This recipe for Sweet and Sour Chicken doesn’t deep fry, but instead uses a method for creating a delicate, smooth and succulent chicken that goes perfectly with a lighter sweet and sour sauce.
The secret is in the chicken marinade, specifically using egg white and cornstarch, which creates a super-light coating all around the chicken. It won’t be a crunchy, deep fried coating, but I think it’s a nice alternative, both texture-wise and weight-wise!
Just like the Shrimp Fried Rice, a very hot pan is essential to making this Sweet and Sour Chicken so that the chicken can sear quickly. Heat your frying pan until a bead of water will sizzle instantly and evaporate on contact.
Just flick a bit of water onto the hot pan and you should hear a “tssszzzaaaaa” as it hits the surface. If you don’t hear it, let it heat up a little longer.
For some stoves, especially electric stoves, it can take as long as 3 minutes to heat up to the right temperature!
Once the pan is hot, then you can add your chicken. But make sure that you keep the chicken in a single layer and do not crowd. If you crowd the chicken, they will just steam and not sear in the pan.
Another important tip to stir-fry is to have your meat at close to room temperature before cooking. This means leaving the chicken out to un-chill for about 15 minutes on the counter, which is the perfect amount of time for a short marinade.
If you add cold chicken to a hot pan, not only will it stick to the pan, but the heat of the pan will be so busy warming up the chicken that it won’t have a chance to actually sear the meat right away.
So how sweet and how sour? The beauty of this dish is that you can adjust at the end. Have a little taste of the sauce. Not sweet enough? Add a spoonful of brown sugar. Not tangy enough? Add a teaspoon of vinegar.
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