I love Chinese food. I admit it, I love greasy, bad for you, comes in little cardboard containers (which seems weird, but it wouldn't be Chinese without those containers), yumminess! Now while I'd prefer take out, because hey who doesn't? I also enjoy making my favorites at home whenever possible. And I have to say this comes pretty darn close! Now my sauce isn't as red as the sauce from your local take out place, because I refuse to add any more artificial stuff to my homemade cooking as possible (seems to defeat the purpose of making it at home...), but you could totally add some food coloring if you wanted a more authentic looking sauce. But taste wise, I gotta say this was pretty much right on! And yes I am aware that this is not the worlds most healthy recipe, but hey it's gotta be better than actually getting take out right (you can let me live in my delusional world can't you? Join me there if you want to! Come on... You know you want to!)? Ok, I won't pester you with my ramblings any longer, because honestly you have to try this recipe out!
Ingredients: this makes 4-6 servings
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup white sugar (can reduce a 2-3 tablespoons for a less sweeter taste)
3/8 cup pineapple juice
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (for a thinner sauce reduce to 2 tablespoons, if you want an very thick sauce use 4 tablespoons)
3-4 large chicken breasts, cubed
3 large egg whites
1 cup cornstarch
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
3 cups canola or vegetable oil
1/2-2/3 cup pineapple tidbits
3/4 cup diced bell pepper (I like a combo of orange, yellow and red)
2-3 cups cooked rice
To make the sauce; in a saucepan combine the first 5 ingredients until combined. In a cup or bowl whisk the pineapple juice with cornstarch until smooth and well blended, then whisk vigorously into the ketchup mixture; bring to a boil stirring or whisking constantly over medium-high heat until bubbly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue simmering and mixing until thickened (be patient the sauce takes a few minutes to thicken up). At this point you can remove it from heat and set aside, or you can throw it into a 2-4 quart crock pot and keep it warm. Then once the chicken is done, throw it all together in the crock pot and it will stay warm til served, plus the chicken will absorb more of the sauce's flavor.
To make the chicken coating, place the egg whites in a pie plate and whisk until frothy. In a second pie plate combine the cornstarch, baking soda and cayenne pepper; whisk to blend. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Place half of the chicken pieces in the egg whites and turn to coat. Transfer the pieces to the cornstarch mixture and coat thoroughly, shaking off the excess. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.
To fry the chicken, heat the oil in a 11- or 12-inch round Dutch oven or straight-sided sauté pan until the oil reaches 350˚ F. Carefully place half of the chicken pieces in the oil and fry until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes, turning the pieces halfway through cooking. Remove from the oil with a skimmer or slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Return the oil to 350˚ F and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces. Once done add to the sauce along with the pineapple and peppers, I like to put mine in my small 2 quart crock pot and let it stay warm, then serve on rice.
This was such a delicious meal. The chicken was just perfect, juicy, tender but not overly greasy. And the sauce with the veggies and the pineapple is a wonderful compliment to it. I very highly recommend you give this a try, especially if you're like me and love take out, but can't afford to eat it as often as you'd like. 5 stars.