SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN WITH STEAMED RICE
Cooking a quick meal with the minimum of pans is one of the fall backs I turn to when time is of the essence. With the AGA non-stick aluminium pans washing up could not be easier, so clearing up is done in no time!
Sweet and sour dishes combine the elements of taste; sweet, sour, salty, bitter and the umami or savoury flavour. Although we think of sweet and sour chicken coming from China it is thought it probably originated in the China towns of the USA, where Chinese dishes were altered to cater for the western palette. Sweet and sour chicken is now found on the menu of almost all Chinese restaurants in the West.
This recipe consists of stir frying the main ingredients, then adding the sauce and is served on a pillow of steamed rice. It is colourful and tasty.
The AGA cast aluminium wok is heated before stir frying so the chicken strips brown quickly. The handle is removable, so useful to pop the body of the pan into the oven to keep the finished dish warm. Indeed many owners of the traditional AGA like to do the preliminary heating of the wok in the oven to cut down on cooking time on the Boiling Plate. The wok heats up quickly and evenly, being cast aluminium it is lightweight and easy to handle. The three layers of non-stick finish makes washing up a doddle, a wipe over in hot soapy water and that’s it!
The same benefits apply to the AGA cast aluminium saucepan, which I used to make the steamed rice accompaniment. Steaming rice in the AGA Simmering Oven is so easy, measure the water into the washed basmati rice, bring to the boil, stir, cover and into the oven for 20 minutes – result perfect separate grains, no sticking to the pan
Rice and water.
Boil and stir.
20 mins later.
When making up the main sweet and sour chicken, as with any stir fry or frying I use the AGA Splash Shield to protect the Boiling Plate lining from fat splashes. A quick wipe of the top plate after cooking means that any splashes here do not bake on and therefore would be more difficult to remove later.
The secret of stir frying, apart from the right pans, is to get the ingredients ready beforehand, as the cooking process is quick. Start the rice first then tackle the stir fry.
SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN WITH AGA STEAMED RICE
- 300g free range chicken fillet, about 3 small ones
- 2 tsp rape seed oil
- 2.5cm (½ inch) root ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 bunch spring onions, sliced diagonally (save a few for garnish)
- 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
- 435g can pineapple pieces, in natural juice
- 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp malt vinegar
- 1 tbsp clear honey
- 2 heaped tsp cornflour
- AGA Steamed Rice
- Few slices of spring onion
Cut the chicken into thin strips. Heat the oil in the AGA wok on the Boiling Plate. Add the chicken and ginger and cook until browning. Add the onions and pepper, stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Drain the pineapple and reserve the juice. Add the pineapple pieces to the chicken.
Mix the sauce ingredients together, in a basin, with the reserved pineapple juice. Pour over the chicken and stir until the sauce has thickened. Serve over a bed of steamed Basmati rice, garnished with spring onion slices.
For perfect AGA Steamed Basmati Rice - Place 225g washed Basmati rice into an AGA saucepan with 350ml water and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil, stir and transfer to the floor of the Simmering Oven for 20 minutes (AGA60 owners use the floor grid). Remove from the oven, fluff up with a fork and serve.