Sweet and Sour Chicken!
So, when I was a kid we would, from time to time, make a trip to a local Chinese food place. This was before the days of P. F. Chang, and gluten and basically everything. Once I was old enough to drive, it wouldn’t be unheard of for me to go to the same place and get the same thing. OK, there were several places I might go, but I almost always ended up with the same dish until I was in my 20’s. Sweet and Sour Chicken or pork depending on my mood… After that, I might go wild and have General Tso’s Chicken, but the Sweet and Sour was always there as a possibility. This pattern continued in college once I found the appropriate Chinese restaurant in town. My favorite had a fountain in the dining room… and many interesting evenings were spent there with friends.
Now, since going gluten-free my options for Chinese food are a lot more limited. That makes me sad, because I always loved it. Realistically, I know that this kind of thing is something I am easily capable of doing, but I never really tried it until today. Next time I might make a few adjustments, but it was good, and pretty close to what I expected. I’m pretty sure it is not particularly a traditional Chinese dish, but it is how I was exposed to Chinese food, and I would imagine I am not the only one.
I found this recipe in a book called Chinese Cooking The Food and the Lifestyleand, then adjusted it slightly to make it safe and also to use what I had or could buy.
2 Tablespoons of soy sauce (I used San-J gluten-free tamari.)
1 Tablespoon of sake (I know, sake is Japanese. Chinese rice wines are harder to find!)
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil or sesame oil
Just put the chicken in a bowl and toss with this mixture and allow to sit for 30 minutes or so. The chicken won’t get breaded like we all always had before, but it is fine. You could make a tempura batter with rice flour and deep fry it if you just have to have that element. Trust me though, this is good, and probably healthier! If you do make the tempura you’ll need to drain the chicken and then try to get it as dry as possible. Otherwise the batter won’t stick.
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
6 Tablespoons ketchup
2 Tablespoons soy sauce (Again, San-J GF tamari)
Heat the vinegar and sugar in a small pot until the sugar is dissolved. Add the ketchup and soy sauce, and mix well.
Next we’ll deal with the veggies.
1 small onion cut in large dice 3/4″ across or so
1 or 2 carrots thinly sliced on the bias
1 bell pepper cut the same size as the onion
In a second bowl
3 green onions finely sliced
1 clove garlic minced
So, now we can put the whole thing together! Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or if you have a wok use it! Saute the chicken in the large skillet until it is nearly cooked through, and remove from the pan. Wipe it clean and add a little more oil. Then saute the ginger, scallions and garlic until fragrant. This might take a minute. Add the rest of the veggies and saute them until they start getting tender. Return the chicken to the pan, and cook until the chicken is cooked through. Then add the sauce to the pan. Serve over rice and enjoy your trip down memory lane! I know I wish I had some chopsticks!