Food & Drink Magazine

Sweet And Sour Chicken Balls . . . Combo Number Nine Part Deux

By Mariealicerayner @MarieRynr
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 Following on from yesterday's post on a Chinese Combo Plate Number Nine, here are the delicious Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls which went along with the Beef and Broccoli which I cooked for us the other day.  If you go to a Chinese Buffet (in Canada at least ) these are the first things to disappear!  Followed closely by the won tons and the chicken wings!
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I  have been making these delicious Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls since the late 1970's, which reminds me of a really funny story about them.  Haha funny, not the other kind.  My ex used to love these chicken balls and I often made them for him.
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We had an electric deep fat fryer which I used to cook them in, and I used to use a paper grocery sack to shake them in and get rid of any excess fat when they were done.  One night I was making some of these for a snack.  (When you are in your early 20's you can eat almost anything for a snack without gaining weight.  Well we could at any rate.  We often made a pizza or a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese as a snack in the evening.)
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I had just shook them in the paper sack when the young lad from a couple of doors down came in.  We used to organize teen dances with him for charity, and  I can remember him standing in the kitchen talking to my ex and knocking the ashes off the end of his ciggarette into the paper sack holding the chicken balls . . .  and of course I was so shy and hesitant in those days I didn't have the courage to tell him what he was doing.  So my ex did not get his chicken balls that night at any rate!
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This was the same young lad whom my husband caught sitting in our car in our garage necking with his girl friend one night as well.  You know those days . . .  nobody locked anything. We were not afraid of being robbed or stabbed in our sleep . . .  we were so trusting.  Now . . .  back to the chicken balls.
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These might look like they are a lot of work, but really they are not.  There is a simple sauce that you can make well ahead of time if you wish.   Then there is a simple batter that you just mix your chicken breast chunks in.
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It's quite a thick batter, and it may not look like it's going to do anything, but trust me, once those balls hit the hot fat it balloons out and you end up with lovely crisp coated little bites of chicken . . . containing moist little nuggest of chicken breast and a light, fluffy and crisp batter which is delicious on the outside.
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This sauce is perfect . . .  with just the right balance of sweet and sour and a nice color.  It would go well with won tons and other things also . . .  dumplings, spring rolls, etc.   It's just a really nice sauce.  I think you will like it.
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The two together are just gorgeous, and when you combine these with that lovely Chinese Beef and Broccoli which I showed you yesterday . . .  well, you have a fabulous meal indeed!  Inexpensive and easy to make and one which is a real family pleaser.  
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*Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls*Serves 4Printable Recipe  

This may seem a bit convuluted and lengthy, but if you are organized, it happens quite quickly and it worth every ounce of effort.   These are as good as any you might find in a restaurant.  You can make the sauce the day before and just reheat it when you need it. 
For the sauce:55g of tomato ketchup (1/4 cup)1 tsp soy sauce60ml of white vinegar (1/4 cup)50g soft light brown sugar (1/4 cup packed)95g of white sugar (1/2 cup)180ml of water or a mix of water and pineapple juice (3/4 cup) plus 2 1/2 TBS1 1/2 TBS corn flour (corn starch)For the chicken batter:70g of plain flour (1/2 cup)75g of corn flour (1/2 cup cornstarch)1 tsp baking powder1 tsp bakind soda1/2 tsp seasoning salt1/4 tsp garlic powder1 tsp sugar120ml plus 2 1/2 TBS water (1/2 cup plus 2 1/2 TBS)1 tsp toasted sesame oilYou will also need:4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size piecesoil for frying  
To make the sauce, whisk together the ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar and both sugars in a saucepan.   Whisk together the water/juice and the corn flour until well blended.   Whisk this vigorously into the ketchup mixture.  Place over medium high heat and cook, whisking constantly until the mixture bubbles and thickens.   Cook for several minutes, then set aside and keep warm.  If you are making it the day before or earlier in the day, pour it into a sealable container and refrigerate.   Reheat gently when you are ready to serve. 
Combine the flour and corn flour for the chicken balls in a bowl, along with the baking powder, soda, seasoning salt, garlic powder and sugar.   Whisk in the water to make a thick batter, whisking vigorously.  You want a thick batter which will cling to the pieces of chicken, but you don't want it too thick., it should flow somewhat.   If you need to you may add a little bit more water at a time to get the right consistency.  It should be like extra tacky glue.  Add the chicken pieces, stirring them in with your hand and making sure that all are well coated with the mixture. 
Heat about 4 inches of oil in a large heavy saucepan or a deep fat fryer, to 190*C/375*F.  Carefully add the coated chicken pieces a few at a time (I add about 12) and fry them in the hot oil, stirring occasionally until they are golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.  If they are browning quicker than that your oil is too hot.   Scoop them out onto some kitchen paper toweling and keep warm while you cook the rest. 
For the egg  fried rice, I simply followed this recipe, leaving out the pineapple and the chicken.Serve immediately with the warm sweet and sour sauce.

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