Doesn’t it seem like some days just get away from you? I thought I was ahead of the dinner game when I managed to pull a bag of chicken out of the freezer to defrost, and cooked a pot of rice and quinoa while my daughter was busy helping stir the pumpkin into the egg mixture for the Libby’s Pumpkin muffins we were baking.
Instead, my daughter won’t take her afternoon nap and at 6 PM, she was fussy and I still haven’t a clue what was for dinner except that there was rice and quinoa, and the boneless and skinless chicken thighs were defrosted.
I’ve been wanting to use the green beans I got earlier in the week from Costco so I Googled ‘chicken green bean recipes’ and thought a green bean and chicken casserole that came up looked tasty. But it’s getting much too late to be attempting to make cream of chicken soup from scratch since I didn’t have any on hand so I pinned it for another night.
Does Pinterest come with a warning label? It’s a dangerous place for me when it comes to time management. I’m not sure what happened after I pinned the recipe but I ended up looking at shrimp recipes when I had no shrimp in the house, just defrosted chicken and a picture for sweet and sour shrimp looked really delicious.
While the term sweet & sour often conjures up an image of something fried and drenched in a bright red or orange sauce for some, it really can mean any flavor profile with both a strong sweet and a strong sour component. The sour notes can be from vinegar, or tart fruits such as tomato, kiwi or pineapple, or sauces such as ketchup for example, and the sweet component can be from different types of sugar, sugar substitutes such as artificial sweeteners, honey, agave nectar, fruit preserves, syrup, etc.
Any of those variations are almost always well received by this family. The balance of sweet and sour can be adjusted easily to your preference and works well with other spices on meats, seafood and vegetables. Sweet and sour sauces are probably higher in sugar content so that might be something to consider if it’s important to you or your family.
By now, I think my daughter is hungry enough to eat anything so I just need to get food on the table quick. I push away my phone and think. The ketchup shrimp we had a few weeks ago was quick and easy to make and was wildly popular with my kiddo so maybe the sauce would translate well to chicken?
Garlicky (Sweet & Sour) Ketchup Chicken
Adapted from one of my favorite sites for Cantonese recipes: The Hong Kong Cookery
1 lb chicken (I used boneless and skinless thighs that were already marinated to taste with a mixture of salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder)
1/2 tbsp oil
1/2 cup chicken stock (I used white grape and peach juice since I know the chicken we have on hand was accidentally over salted when it was marinated)
3 tbsp ketchup
3 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp Shao Hsing Rice Wine
1 tbsp garlic, crushed
1 tbsp soy sauce
Optional: vegetables of choice
- Brown chicken on both sides, then add stock, cover, lower heat and cook until juice runs clear and until centers are no longer pink, approximately 20 minutes. About halfway through, I added approximately three cups of frozen vegetables (organic broccoli, red pepper, mushroom & green bean stir fry mix) and some browned vegetarian sausages as meat substitute for me.
Remove chicken, vegetables and any liquid from pan.
- In the same pan, heat oil with crushed garlic at low temperatures until fragrant and garlic is slightly browned but not burnt.
- Add remaining ingredients (ketchup, sugar, Shao Hsing Rice Wine, and soy sauce) and liquids from chicken and cook until sauce is thick enough to coat chicken.
- Add back chicken, and vegetables if added, to sauce and mix and cook just a few minutes until well mixed
To save time, I used frozen vegetables and the chicken was marinated and frozen the day we purchased it a week ago so there was almost no prep time. I crushed the garlic in one of the serving plates so I won’t have to wash the cutting board.
Also, I didn’t need to add any oil but depending on your pan, add oil ~2 tbsp. to brown chicken. I am probably super annoying because I rave so much about my Anolon pans, but once I discovered that I did not need to add any oil to brown meats, even skinless chicken, I was in love. LOVE. My sister brought me the set from Macy’s as a gift after she fell in love with her pans and now my mom and brother both have sets in their kitchens too. Look how nicely the skinless chicken browned without any oil added:
My daughter enjoyed this dish so much that she ate the leftovers for the lunch the next day when normally having the same meal in succession is a big no-no in her books. Sweet and sour saved dinner (and lunch)! Maybe give this recipe a try – and let me know if you liked it.
So, does your family like sweet and sour as much as ours? What is your favorite sweet and sour recipe?