Friday, September 14, 2007

Sweet and Sour Stew

Today, my siblings and I made a kind of sweet and sour stew. My middle brother was the chef, I was the sous-chef, and the others helped when they felt like it (wimps!). Since the recipe is comparatively healthy (compared to what? -- he he), and since I find it yields good results, I thought I would post it here.

The amounts provided reflect the amounts we used in making dinner today (i.e. the finished product can feed seven or eight people). Needless to say, however, the amounts can be changed according to taste and according to the number of people to be served.

Without further ado, then, the ingredients required are:
1kg of chicken breast or pork or (preferably) a combination of both
6 bell peppers
6 fresh plums
1 jar/can of plums (about 680g including juice)
2 cans pineapple chunks (about 1130g in all, including juice)
2 lemons
100g tomato paste
125g butter
75mL soy sauce
4 tbsp corn starch
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp salt
2 cups rice (to be cooked alongside the stew)
some more salt for the rice
These are the pots we used:
1 large pan (for the meat)
1 medium-sized pan (for the bell peppers)
1 medium-sized pot (for the rice)
1 large pot (for the stew, excluding the meat)
1 braising pan (functioned mainly as a serving dish)
. . . and this was our procedure:
- cut the bell peppers into pieces (about an inch square)
- cut the fresh plums into quarters
- extract the juice of the two lemons
- cut the meat into bite-sized(?) pieces
- put a little over half the butter in the large pan and heat it over medium heat
- put the rest of the butter in the medium-sized pan and heat it over low/medium heat
- when the butter is sizzling, put the meat in the large pan, and put the bell pepper pieces in the smaller pan
- stir both occasionally
- when the meat is cooked, mix in the soy sauce
- let the soy sauce soak into the meat for a while, then put *only the meat* in a covered dish (e.g. the braising pan) and keep it warm in the oven (at about 150°C)
- pour the juices and soy sauce from the big pan into the big pot
- add the fresh plums to the big pot
- simmer the plums until they are nice and soft
- add the jar of plums and the pineapple chunks to the big pot
- when they have been heated and softened, add the lemon juice, tomato paste, sugar, and salt
- after the mixture has simmered for a while, add the cooked bell pepper pieces
- mix the corn starch with water so that it forms a relatively fluid paste
- add the corn starch mixture to the big pot, stir well
- when the stew has perceptively thickened, pour the contents of the big pot over the meat, and serve with the cooked rice
There you have it! The preparation is time-consuming, but it's fun if you have one or two people helping you. Besides, the resulting meal is hearty and delicious. :o9


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