BAKED SWEET & SOUR CHINESE CHICKEN


Chinese-style chicken with pineapple chunks and red bell pepper tossed in a sticky sweet & sour pan sauce and served over rice. The chicken is baked instead of fried, a trade-off that makes it easier, less messy and a lot quicker without sacrificing on taste.

Ingredients:

Chicken:
  • olive oil, for greasing the pan and sauteing
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • coarse salt and fresh black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Sauce:
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine or white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

For the saute:
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1 + 1/2 cups fresh or canned bite-size pineapple chunks, drained

Slurry:
  • 1 + 1/2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

For Serving:
  • white sesame seeds, for optional garnish
  • cooked brown or white rice, for serving

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a large baking sheet from edge to edge.
  2. Add the chicken to a large bowl, season with salt and pepper, toss well. Sprinkle with half the cornstarch, toss then sprinkle with the remaining half and toss again (it will get thick and sticky).
  3. Use tongs to place the chicken on the baking sheet, close together but not touching, once you set them down don't move them. Bake until cooked through the center, 8 - 14 minutes depending on their size.
  4. While the chicken cooks:
  5. In a medium mixing bowl whisk all the sauce ingredients together. Set aside.
  6. In a large skillet or wok heat a tablespoon of oil over medium-low heat and cook the bell pepper, stirring often, until tender. Add the garlic and ginger, cook until fragrant about 2 minutes.
  7. Add pineapple and sauce, turn heat up to medium, stir to coat and let cook 2 minutes. In a small bowl whisk the cold water and cornstarch together to make the slurry. Mix it into the sauce.
  8. Turn the heat back down to low. Use a thin metal spatula to scrape the cooked chicken up off the pan and add it to the sauce. Toss to coat well and keep tossing until a glaze starts to form - about 2 minutes. Don't cook much longer than that or the sauce will reduce down too much and the flavors may become too strong. Remove the pan from the heat. Let set 5 minutes to thicken up further.
  9. Sprinkle the chicken with sesame seeds and serve over rice.

 
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