The secret to this dish is to make your own sweet and sour sauce without starch. That way the sauce forms a light caramelized crust that coats every piece of chicken and pecan. Get the recipe for sticky sweet sour chicken with pecans and peas!
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Sticky Sweet Sour Chicken With Pecans and Peas

Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword fried
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Marinating time 30 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 3
Author Connie Veneracion

Ingredients

For the fried chicken fillets

  • 4 to 6 chicken thigh fillets cut into half inch strips
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

For the sweet and sour sauce

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 bird's eye chili thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

To complete the dish

  • cooking oil for deep frying
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch or corn starch
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup pecans toasted in an oil-free pan
  • 2 small shallots thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup sweet peas

Instructions

Marinate the chicken

  • Place the chicken strips in a bowl. Add the garlic, soy sauce and pepper. Mix well.
  • Cover the bowl and let the chicken marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Make the sweet and sour sauce

  • While the chicken marinates, make the sauce. Place the sugar in a small, thick-bottomed pan (sugar will burn if the bottom of the pan is too thin).
  • Pour in the rice vinegar. Stir in the ginger, chili (if using) and salt. 
  • Set the pan over high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Adjust the heat to medium-low and cook the sauce, uncovered, until reduced and syrupy. Depending on your stove and pan, this takes anywhere from 10 to 12 minutes. Tip: Don't wait until the sauce is too thick. It thickens as it cools. Once the sauce has thickened and lightly coats a spoon, turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove.

Fry the chicken

  • In a wok or frying pan, heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of at least three inches.
  • Dump the starch in a large mixing bowl and pour in a three tablespoons of icy water to make a pourable paste. If the mixture is to thick and lumpy, add more water, a tablespoon at a time. The paste should be thick enough to coat the chicken strips but not so thick that the chicken coating is thicker than the chicken.
  • Add the chicken to the starch solution and mix.
  • When you see fine wisps of smoke hovering on the surface of the oil, it's time to start frying. Drop in the starch coated chicken strips, one at a time. Fry the chicken in batches to make sure that the pan is not overcrowded. It takes only about four to five minutes for each batch to cook.
  • Drain the chicken on a rack.

Complete the dish

  • Pour off the oil from the wok leaving only a tablespoonful.
  • Reheat the oil and saute the sliced shallots just until translucent.
  • Add the peas and pecans to the shallots and toss to heat through.
  • Dump the chicken back into the pan and toss.
  • Turn off the heat. Pour in the sweet and sour sauce. Toss to coat every solid ingredient.
  • Serve the sticky sweet sour chicken with pecans and peas immediately.