Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Re-imagined Sweet and Sour Chicken

As is so often the case, I don't think about what to have for dinner until about an hour before dinner should be served and my tummy is already starting to grumble. I want something filling and delicious, but I'm not so keen on putting in the effort to make an elaborate meal. I was having just that experience the other day and found myself riffling through the pantry and fridge looking for some combination of ingredients that might make a tasty dish.

One of the items I stumbled across in the freezer was a bag of Kahiki Foods Sweet and Sour Chicken. Kahiki packages their breaded chicken chunks so that they don't become soggy, and their vegetables are always nicely crisp. Best of all, they package the sweet and sour sauce separately, so one has the option of using a little, a lot, or none at all. In my case, I don't have much of a sweet tooth and would prefer a more savory sauce, so I opted to leave it out and make my own.

I also discovered one cup of leftover jasmine rice in the refrigerator, so I decided to turn this meal into a fried rice dish. Although the amount of vegetables in the package was ample, I thought it would be good to build up the meal even more with some chopped onion and carrot, along with some frozen peas and corn.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I'm not a fan of green bell peppers. Red, yellow, orange - perfectly fine, but there's an unripe quality about the green ones that I don't care for. The sweet and sour chicken package has quite a few of the green chunks in there, so I picked them out. If you like green bell pepper, then by all means leave them in.

The resulting dish was flavorful and filling. The pineapple added just the right amount of sweetness and acidity to balance the savory sauce. Also, the meal was made in about the same time as ordering and waiting for Chinese take out. As a bonus, I still have the sweet and sour sauce packet in the freezer that I can experiment with for another dinner.

***Don't forget - if you want to try Kahiki Foods for yourself, leave a comment on the post linked here and you can win three vouchers worth a combined $22.***

Re-Imagined Sweet and Sour Chicken

For the sauce:
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons zhenjiang (black or Chinkiang) vinegar
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon hot broad bean paste (doubanjiang)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon cornstarch

For the stir fry:
1 carrot
1 medium onion
1 cup pre-cooked jasmine rice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bag Kahiki Foods sweet and sour chicken
1/4 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup frozen peas
3 spring onions chopped (for garnish)

Chop the carrot into thin strips about an inch long. Slice the onion into half rings. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan over high heat before tossing in the carrots, onion, and rice. Mix together and let fry until the onions start to caramelize and the rice turns slightly golden, stirring occasionally.

While the carrots, onion, and rice are frying, assemble the sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisk until everything is completely incorporated. Set aside.

Once the carrots, onion, and rice have reached the proper state, add the chicken and vegetables from the Kahiki package along with the frozen corn and peas. Stir together until the frozen vegetables are warmed up. Add the sauce and fully incorporate. Cover the pan with a lid and lower the heat to medium so the chicken can heat through, about 5 minutes.

Chop the white and some of the green parts of three spring onions. When ready to serve, sprinkle the spring onions over each serving for garnish.

Serves 4.

* Any products in this post that are mentioned by name may have been provided to Minxeats by the manufacturer. However, all opinions belong to Minxeats.

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