Chinese food is one of my favorite things. There's a Panda Express in the student union at my school and it's darn hard to resist it when I'm walking across campus during lunch. Suddenly my turkey sandwich and carrots seem really really really sad.
So sometimes I cave. And I always order chow mein with orange chicken. And it's yummy.
But a while back I had a thought - what if you made a similar dish but used pineapple flavors instead? Good things, that's what.
I'll admit, the first time I tried to make this it wasn't very fantastic. It wasn't gross. It just wasn't amazing either. So I spent some time pondering the recipe and tweaking it, throwing it out, starting over, and then came up with a craving-worthy version.
First you want to marinade your chicken in milk, red pepper flakes and paprika. Not for very long, about ten minutes. While you're waiting, preheat a pan with about 1" of oil covering the bottom over medium heat. Also, put some flour into a bowl along with plenty of salt, pepper and more paprika.
Good fried chicken needs to be seasoned every step of the way.
Don't you love this awkward camera angle? I was in the frying zone and didn't realize it until later.
Anyhow, take the chicken and double batter it: dip it into the flour then dip it back into the milk marinade and then once more into the flour. Gently place each battered piece into the hot oil. Cook for about 3 minutes and flip; continue cooking until cooked through.
Don't overcrowd the pan while you're frying. I did about three batches for only two chicken breasts. If you crowd the pan, the oil will cool down too much.
All I could think about while frying the chicken was Minnie teaching Celia how to cook in The Help movie. This is sooo much fun!!!
While you're frying the chicken whip up a easy sauce of pineapple juice, red pepper flakes, a few drops of sesame oil, ground ginger, honey and water.
Bring the sauce to a boil and allow it to boil while your chicken is cooking. It should reduce down a bit. Then, right before you're ready to serve the chicken, whisk in 1 tsp. cornstarch and cook the sauce for another minute so it can thicken.
Then you just pour it all right over the lovely fried chicken.
And eat! I served mine over brown rice and sauteed spinach.
I'm pretty sure the spinach and brown rice make it healthy. I hope so. I ate quite a bit of that chicken.
2 chicken breasts
1 cup milk
1 tsp. paprika
2 pinches red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups flour
Lots of black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
dash ground ginger
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp. honey
4 drops sesame oil
1 tsp. cornstarch
Cut chicken into pieces, about 1" square. Place the chicken in a bowl with milk, paprika and red pepper flakes. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes.
Pour vegetable oil into a large skillet or pan until it is just about 1" deep. Preheat the oil over medium heat. Oil is ready when a bit of flour dropped in bubbles up immediately.
Dip each piece of chicken in the flour mixture, then back into the milk, and once more into the flour mixture. Shake of any excess flour and gently place the chicken into hot oil. Allow it to cook for about 3 minutes per side or until cooked through. Cook your chicken in batches so it doesn't cool the oil down too much.
Meanwhile, pour all the sauce ingredients, except for cornstarch, into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and maintain the boil while the chicken continues to cook.
Once the chicken is cooked, whisk cornstarch into the sauce. Cook it for about a minute, just until it thickens a bit and then pour it over the fried chicken pieces. Serve over rice and enjoy!