The best Pineapple chicken from the famous New York City Chinese restaurant Xian Famous Foods
Pineapple Chicken
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serves: 2
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  • 5 ounces (140 g) boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 11⁄2-inch (4 cm) pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon Shaoxing cooking wine, divided
  • 1/3 cup plus 1⁄4 teaspoon (48 g) cornstarch, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 2 cups, (480 ml plus 1 tablespoon) vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) ketchup
  • 2 inch (5 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 3⁄4-inch (2 cm) squares
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 3⁄4-inch (2 cm) squares
  • ounces (100 g) canned pineapple cubes, (if using a fresh pineapple, carefully remove and cut the flesh into 3⁄4-inch/2 cm cubes; reserve the shell)
  • 1 green onion, white part only, cut into slivers


  • Tenderize the chicken by lightly beating it with the blunt edge of a knife. This improves the texture and lets the seasoning sink into the meat.
  • In a medium bowl, add the chicken along with 1⁄4 teaspoon of the salt and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the cooking wine. Mix well to combine.
  • In a small bowl, make a slurry by combining 1⁄3 cup (45 g) of the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water to form a paste. Mix in one direction to combine. Add 1⁄4 teaspoon of the vegetable oil and stir to combine.
  • In another small bowl, add the remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon cooking wine, along with the sugar, white vinegar, and ketchup. Mix evenly in one direction. This is your sweet-and-sour sauce.
  • In a large skillet, pour in the 2 cups (480 ml) vegetable oil and set over medium heat. Make sure the slurry is not settled by stirring it in one direction. Right before the oil reaches the smoking point (about 400°F/200°C, or when you see it start to shimmer), dip each piece of chicken in the cornstarch slurry and then carefully place into the oil. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan, working in batches if necessary.
  • Cook the chicken on one side for 1½ minutes, flip over, and cook for another 1½ minutes. Remove to a plate. Repeat until all of the chicken pieces are fried.
  • In a small bowl, add the remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon cornstarch along with a splash of water to make a second slurry. Stir in one direction to combine.
  • Heat the oil once more over medium heat until just below smoking point (about 400°F/200°C, or when you see it start to shimmer). Return the chicken to the pan, working in batches if necessary, and cook until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • In another large skillet that can hold all of the ingredients comfortably, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over high heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute, or until tender. Add the sweet-and-sour sauce and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the bell peppers and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the pineapple, green onion, and fried chicken and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the second slurry you made and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 1 minute, then serve.
If you have a pineapple shell, spoon the chicken into the hollowed-out shell for a fun—if kitschy— presentation. Moms love that stuff.
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