Last night was a stay at home date night with the hubs. I wanted to make Sweet and Sour Chicken because it’s one of our all-time fave Chinese food dishes. However, I was hoping to make it a little healthier than the usual recipes because we have been eating way too many unhealthy things lately. I didn’t want to sacrifice flavor either, so with that in mind, I wanted to try and create a version that would give me the same taste but without all the fat. The recipe below is what I came up with. Not only is it healthier, but it’s less mess (no breading the chicken and frying it) and less kitchen time (because it cooks in the crock pot!)
The only item to really take into consideration were the peppers, which I knew couldn’t be thrown in at the beginning of cooking time or they would turn to complete mush by the time the dish was done cooking. I stuck them in at the same time I stirred everything up in the crock pot (when it only had an hour or so left to cook) and it worked quite well! My tastebuds were convinced they were eating the real thing, but my butt and thighs were happy that I wasn’t.
Also, I mention this below in the instructions, but will note it here as well. A while back when Ilya and I were shopping at Trader Joe’s, one of our items was their frozen mandarin chicken (a fried-type of chicken that you bake and then add the mandarin sauce it comes with, so it’s kind of like orange chicken you would order out from a Chinese food restaurant). Anyone who has ever shopped at Trader Joe’s knows how friendly their cashiers are, and how they always make conversation. On this particular occasion, our cashier make conversation by telling us about how we should make mashed potatoes to serve the mandarin chicken on instead of rice. You probably just made the same face I made when first hearing this. It sounds so weird/gross! But this guy insisted not only was it delicious, but it was even better than eating it with rice. We thought he was nuts, obviously, and did not try this strange method. But then every time we were in there and he was working, he’d ask us if we tried it yet and kept insisting it was the greatest discovery ever. Eventually, we figured we would at least try it out once. What’s the worst that could happen? We don’t like it and so we don’t do it again? Well, we didn’t have to worry about that. Oh my goodness, was this guy ever right!! I don’t know what it is, but the texture, flavor, everything is a million times better! It should be noted that we used creamy mashed potatoes that were mashed with milk and butter (ok, so there goes the healthy thing a bit, but it still can’t be as bad as if the chicken were fried). We love this serving method now for many Asian chicken food dishes (sesame chicken, orange chicken, sweet and sour chicken, etc). Seriously, it’s SO good! I know you will probably be like us and doubt this strange-sounding idea’s validity, but I do hope you’re in a trusting/daring mood and give it a whirl. It will completely change your chicken-dish-Chinese-food-eating world forever.