Stir fried chicken with ketchup

chicken and ketchup 2

For those of you who read my last post and dismissed it out of hand because of the ridiculously long list of ingredients, I bring you another chicken and rice dish with very few.

I know that stir frying with ketchup does sound a bit odd but I promise you that it works and the taste/effort ratio is very good. My husband (who hates ketchup and gave me an evil look when I told him what was for dinner) was extremely surprised by how tasty it was. In essence it’s a cheat’s version of sweet and sour chicken and it apparently has the same Manchurian origins.

This Mark Bittman recipe is from the Cooking section of the NY Times online which is fast becoming my favourite lunchtime read. I’ve converted the cup measurements to grams, and added my usually ramblings (in brackets), but have changed little else about the recipe.

Mark Bittman’s stir fried chicken with ketchup

Serves 2-4

  • 680g of boneless chicken, which is roughly three breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks (Mark uses dark meat but I prefer whiter meat for quick cooking)
  • About 60g of flour, plus more as needed
  • 4 tablespoons of neutral oil like groundnut
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of slivered garlic (roughly 6 large cloves)
  • ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 225g ketchup (I used my favourite Polish Pudliszki ketchup – which they sell in Tesco)

First, toss the chicken with flour so that it’s lightly dusted. Put 1 tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick frying pan and turn the heat to high. When the oil smokes, add your chopped chicken in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. (For this amount of chicken with a 23 cm based frying pan I needed to cook the chicken in two batches to avoid over-crowding the pan).

When the chicken browns on one side, toss it over and cook until just about done (for me this was 5 minutes). Remove to a plate (and cook the second batch of chicken with an another 1 tablespoon of oil). Turn off the heat and let the pan cool for a moment.

Add the remaining oil to pan (2 tablespoons) and turn the heat to medium high. Add the garlic and cayenne pepper and cook (for about a minute until the garlic browns slightly, stirring all the time so that it doesn’t burn).

Add the ketchup and stir. Cook until the ketchup bubbles, then darkens slightly (this took me 3 minutes, if in doubt have a taste, if the sauce still tastes like ketchup then keep cooking, when it’s ready it will taste completely different – caramelised and sweet with just a hint of sour).

Return the chicken to the pan and stir to coat with sauce. Serve with rice (I used my usual Delia method with the addition of two star anise – for the recipe see my post ‘Nice Rice’).

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