I don’t want to offend any of the Chinese restaurants near my house but this Sweet & Sour Chicken was the best I’ve ever eaten.

I love making Asian dishes during the workweek because they fry up quickly and make delicious leftovers. I have to forewarn you though, my brain completely escaped me when I made this.

Let’s count the ways. The first ingredient is red wine vinegar. In my mind, I saw rice vinegar to which I said, “I don’t have that. Hmm, I’ll substitute cider vinegar.” I have red wine vinegar! (The recipe still tasted amazing, perhaps a bit more sour but I loved it. Phew.)

Secondly, I thought I would reduce measuring time by utilizing my two-tablespoon measure as opposed to the one. Except, I stopped thinking and put 6 tablespoons of ketchup into the sauce instead of 3. (Once again, still delicious!)

So, I deem this recipe fool-proof. Make the real version and let me know how it is! Or, apply my substitutions and enjoy that as well. I don’t know which version I’ll make next.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

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6 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or cider)

1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice, drained, 6 tablespoons juice reserved

6 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons ketchup (or 6)

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon cornstarch

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 can of water chestnuts, drained

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

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Whisk vinegar, reserved pineapple juice, sugar, ketchup, and cornstarch in bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.

Add half of chicken and cook, stirring often, until no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Transfer to plate and repeat with additional 1 tablespoon oil and remaining chicken.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and cook red bell pepper and water chestnuts but bell pepper is tender, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add pineapple chunks, garlic, and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add vinegar mixture and chicken to skillet and simmer until sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve with rice.

Serves 4

Adapted from: Cook’s Country June/July 2007

What’s your favorite Asian dish?

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