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Culinary SOS

A Sweet, Pungent Shock

September 26, 1996

DEAR SOS: Of all the Chinese restaurants that offer "sweet and pungent" (chicken, shrimp, etc.) dishes, the best version of this sauce I have found has been at the Oriental Seafood Inn in Marina del Rey. I haven't been able to replicate it at home and wonder if the chef might be willing to share the recipe with you.

--JOHN

DEAR JOHN: Ready for a shock?

ORIENTAL SEAFOOD INN SWEET AND PUNGENT CHICKEN

FRIED CHICKEN

1 1/2 pounds chicken pieces (breast, wings, thighs or drumsticks) or 1 pound boneless chicken

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Salt, pepper

Oil

Bone chicken and discard bones. Cut meat into strips. If using boneless chicken, cut into strips. Season cornstarch with salt and pepper to taste. Dredge chicken pieces in cornstarch mixture.

Heat enough oil for frying in skillet until very hot. Add chicken pieces and fry until browned and crisp on all sides. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Keep warm.

SWEET AND PUNGENT SAUCE

1 1/2 cups water

2 tablespoons tomato sauce

2 tablespoons steak sauce

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon red food color

1 teaspoon yellow food color

Combine water, tomato sauce, steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and salt. Bring to boil and simmer until mixture is slightly thickened. Stir in red and yellow food colors until well distributed. Pour over fried chicken pieces to serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

172 calories; 670 mg sodium; 50 mg cholesterol; 10 grams fat; 7 grams carbohydrates; 13 grams protein; 0.04 gram fiber.

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