Recipe: Spicy Pineapple Chicken

First, I must apologize for not including pictures in this post as  I prepared this recipe a while ago.  A friend requested that I post this recipe so she can try cooking it herself because she really liked it.  This recipe was adapted from a member of an online forum that I frequent so I tried it and it tasted pretty good.  Most of the ingredients above have suggested amounts because I don’t measure very much when I’m cooking – I tend to add ingredients and spices until I feel like it has good flavor.  I understand everyone has different pallets and preferences, so I suggest you do the same so it is exactly perfect to your liking, not mine.  Also, adjust accordingly depending on how much you’re making.

There are two main components to this dish, the chicken itself and the spicy pineapple sauce.  The tricky part about this recipe is to time the two components correctly so that you’ll finish both around the same time.  Not including the prep time for chopping and cutting all the ingredients, the sauce will probably take around 15 or 20 minutes while the chicken takes about 5-10 minutes to cook depending on how thick the chunks are and how much chicken you have.  I suggest starting the pineapple sauce first and get everything settled for that component, and then begin the chicken 10-15 minutes later.

Ingredients:
Oil (vegetable or olive – vegetable if you are deep frying the chicken)
About 4 cloves of garlic, chopped (more if you like more garlic flavor)
About 3 green onions, chopped
1 can Dole sliced pineapples with pineapple juice
About 2 tbsp sriracha (or other chili sauce) (adjust amount for spicy preference)
About 2 tbsp rice vinegar (preferred, but not needed if you don’t have it on hand)
About 3 tsp sugar
About 1 tsp soy sauce
Water and cornstarch
2 Boneless chicken breast, cut into cubes or strips depending on preference

    Preparing the Spicy Pineapple Sauce:
    You will want to prepare this in some type of pot.  A medium-sized noodle pot perhaps, depending on how much you’re making, since it is a liquid sauce.  You’ll also be placing the chicken into the pot toward the end.

    1. First, chop the garlic and green onions.
    2. Heat some oil in the pot at high heat and sautee the garlic and green onions to really bring out the taste of those ingredients.
    3. When the garlic has a good brown to it, add the pineapple juice, sriracha, rice vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce and mix well together.   Do not add the pineapple slices at this time because you don’t want it to get too soggy and mushy.  Also, the sriracha gives it a good kick so if you don’t like it that spicy, don’t put too much sriracha in it.
    4. Cut the pineapple into chunks (I like slicing them into 1/8 cubes).
    5. When the mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat down to a low simmer, mixing regularly.
    6. If you want to get the sauce thicker, mix a tiny bit of water with cornstarch in a separate bowl and pour into the sauce.  Bring it back up to a boil before turning it down to a simmer again.  The cornstarch acts as a thickening agent, but you don’t want to just pour corn starch into the sauce because the cornstarch will just clump up into little cornstarch balls in the sauce.  The more cornstarch you mix with the water, the thicker your sauce will become.  I recommend doing this at least once or else your sauce will probably turn out too watery and it will be hard to coat the chicken.
    7. About 10 minutes into the simmer, you can add the pineapple chunks into the sauce.  Bring it back up to a boil at medium heat and then reduce to a simmer once again (probably about a 3 on the stove setting).
    8. Don’t forget to mix regularly.  Also, taste regularly to make sure you like the flavors and consistency of the sauce.  If you don’t like it, adjust the ingredients to make sure it fits your preferences.  If it is too spicy, either add a little water + cornstarch or add some sugar.  You could also add some honey, which would also help thicken the sauce.  In fact, even though honey is not in the actual ingredients, I would consider adding it anyway — I think it would give it a great sweetness and help thicken the sauce a bit too (haven’t tried this though).

    Preparing the Chicken:
    To prepare the chicken, you can either stir fry it or deep fry it in oil.  Although it does taste slightly better if you fry it and it’ll capture more of the pineapple sauce later, it is a lot simpler to just stir fry it in a wok.  Assuming you have already cut the chicken into cubes before starting the sauce, I would start cooking the chicken after placing the pineapple chunks in the sauce.

    • To deep fry it, heat a lot of oil in a wok, coat the chicken breast cubes with either flour or cornstarch, and then carefully place the chicken into the oil and let it fry for a few minutes until all the way cooked through.  You don’t want to place too much chicken into the oil at once because it’ll significantly bring down the oil temperature and your chicken won’t cook through.  Therefore if you choose this method, you’ll need to cook the chicken in batches.
    • To stir fry, marinate the chicken cubes in a little bit of soy sauce and cornstarch, head some oil into the wok, and cook through.  Really simple compared to deep frying it, right?

    Putting it All Together:
    When your chicken is done, your sauce should just be about done as well.  Depending on the size of the pot used to prepare the sauce, you can either place the chicken into the pot of sauce, or you can pour the sauce into the wok where you stir fried the chicken.  Either way, once the two are mixed together, let simmer at low heat for a few minutes so the chicken can absorb some of the juices as well as let the sauce coat the meat.  Next, you’re ready to eat!  This sauce also goes great with white rice.

    I know the recipe sounds a bit complicated when written out, but it really isn’t.  Obviously the chicken is very straightforward, and the sauce can be a little challenging at first but there actually aren’t too many components to it.  Just remember to taste it and make sure you like what you’re tasting – that’s the most important thing.

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    About eatingwithderek

    Just a guy eating his way through life.

    5 comments

    1. shellyinreallife

      i remember one time, i tried a recipe for sweet & sour chicken with kyle hanagami (so yes, this was a long time ago! lol) and it turned out to be a disaster! i will have to give this a go and test it out =)

    2. Hey, great blog…but I don’t understand how to add your site in my rss reader. Can you Help me, please 🙂

      • eatingwithderek

        Hi Tnelson,

        Thanks for the support! What rss reader do you use? In the welcome box to the right, there is a link for the RSS reader feed. Clicking on that will take you to the feedburner site giving you options on how you want to subscribe (google, yahoo, etc).

        If you prefer the original old fashion way, then when you’re at that feedburner page, click on “View Feed XML” right under the options and it will take you to my RSS feed.

        Finally, if you’re using mozilla firefox, you can simply click the RSS Feed icon inside the web browser address bar to go directly to the RSS feed. Unfortunately I am not sure how to do it with other web browsers such as Internet Explorer.

        Hope this helps and thanks for your support.

    3. Hey, I found your blog while searching on Google your post looks very interesting for me. I will add a backlink and bookmark your site. Keep up the good work! 🙂

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