Will you believe me if I said that the breast of a 900-gram chicken can feed three people? My 12-year-old and 11-year-old daughters and I had this for lunch today. It is still basically the classic Chinese sweet and sour dish. However, instead of pork, I used the deboned meat of a chicken breast.
There was a popular cooking show years ago called Wok with Yan, a Canadian production. The cook, Stephen Yan, had a unique approach to cooking meat. Stretch the meat, he used to say, to feed more people. When he said ‘stretch’, he meant it literally. He would pound the meat to flatten it then slice it thinly to come up with more pieces. Then, he would stir fry the little meat with a variety of colorful vegetables. Darn, he really was good.
Anyway, with the summer heat and all (I complain too much about the summer heat, don’t I? Well, it is so darn hot), it isn’t advisable to cook anything in large quantities. Leave a cooked dish on the table and chances are that it will spoil before the end of the day. And this is especially true with vegetable dishes. Put them in the fridge and the constant reheating will ruin the vegetables. So, the best thing to do really is to cook in small quatities–just enough for a meal. And that was what I did with today’s lunch. I also decided to depart from the usual by adding garlic to my sweet and sour chicken fillets.
breast of one chicken
1/2 c. of flour
1 c. of cooking oil
1 tsp. of finely minced garlic
1 tsp. of finely minced ginger
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 small bell pepper, cored, deseeded and cut into thin strips
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into rings
8-10 pieces of chicharo (snow peas or snap peas), ends and sides trimmed
1/8 c. of vinegar
1/4 c. of sugar
salt and pepper
2 tbsps. of tomato paste
1 c. of water
1 tsp. of tapioca or corn starch
1/2 tsp. of sesame seed oil
Cooking procedure :
Debone the chicken breast. Insert and slide your thumb between the bone and the meat to separate them then pull off the meat. Cut into strips (how large depends on your preference). Season with herbed salt then dredge in flour.
Heat the cooking oil in a skillet or wok until it starts to smoke. Add the chicken pieces, separating them. Cook until golden. Drain on paper towels.
Pour off the cooking oil until only about a tablespoonful remains. Reheat. Saute the garlic and ginger together. Add the rest of the vegetables and stir fry (over high heat) for about 45 seconds.
Stir together the water, tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper to taste and the tapioca or corn starch.
Return the chicken pieces to the skillet or wok and pour in the sauce. Stir until the sauce thickens and clears.
Turn off the heat and drizzle the sesame seed oil over the cooked dish just before serving.
This meal is good for three people.