I always love recreating take-out favorites into a make-at-home meal, although I didn’t have much luck during my first-ever attempt. I had just moved into my first apartment after college, and I decided I wanted to cook pork fried rice for myself. From scratch. I found a recipe that looked “authentic” (what authority I consulted to make that assumption, I don’t know) and went for it. What I remember is dishes all over my tiny kitchen, ingredients in varied stages of preparation piled on top of one another, and enough pork fried rice to feed an army.
Luckily, I’ve streamlined my cooking a little bit (thanks to experience, and culinary school!) and know how to prioritize steps within a recipe–and how to scale it down if I’m cooking for less than, oh, twenty or so. What I’ve also learned is how to spot a good recipe, and how to adapt the recipe to make it more user-friendly (I’m still playing around with taking a “regular” recipe and turning it into an easy-peasy crock pot meal. I’ll be sure to let you know when I figure it out!). So, when I came across a recipe for Sweet and Sour Chicken, I knew there would be ways to customize it and make it my own, based on ingredients I had on hand, and steps I knew didn’t need to be there.
And so, I present to you, Sweet and Sour Chicken…
Sweet and Sour Chicken
To prepare the chicken:
1 lb. chicken tenders or stir-fry chicken strips
1-2 cups cornstarch
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine cornstarch, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add chicken and coat on all sides. Lightly brown both sides of the chicken in a saute pan (the chicken will finish cooking in the oven).
For the sauce:
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup vinegar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
4 Tbsp. ketchup
Add all of the ingredients to a small bowl and whisk together. You’ll get about a cup of sauce.
Put chicken in a glass oven-safe dish and add sauce. Turn chicken to coat all sides.
Cook the chicken in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, turning once. Cooking time will depend on the size of your chicken pieces and how thoroughly you cooked the chicken in the saute pan. Ours was done in the time it took to make boil-in-bag rice and steam some edamame. Arguably less time than it would take to have take-out delivered to our front door step!