Sweet and Sour Chicken & Rice / Ku Lou Yok / 甜酸鸡 : Recipe

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Thursday, 23 July 2009 2 comments

Sweet and Sour Chicken (Ku Lou Yok)
Serves 4 hungry men

This is a hybrid version of Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken, not quite the usual western take-a-way take on it, where it is often served as an appetiser, though not either quite the full Chinese experience either.

It is a filling and delicious meal that will leave everyone wanting more. Sweet and Sour Chicken is equally good with Pork making it 'Ku Lou Yok' and is enjoyable whilst sharing many dishes, or on its own as the main meal when served with rice. I like to serve this with lots of vegetables and steamed rice as a whole meal.

Prep time: 30mins
Cooking Time: 15mins

You Will Need:
700g Chicken (or Pork if preferred)
500ml of Vegetable Oil (For deep frying)
250g Pineapple Chunks (Drained if in juice)
8tbsp Cornflour
2 Red Onions
2 Carrots
2 Red Chillies
1 Cucumber
2 Tomatoes
4 Cloves Garlic
2 slices of ginger

For Marinade:
2tbsp Soy Sauce
1tbsp Rice Vinegar
1tbsp Sesame Oil
Ground black Pepper

For Sweet and Sour Sauce:
4tbsp Tomato Ketchup
2tbsp Brown Sugar
2tbsp Plum Sauce
2tbsp Rice Vinegar
1tbsp Water

To serve:
300g Long Grain Rice - Steamed (Long-grain rice - 1 cup / Water - 1.5 cups)

To Cook:

1. Prepare the marinade for the Chicken; Mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil with a pinch of black pepper. It does not look like much but will cover the chicken. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and place in the marinade.

2. Leave the chicken in the fridge to marinate for 25 minutes whilst preparing vegetables, garlic, ginger and chillies. Take out the cucumber and tomato pulp so that the veg is crunchier.

Now is a good time to wash off the excess starch from the rice. This will prevent it from making a sticky mess. Put the rice in a deep bowl, and in your sink, run cold tap water over it. Once the bowl is full of water, use your fingers to swish the rice around. The water will start getting murky. Now gently pour this water out. Repeat this process until the water is mostly clear. This will take at least 4-5 washes. Now fill it up one last time. Do not wash the rice again. Just leave it in there, covered with water, for about 20 minutes or so, so you can put the rice in to start cooking as you start to fry the chicken.

4. Coat the marinated chicken in cornflour, ensuring that the chicken is covered in, as much cornflour as possible, do not be scared to get your hands dirty. The better you cover the chicken pieces, the better this batter will work.

5. Add the rice now to a pan (please make sure for steamed rice, it is a flat based pan and you have a tight lid) of boiling water, one and a half times the quantity of the dry rice. (1-cup rice, 1 1/2-cup water.) Resist the urge to lift the lid and peek at the rice. Let it cook for 15 minutes on a low setting, and when ready leave to stand for 5 minutes with the lid on before serving. This should be enough time to complete the rest of the meal.

6. Heat the oil in the Wok hot enough, ready to deep-fry the chicken pieces. Put the chicken pieces in, and fry until golden brown. Drain the oil off the chicken pieces as you take it out and place it in a bowl ready for later.

7. Leave enough oil in the Wok ready to stir fry all the vegetables. Place the chopped garlic and ginger into Wok, and fry until aromatic. Then add cucumber, tomato, carrots, chillies and onion for a couple of minutes.

8. Pour in tomato sauce, plum sauce, vinegar and 1 tbsp of water, stir-fry until mix well and thick, if not think enough, add cornflour until it is thick enough.

9. Add the fried chicken back to the Wok and add the drained Pineapple chunks. Add sugar and salt to taste, and get ready to serve your tasty Sweet and Sour Chicken, with your lovely steamed rice.

Serving suggestion:

Serve with Steamed Rice in a bowl, or let everyone share from the middle of the table.

How about trying this same recipe with Pork Loin instead of Chicken?

Meal as I serve it...

Leave it for everyone to serve themselves...

And get ready to enjoy your Sweet and Sour Chicken...

Recipe Adapted from:
Rice Tip adapted from:

Liu Biolin: The Camouflaged Man

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin 0 comments

A Chinese artist named Liu Bolin has taken street art to hidden depths. After having his studio pulled down, he decided to take his personal sculptures to the people. When performing often people do not notice him until he moves and is about to leave.

He said the inspiration behind his work was a sense of not fitting in to modern society and as a silent protest against the Government's persecution of artists.

Liu says this type of work takes a long time to perfect and often will study photos and pose for 10 hours at a time to get each scene just right.

Bolin graduated from the Sculpture dept of Central Academy of Fine Arts in Shanghai.

Chinese Pinyin Vowel Table

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin 0 comments

In Chinese pinyin, the most popular Romanisation style (now that the Wade Giles [link] system has been shown to be less helpful to Westerners learning the language) has six vowels, though each vowel has five potential ways of being written depending on the tone of the syllable and the positioning of the vowel itself.

Table of Chinese Pinyin Vowels
a á ā à ă
e é ē è ě
i í ī ì Ǐ
o ó ō ò Ǒ
u ú ū ù Ǔ
ü ǘ ǖ ǜ Ǚ

I have included a table below because of the difficulty I have had initially finding these written down. I hope they will be of use to you as well when writing Chinese Mandarin in the pinyin form.

I will write here much more about tones and syllable structure in Mandarin as time goes on, and interlink the posts.

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