When I first moved out onto my own (in what feels like a thousand lifetime’s ago now), I had a roommate who loved cooking as much as I did. Back then she was 6th grade teacher (now a principal) and I did the majority of the weeknight cooking. She had a career whereas I had a job. On the nights or weekends she did the cooking, I was always in for a treat. We cooked very, very differently. My dishes were heavily seasoned Mexican or Italian (as they still are), whereas hers were more Americana. But one night I was treated to her version of Sweet n’ Sour chicken. I have been making it ever since. It’s been almost 20 years and I have modified and adapted her original recipe over time, but clearly, I owe this post to her.
Asian food and I have a deep relationship. I grew up in Little Saigon in Southern California. I could eat fresh, authentic Vietnamese food that was all around me and or simply enjoy Panda Express at my local mall. My ‘Asian’ palate tends to gravitate towards Southeastern Asian flavors versus East Asian. This could be due to exposure. More opportunity to eat Vietnamese or Cambodian food instead of Korean or Japanese. My skills in the kitchen in regards to making authentic Asian foods are still developing. But my American palate loves the “authentic” food court flavor of this dish. I mean that with all sincerity, not in jest.
This is not the most diabetic or even gastric bypass friendly recipe, with all the sugar, but it is definitely tasty and worth the calorie budgeting for the day.
3-4 chicken breasts; cubed
1-2 garlic cloves; grated/minced
1 large green pepper; diced (or 1 small green and 1 small red)
2 carrots; diced
1 large onion; diced
1 cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup ketchup
1 cup brown sugar; firmly packed
½ tbsp soy sauce
¼ tsp black pepper
Salt; to taste
4 tbsp corn starch
1 can chunk pineapple; juices reserved
Heat a deep skillet with olive oil, add cubed chicken seasoned with salt and pepper; cook. Once cooked, set aside. In same skillet using a small amount of olive oil add, bell peppers, carrots, garlic and onion and quickly sauté. Cook and set aside. In same skillet, add apple cider vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, black pepper, and brown sugar; mix well. Open pineapple, drain juice into another bowl, reserving pineapple for later. Add cornstarch to pineapple juice, whisk until smooth. Slowly add the pineapple juice/cornstarch mixture to the sauce cooking in the skillet, taking care that it is thoroughly combined. Add veggies, chicken, and pineapple; mix well. Heat until bubbly. Serve over warm rice.
The sauce could be made without meat and veggies for use in other applications like dipping egg rolls or as a glaze over pork. Endless options.
**if you like it really tangy, add ¼ cup of apple juice to the sauce during the final stage.