garlic and it turned out fine.

I went online and Googledstir-fry‘ and ‘frozen vegetables‘, just to see the different ways in which people went about using them together. There was some debate over whether to defrost the veggies or not, and in the end, I opted to let them defrost for about 5-10 minutes. I thought they were fine. Besides, they added color and the real stars were the crunchy snow peas and strands of carrots.

If you try it, I hope you like it! I’m making it again tonight, because I think I may just be addicted! 🙂


1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

That sounds so yummy!

Comment by Cindi




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