This weekend I had the strangest craving for sweet and sour chicken. Growing up, we ate various sweet and sour dishes: fish, pork, beef and chicken. I never really cared for them though, which is why my sudden craving for it felt out of place.
While experimenting with this dish, I also solved the problem of keeping the fried chicken pieces crispy even after they’ve been sitting out and drenched in sauce. I’ve been struggling to find the solution for a while, but finally found one that worked. These fried chicken pieces stayed crunchy for hours.
The answer? Vodka. Serious Eats recently experimented with General Tso’s chicken in its latest Food Lab edition. Kenji discussed that adding vodka to the breading would make the chicken pieces more crunchy. He actually did more than add vodka, but I thought I’d try only adding vodka to my egg whites and see if it helped and it did.
I’m really happy with how this turned out. As you can probably guess, once I start on an obsession, it usually lasts for a stretch of time, and right now my obsession is chicken. Hopefully you guys aren’t sick of my chicken recipes.
Sweet and Sour Chicken
- 1 lb boneless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- egg white of 1 extra large egg
- 2 tbsp vodka
- vegetable oil for frying
for the sauce:
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 Tbsp light sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 3 tsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water
- Heat oil in wok or other pot being used for frying to medium-high heat. Make sure you have at least 1 inch of oil in your pot. Whisk vodka and egg white in a small bowl. Place cornstarch in a separate small bowl. Dip chicken pieces in egg white and then coat in cornstarch. Gently place into heated oil and fry until golden brown. Work in small batches until all of the chicken is fried. Place finished chicken pieces on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up excess oil.
- In a small saucepan, heat all sauce ingredient except cornstarch and water and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly with a large wooden spoon. Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Pour into boiling mixture and stir until sauce boils and thickens. Add chicken pieces into saucepan, until they are all coated. Remove and serve on plate, pouring on top any extra remaining sauce. Garnish with fresh scallions if desired.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.