Sweet and sticky: Donal Skehan's Sweet & Sour Chicken
A simple Chinese-inspired dish with a bit of retro charm! Tender chicken wrapped in a sticky sauce with an acidic bite from rice wine vinegar makes for a delicious alternative supper! This same recipe can made with pork or prawns and is equally as tasty.
Sweet and sour chicken
You will need
4 free range chicken breasts
1 tbsp of rice wine
1 tbsp of light soy sauce
1 green pepper, cut in 1-inch squares
1 red pepper, cut in 1-inch squares
6 spring onions, finely sliced
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp cornflour
Sunflower oil for frying
Boiled rice to serve
For the sauce:
300ml of chicken stock
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp of salt
4 tbsp Chinese white rice vinegar
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tsp cornflour
2 tsp water
Dice the chicken into 1-inch cubes. Combine with the rice wine and soy sauce in a bowl and leave to marinade for 20 minutes. In a clean bowl, whisk together the egg and cornflour until evenly combined resulting in a smooth batter.
Coat each piece of chicken in the batter and then shallow fry in a frying pan filled with 2 inches of sunflower oil over a medium heat, until they are golden brown and cooked all the way through. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper.
For the sauce, in a medium saucepan over a high heat, combine the chicken stock, soy sauce, salt, rice vinegar, caster sugar and tomato purée. When the mixture reaches the boil, lower the heat slightly and add in the peppers and spring onions. Cook for 4 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
In a small glass or cup, mix together the cornflour and water and then add this to the saucepan.
Add in the fried chicken and then mix through to heat. Serve while still hot with boiled rice.
Chinese New Year
With Chinese New Year fast approaching, you may want to take part in some of the festivities happening around the country. In Dublin there is everything from ribbon ceremonies, dragon dances, martial arts displays and even karaoke, so there is something to suit all tastes! But what really caught my eye is the selection of cookery demos planned to showcase traditional cuisine and recipes.
Ultimate Fried Rice
I love fried rice and you can really pump it up with healthy vegetables when you make it at home. Heat 1 tbsp of sunflower oil in a large frying pan and stir-fry off 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 finely chopped chilli and a thumb-sized piece of grated ginger for 1 minute. Add in 2-3 finely sliced spring onions, 2 thinly sliced carrots and sliced red pepper and stir-fry for a further 3 minutes. Stir through 1 tsp of sesame oil, 1 tbsp each of soy sauce and Thai fish sauce over the heat for 1 minute. You can then add in cooked ham, chicken or beef and a handful of frozen peas. Add in 300g of leftover cooked and cooled rice and mix to combine. Make a well in the centre and pour in 2 whisked eggs. Allow to set briefly, then, working quickly, stir the egg and quickly incorporate the rice from the sides until everything is combined. Cook for 2 minutes then serve straight away in a big bowl for a quick and tasty dinner.
M & L Chinese
M & L Chinese on Cathedral Street, just off O’Connell Street in Dublin, is a true hidden gem. What sets this place apart is authenticity — it offers up traditional, excellent quality Asian cuisine. It’s received rave reviews and even made the McKenna’s Top 100 Restaurants. Head along for yourself to see what it’s all about, but be warned — there’s not a 3-in-1 in sight!