If there's one thing that the London restaurant scene is lacking in my opinion, it is good Chinese restaurants. No matter which part of town you're in, you're bound to find fantastic Thai places, good Indian restaurants, if you're lucky not even an anglisized curry-house, but real modern Indian cuisine. Delicious. Chinese and Japanese restaurants are more of a problem to find, you either have the likes of Nobu, where you can easily leave a week's salary behind (I am exaggerating, of course, but you catch my drift!), or have to put up with mediocre fare... I might just have been unlucky so far, so if you people out there know better, please let me know!
I got the following recipe for crispy sweet & sour chicken from my mum, she's not Chinese, as you might have guessed, but she's got an Asian food shop just 'round the corner from her and the owner always has a suggestion or two on hand. I don't make this very often as I have a somewhat disturbed relationship with my deep-fryer, I find it uses far too much oil which then goes to waste, so this is the first time in three years that I have taken it out of the garage. We had some precious moments yesterday though and the chicken turned out really yummy!
Crispy sweet & sour chicken
(serves 4 with a good appetite)
For the chicken:
800 g chicken breast
2 egg whites
4 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
potato flour for coating (ca. 200 g)
grapeseed oil for frying
For the sauce:
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 medium onions (roughly chopped)
1 green pepper (cut in 2 cm pieces)
1 red pepper (cut in 2 cm pieces)
½ pineapple (ca. 250 g after peeling and coring, then cut into 2 cm cubes)
500 ml sweet & sour sauce (I used Wing Yip Cantonese style sauce)
500 g basmati or jasmine rice
Clean the chicken breasts and cut into 2 - 4 cm cubes. Put the ingredients for the marinade in a tupperware container with lid, lightly beat with a fork and add the chicken. Shake the container so all the chicken pieces are evenly coated, then leave to infuse for 20 to 60 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the sauce. Heat the sesame oil in a wok, fry the onion in it until starting to brown, add the peppers, cook for another 3 minutes, then add the pineapple. Turn off the heat and pour the sweet & sour sauce over. Set aside until almost ready to serve. Prepare the rice to packet instructions.
Heat the grapeseed oil in your deep-fryer or a deep frying pan. Drain the chicken pieces from their marinade and coat evenly in potato flour. Fry in batches, for 5 minutes, then keep in a warm place until ready to serve.
When the chicken and rice are done, re-heat the sauce and serve immediately. I do not combine the chicken with the sauce until serving, so that it retains all its crispiness.