Last month, I wrote about a staple of American cuisine, the french fry. This week is another staple of American Cuisine, albeit a slightly different type of American Cuisine. Think quick delivery, that strangely alluring smell of plum sauce, and deep-fried snacks. Chinese-American Cuisine, of course! Specifically a SCD
SCD Sweet & Sour Chicken.
To make this recipe, we’ll use a sturdy, normal shaped, multi-use, common stainless-steel pan (carbon steel and cast iron are great choices as well). It can retain high heats well and is a basic item that almost every kitchen has.
SCD Sweet & Sour Chicken
Yield: 4 servings
Serving Size: 1.5 cups of stir-fry
- Chicken Breast, chopped into ½” cubes 1 each
- Red Onion, chopped into ½” cubes 1 medium
- Red Pepper, chopped into ½” cubes 1 large
- Zucchini, chopped into ½” cubes 1 large
- Fresh Ginger, minced or microplaned 2” root
- Garlic, minced or microplaned 4 cloves
- Fresh pineapple, rough chopped 1 cup
- Frozen is fine too!
- Navel Orange, skin and pith removed 1 large
- Get as much of the pith off as possible. Don’t fuss too much over it.
- Apple Cider Vinegar ¼ cup
- Safflower oil ¼ cup
- Sesame Oil 1 tbsp
- Salt as needed
Method of Prep for SCD Sweet & Sour Chicken
- Gather all your prepped ingredients together before starting. The goal here is to have the dish done in 10-15 minutes, so everything needs to be prepared beforehand.
- In a blender, puree the orange, pineapple, and apple cider vinegar until a smooth puree has formed. Reserve the sauce.
- Place your stainless steel pan over medium-high heat and let it pre-heat for 3-4 minutes without anything in the pan.
Chef’s Note – Here is a great time to use the leidenfrost effect to your advantage! Add a small bit of water to your pan (just a few drops) and watch. If the water boils away immediately your pan is not hot enough to cook without being sticky. If the water runs over the hot steel like a marble or an amorphous blob, but doesn’t evaporate for quite a while, then you have a pan ready to sear.
4) Add your oil to the pan and then immediately add the chopped chicken. Season with salt and let the chicken sear for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Remove the c
hicken from the pan at this point.
5) Once removed, add the vegetables, ginger, and garlic to the pan and saute for 2-3 minutes until they are just barely tender.
6) Add the chicken back to the pan, and then pour the puree over the pan and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Chef’s note – The important aspect here is that the sauce thickens so it clings to the meat and vegetables. 5-7 minutes is a rough estimate, but you want to look for a thick enough sauce that it will coat the chicken when you pick a piece up from the pan while still hot.
You want to see a darkening of the color of the sauce. This denotes that a) the pineapple and orange are beginning to caramelize (and develop tasty complex flavors) and b) the chicken was seared well and created lots of little brown crusty bits of flavor that the sauce is now picking up while being stirred.
6) Once the puree has reduced to a thick sauce that coats the meat & veg, rather than acting as a pool that remains in the pan when you remove the meat &
veg, you are ready to serve! Spoon it on to a plate and drizzle with a light amount of sesame oil before eating!
Hope you enjoy your delicious SCD sweet & sour chicken, and if you’d like to add a tasty dessert to your meal, check out our lemon curd recipe.