This has become one of my favourite dishes to take work for lunch. It is easy to make, healthy and very convenient to eat. It is also comforting… It is probably miles away from the real thing, but it still tastes good enough to pass every foodie standard of deliciousness.
Sweet and sour chicken (adapted from Dave Myers and Si King’s The Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight)
- 1 x 425g/15oz can pineapple chunks in natural juice
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
- ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 medium onion, cut into 12 wedges
- 2 peppers, red, green, orange or yellow, deseeded and cut into chunks of about 3cm/1¼in
- 100g of Brazil nuts
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 25g/1oz piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
- freshly ground black pepper
To make the sauce, drain the pineapple in a sieve over a bowl and keep all the juice – you should have about 150ml/5fl oz. Put the cornflour in a large bowl and stir in three tablespoons of the pineapple juice to make a smooth paste. Add the remaining juice and 150ml/5fl oz water, then stir in the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, ketchup and chilli flakes until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
Cut each chicken breast into eight or nine even pieces. Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan or wok and stir-fry the onion and peppers for two minutes over a high heat. Drain the water chestnuts and cut them in half horizontally.
Add the remaining oil and the chicken to the pan and stir-fry for two minutes until coloured on all sides. Add the garlic, ginger, pineapple chunks and water chestnuts and stir-fry for 30–60 seconds.
Give the cornflour and pineapple mixture a good stir and add it to the pan with the chicken and vegetables. Stir well, season with some ground black pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook for 4–6 minutes until the sauce is thickened and glossy and the chicken is tender and cooked throughout, turning the chicken and vegetables a few times. Serve with a small portion of rice.
Everyday food with low calories… Not sure why Hairy Dieters claim this is a Spanish style, though. Probably is the chorizo and the roasted garlic… In any case, it is cheap and cheerful with delicious flavours, from the sweetness of the baked onion to the spiciness of the chorizo.
Baked chicken with chorizo and roasted vegetables (adapted from Dave Myers and Si King’s The Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight)
- 1 medium onion, cut in 8 wedges
- 1 medium red onion, cut in 8 wedges
- 500g new potatoes, quartered lenghways
- 8 whole garlic, unpeeled
- 8 medium tomatoes, quartered
- 75g chorizo, preferably hot and spicy
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken tights
- ½ teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 green pepper, deseed and cut into strips
- salt and pepper
Pre heat the oven to 200oC. Put the onions, potatoes, garlic and tomatoes in a large roasting tin and season with salt and lots of freshly grounded black pepper. Toss everything together lightly and roast for 20min
While the vegetables are roasting, skin the chorizo and cut the meat into thin slices. Put the chickens on a board and carefully slash each one 2 or 3 times with a knife. Season all over with black pepper. Mix the paprika and oregano together and set aside.
Take the roasting tin out of the oven, scatter the chorizo over the vegetables and turn everything a couple of times. Place the chicken on the top of the vegetables and chorizo and sprinkle with paprika and oregano. Return to the oven and adjust the temperature to 220oC. Leave in the oven for another 20min, or until the chicken is golden and crisp. Every now and again, take the tin out of the oven drizzle the juices over the chicken. As you eat, squeeze the garlic out of the skins.