Chicken & Pineapple Stir-Fry With Sweet-and-Sour Sauce

by Anne Bennett on May 24, 2010

Sweet-and-sour stir-fry is a popular Chinese take-out dish, but most often it’s a deep-fried concoction of breaded pork or chicken in an overly sweet, sticky sauce. Too bad. It has such potential: fruit and vegetables combined with either chicken, pork or shrimp in a tangy sauce that you can make spicier with the addition of crushed red pepper flakes (which, as you can see from the photo, is what I did).

Chicken breast, fresh pineapple chunks, red bell pepper and red onion.

Chicken breast, fresh pineapple chunks, red bell pepper and red onion, generously sprinkled with crushed red pepper

This recipe, like the one before it, is adapted from Cooks Illustrated. Their Asian recipes are fairly easy to prepare because they call for fewer out-of-the-ordinary ingredients. This does not mean, however, that they are not authentic.

Each Cooks Illustrated recipe is scrupulously tested, and each one usually provides a lesson or two in how to cook. In this instance, they show us how to add garlic and ginger to a stir-fry without burning it. (Rather than cooking the garlic and ginger in an empty pan before everything else, you add it to the vegetables after they have been cooked. Less time in a hot pan means less chance of scorching.)

3/4 lb. boneless, skinless, chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 t. reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 t. dry sherry
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. grated fresh ginger
2 green onions, white part only, finely minced
4 t. vegetable oil
1/2 red onion, halved and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 cups fresh pineapple, but into 1″ pieces
1 recipe Sweet-and-Sour Sauce (below)
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste

Toss chicken with soy sauce and dry sherry and set aside. In another small bowl, combine garlic, ginger, green onion and 2 t. oil.

Heat 1 t. of the oil in a nonstick skillet or wok until hot. Add chicken and stir-fry until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Place in a clean bowl.

Add the remaining teaspoon of oil to the pan and add the onion and bell pepper. Cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the pineapple and continue to cook until heated through, another minute.

Make a well in the center of the pan and add the garlic/ginger mixture. Allow it to cook until it is fragrant, about 45 seconds, and then stir it into the vegetables. Add the chicken. Whisk the stir-fry sauce to recombine it and add it to the pan. Bring to a simmer, toss all the ingredients to coat with the sauce. Serve immediately.

Sweet-and-Sour sauce

1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup orange or pineapple juice
1/3 cup sugar
3 T. ketchup
1 t. cornstarch
1/2 t. salt
Crushed red pepper flakes (optional, but these make it spicy/sweet/sour)

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate. This sauce can be made ahead and will keep for several days.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Rice Palette May 25, 2010 at 11:44 am

This sounds delicious, definitely would want to try this one out.. I really do like dishes with pineapple in it!

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Zackary Negro November 21, 2012 at 2:16 am

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William Riden November 21, 2012 at 3:10 pm

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