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How to Chinese take out sweet and sour chicken breading?

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I have to admit that I love the chicken balls at Chinese takeout that you dip in the fluorescent red/orange sauce (please leave judgment aside :). I was just wondering I have never seen any other breaded food with a similar breading coat. How do they get the breading to puff up like it's a "jacket" on the chicken rather than adherent to it (think: standard fried chicken, fried fish, etc.)

Thanks.

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  1. I'm pretty sure most places use a batter, not a bound breading. A thick batter with a little leavening will puff when cooked.

    And takeout SS chicken is one of my "I don't feel well" comfort foods. My local place put canned pineapple in their sauce.

    1 Reply
    1. re: iluvcookies

      Ahh, yes. I was actually going to compare it to a thin pancake wrapped around the chicken which would make sense it being a batter.

    2. Adding leavening such as baking soda, seltzer or baking powder will make the batter puff in the hot oil.

      2 Replies
      1. re: JungMann

        Any quick breading/batter mixtures which would work?

      2. I make S&S Chicken quite a bit.

        This is for about 3 lbs of chicken strips or chunks, however you like them

        * 2 cups all-purpose flour
        * 3 cups pancake mix
        * 3 cups club soda
        * 1 tablespoon onion powder
        * 1 tablespoon seasoning salt
        * oil (for deep frying)

        1. Dip moistened chicken pieces evenly but lightly in the flour.
        2. Dust off any excess flour and allow pieces to air dry on waxed paper, about 5 minutes.
        3. Whip the pancake mix with the club soda to the consistency of buttermilk-- pourable, but not too thin and not too thick.
        4. Beat in the onion powder and seasoned salt.
        5. Dip floured chicken into batter and drop into 425F oil in heavy saucepan using meat thermometer.
        6. Brown about 3 minutes per side, depending on the size of your pieces.
        7. Arrange on cookie sheet in 325F oven until all pieces have been fried.

        Sweet & Sour Sauce

        1/2 cup packed brown sugar
        1 tablespoon corn starch
        1 can (13&1/4 oz) pineapple chunks
        1/3 cup vinegar
        1 Tbls soy sauce
        1 small green pepper, coarsely chopped

        Mix brown sugar and cornstarch in skillet. Stir in pineapple (with syrup), vinegar and soy sauce. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly; reduce heat. Cover; simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until sauce thickens to your desired thickness. Stir in green pepper. Cover and simmer for about two more minutes.

        1 Reply
        1. re: AngelaID

          Amazing, thank you. I assume this will give me the thick coating I'm looking for vs the adherent to chicken coating