Today I’m going to be showing y’all how to whip up a Snooseville variant of sweet and sour chicken. I was going to call it “What The Fuck Chicken” but that could easily refer to nearly any of my chicken recipes including my famous chicken fried Spam… This recipe came to me last night as I was searching for a duplicate of authentic Americanized Chinese restaurant sweet & sour sauce. I’ve made many different types of sweet and sour sauce but, being the simpleton that I am, I loves me some of that clear and simple sauce. I stumbled upon the easiest sauce you could ever hope for and one that you can make from what you have on hand. All it takes is water, sugar, vinegar, cornstarch, and red food dye. After mulling it over for a while, I rejected the idea of red, too conformist, and thought of green or blue as a way of sticking it to the man. Seeing as how I was fresh out of green, I decided on blue. Feel free to substitute green, yellow, or black. Anything but red. Red is far too unoriginal for us, right? Right! So, without further adieu (which I have plenty of), here goes nothing.
Sweet & Sour Blue Chicken
1 32 ounce bag of General Tso’s chicken or battered chicken
1 large onion
2 Sexy carrots
2 Bell peppers
2 Teaspoons minced ginger
1 Teaspoon minced garlic
1 Cup water
1 Cup sugar
¾ Cup white vinegar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch mixed in 3 Tablespoons of water
Peel the onion and cut into wedges. Peel the carrots and cut diagonally in thin slices. Seed peppers and cut into ½ x ¾ inch pieces. OR, get fancy and use a really small star shaped cookie cutter. I’m not joking. People love stuff like this. You can get a job cooking at the White House with this trick.
Mince ginger and garlic and place in a little dish.
Combine water, sugar, and vinegar and stir until dissolved.
I’m using a West Bend electric wok so I’ll be referring to my cooking vessel as a wok. You can use a wok, frying pan, maybe even a hubcap or gold pan. Whatever. I don’t care. You’re gonna do it no matter what I say.
Drizzle a teaspoon of oil into your heated wok. Dump in ¾ of the ginger and garlic. Stir it around for 5 – 10 seconds. Launch your carrots in and slap them around like my, err, a mouthy boyfriend for 60 – 90 seconds. Next, dump the peppers and onions in and go go go for another 3 minutes or so. Stop when the veggies are as crisp or as mushy as you like. Flip them into a bowl and set aside for now.
Now, get a firm grip on your chicken. I’m using frozen battered chicken because it’s what I have to work with and I’m lazy. If you want to cut up chicken breasts and dredge them in flour, be my guest. You obviously have a large amount of time on your hands so why not knit a sweater while you’re at it, smartass?
My chicken came with a packet of General Tso’s sauce. This sealed packet of communist aggression didn’t give up easily and had to be forced to surrender at gunpoint, pinko bastard! I banished the packet of dissent to the hinterlands of the freezer in a multicultural tryst with a package of frozen burritos. Adios, bitches!
Pour ¼ cup (2 ounces) of oil into your pan. I use peanut oil because it is domestically produced and does not support terrorism (unlike them fancy ass foreign oils…). For a real treat, replace ½ ounce (2 drachms) of the oil with sesame oil. Heat and toss in the remaining ginger and garlic. Dump the chicken in and stir constantly for 15 – 20 minutes. So long as it’s not pink and raw in the center you’re good. I like mine a bit crispy and brown so I’ll go for the full 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a container that DOES NOT contain the veggies. DO NOT let the chicken touch the veggies!
Pour the sauce mixture into the wok. Heat to a low simmering boil and stir until everything is fine and dandy. Now is where the blue (or color X) comes in. I only had ¾ of a tube of blue food coloring gel and used it all. I didn’t end up with nearly the depth of color that I wanted. I was going for something to gross out kindergarteners but ended up with something that Alice Waters would probably be cool with instead. Next time I’ll use liquid food coloring and have shitloads on hand. When in doubt, add more. With a recipe like this, which is totally asinine, go completely nuts and err on the side of recklessness. Who the hell is going to tell you screwed it’s up, huh? Of course it’s screwed up! You’re cooking with Foxfur!
Put on a pair of safety goggles and begin adding the cornstarch / water mixture. Be very careful!!! Many inexperienced cooks have suffered catastrophic facial burns requiring hundreds of hours of reconstructive surgery only to end up looking like Sharpei puppies hesitantly emerging from a food dehydrator. Don’t let this happen to YOU! The sauce will begin to thicken upon stirring the CS water into the sauce. Bear in mind that the sauce is hot and will appear thinner now than it will be when it is cool. If you add enough CS water, you’ll end up with something approximating brick mortar when it cools off. Or toothpaste like mine did. I didn’t care. It fit into my foodhole and stayed down. I win again! You can easily test the cooled thickness of the sauce by spooning a few drops on a cool plate or piece of aluminum foil. Let it cool for a few seconds and lick at it. Undignified? Yes. Most chefs are. Look at me.
Now grab your chicken and plunge it into the sauce. Mix it around in the sauce on low heat for a few minutes so that the sauce can work in and get all flavory like with it. Add in the veggies then fold, spindle, and mutilate. Pour the mess into a serving bowl or plate and prepare to disgust your guests.
Serve it on a bed of rice which may or may not have been dyed to a horribly contrasting color. Saffron rice, yellow, would be a good choice. The blue of the sauce should mix with the rice’s yellow and result in a sick-ass green streaked mess to grace the plate of your “friends” that you’ve invited to “dinner”, wink, wink.
Some final comments:
Cooking is not a science except in the case of cooking meth. You don’t want to fuck up on that. Recipes are mere guidelines. They’re the beginning of an adventure that only you will be going on and that only you can judge the success of. You wouldn’t pack a suitcase with only what a list told you to, would you? If you want to add pineapple to this recipe, fine. If you think your kids would like gummi bears in it, who am I to disagree? That actually sounds pretty awesome and will end up in a future recipe to be featured here. The only recipes where following the ingredient list and cooking methodologies are absolutely critical is when baking cakes and cookies. Nearly everything else is fungible. Get creative and use your imagination. The best recipes are the ones you’ll never find in a cookbook. They’re the ones passed around on 3×5’s by little old ladies in the back row of bingo parlors.
It’s just like life: Nothing exciting ever comes from following all of the rules all of the time.
Update: The General Tso sauce kicks ass on my Spam and Corn Fritters…