We live in the same block as a Chinese restaurant, but I can’t remember the last time we ate there. I am not sure exactly why—the food is good. Perhaps it’s because we default to eating a home cooked meal rather than ordering in even on hectic nights. Also, when we do go out we may stay in the neighborhood, but we tend to venture a bit farther than a 30-second walk from our place.
Sweet and sour chicken is one of J.’s favorites, and he mentions it whenever we pass by this Chinese restaurant. After all those not so subtle hints, I finally made sweet and sour chicken for dinner the other night using chicken thighs I had stashed away in the freezer. With all the ingredients cut and in arms-reach of the wok, this stir-fry was ready faster than take-out and full of flavor.
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 whole pineapple, peeled, cored, cut into 1-inch pieces, 1/4 cup juice reserved
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
Cooked white or brown rice for serving
Combine the cornstarch, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and toss the chicken into the mixture coating evenly.
For the sauce, whisk the brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, rice vinegar and pineapple juice in a small bowl.
Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat and add the chicken. Cook the chicken until it has browned and is almost cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the chicken from the wok and transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining oil to the wok. Sauté the white parts of the scallions with the ginger and garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the peppers sautéing until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the pineapple, chicken and sauce simmering until it has thickened, about 2-4 minutes. Toss in the scallion greens and serve with rice.