Thursday, 30 January 2014

Sweet & Sour Chicken

Sometimes even I need a little inspiration when it comes to cooking... You know where you're in that mood when you've NO idea what you want for dinner? The Facebook page is a great source of inspiration for me lately, and people are always asking me to come up with healthy ways of making their favourite dishes..

I haven't had Sweet & Sour Chicken in.... I've no idea how long... but it was probably around the time that I stopped poisoning my body with sugar. Didn't you realise that Sweet and Sour sauce is pretty much sugar? Now don't get me wrong... yeah sugar tastes good, but should you really be eating it for dinner? Definitely not... 

I've said a few times that there are no limitations to what you can eat when you choose to eat good food... a little creativity goes a long way... 

So traditional Sweet & Sour sauces use pineapple juice & a LOT of brown sugar to give it that recognisable sweet, caramel-like flavour... 

Pineapple juice contains a lot of sugar... and yes, I know it's natural sugar but it's sugar all the same & is going to cause a massive insulin spike.. Solution??? The obvious one would be to use honey instead of brown sugar & stick with the the pineapple... But.... I've a better idea... 

For the Sweet & Sour sauce:

  • 3 tbsp organic tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard 
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened apple purée (peel & chop a cooking apple & microwave with 1 tbsp water until mush basically!) 
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (lime would work too)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • sea salt 
  • a little water to thin the sauce out 

Throw all the ingredients into a food processor & pulse until smooth and well combined. 

Set aside until needed. 

For the chicken:

Traditionally, the chicken is coated in corn starch to form a crispy coating when it's cooked... Not today it's not... 

I wanted the chicken to have a distinctive flavour, with a light crisp coating... 

  • 1 tsp Keen Almond Butter (any brand is fine... but this is my favourite!)
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • water
Mix the first 4 ingredients together, then water a little at a time to thin out the batter.. it should be pretty thick to coat and stick to the chicken.

  • 1 large chicken breast

Toss the diced chicken pieces in the almond batter until well coated. 

I love coconut oil... I really do, but sometimes I find the coconut flavour doesn't work in certain dishes... Bacon fat however.... 

  • 1 piece of smoked streaky bacon
  • 1 celery stalk/red onion (red onion would be great here because of its sweet flavour)
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

Start by cooking the bacon in a pan. Once the fat has softened a little, you'll have your fat for cooking everything else in... 

Add celery/onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 2/3 minutes until fragrant. 

Next add your chicken pieces over a pretty high heat. By sealing the outside quickly, the almond batter goes a little bit crispy. 

Lower the heat after 2 minutes & add any vegetables you fancy (I used broccoli, mushrooms & bell peppers).  

Finally stir in the sweet and sour sauce, and leave to simmer over a low heat for 10/15 minutes. This will allow everything to cook thoroughly & thicken the sauce... if you prefer a thin sauce, then just add a little water. 

Taste the sauce as you go along... you may prefer more of a sweet or sour flavour so you can play around with the ingredients as you cook. 

I served this with cauliflower rice, and I've gotta say... It was pretty delicious & got major thumbs up from my resident taste testers too :) 

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