So yesterday evening, I got a wild hair and decided to combine two different recipes to make my own. Referencing the “Sweet, Sticky and Spicy Chicken” from allrecipes.com and a Thai Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce I found on buzzfeed.com, I created my own sweet and spicy Asian inspired chicken. I couldn’t really decide on a name, so I was asking my buds what I should call it, and I have to mention my BFF’s idea: “Dr. Cock Sauce Chicken.” I know, I know, what a weird name! It’s super hilarious though, because one of the ingredients is Dr. Pepper—hence the Dr.—another ingredient is Sriracha chili sauce—affectionately known as Cock Sauce in our neck of the woods, both for the fact that it has a rooster on the bottle, and for the double entendre, haha. So sorry if it offends! I was also considering “Everything but the Kitchen Sink Chicken”—which will be completely understandable when you look at the ingredients, hahaha!
Okay, let me tell you right away that I am horrible at following exact measurements in recipes, which is probably why I am not a strong baker! So every recipe I include on this blog will have approximate values. If you are a stickler for proper measurements, then my recipes are not for you! Otherwise, if you just like throwing random stuff together to see what you get, come to me and I can probably tell you if the concoction works! Also, my meals can be rather time consuming. I am not a professional, I have just been in charge of the meals in my household for a long time. I still make mistakes, and I know I am not always doing the right things the right way—I would fail all of those Food Network challenges with time limits and technique evaluations—but I love to experiment, and my family indulges me!
1 lb of chicken (I used one very large chicken breast) cut into chunks
1 can of Cherry Dr. Pepper (any cola or Dr. Pepper-ish soda)
1 cup of Soy Sauce
1-2 tablespoons of butter/margarine
½-1 ½ tablespoons of coconut oil
1 tablespoon of honey
½ cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon Cornstarch
¼ cup Cold Water (for cornstarch)
Diced Roasted Garlic (or fresh, or dried)
3-4 Mini Sweet Peppers, different colors, diced
½ white, red, yellow, or sweet onion (I used yellow), diced
1 can of sliced mushrooms
1 can of whole water chestnuts
Pepper (I used fresh ground peppercorn medley)
Ground Ginger (could also use freshly minced ginger root)
Step 1: Create a marinade for your chicken using the soda and some soy sauce—just enough to cover the pieces. Soak for as long as you can. (I cut my chicken first, and it was still a little frozen. So while I started on the other stuff, my chicken was marinating and defrosting).
Step 2: Melt the butter on low in a large-ish sauce pan. Add the onions, peppers, and garlic. “Sweat” these ingredients for about two minutes, stirring frequently. (Thank you Bobby Flay for that description! Basically, from what I understand, sweating onions and peppers and the like, simply means sautéing them in butter, on low heat. This kind of causes the flavors to “sweat out” into the butter—thus intensifying and concentrating the flavors).
Step 3: Drain the mushrooms and add them to the melty butter goodness. I added the garlic salt at this point, because mushrooms need some added flavor! Cook for another couple of minutes to really infuse the mushrooms.
Step 4: Using a colander, strain the peppers, mushrooms, garlic, and onions—capturing the infused butter in a separate bowl. Set the veggies aside and poor the butter back into the pan. Add the coconut oil. Once it is hot enough (it will pop a little, so be careful), add your chicken pieces. Try not to get very much of the marinade into the pan—we don’t want to mess with the butter too much. Add the pepper and ginger.
Step 5: Once the chicken has been browned (cooked mostly), add the brown sugar and the chili paste, then drain the water chestnuts and quarter them into the chicken. Make sure that the sugar has melted completely before moving on to step 6.
Step 6: Hopefully you kept your bowl from the butter straining, because we are using it again. I recently had an escapade with a new recipe, and I completely overcooked the chicken! Ruined the otherwise delightful meal. So this time, I poured my chicken (on top of the veggies) through the colander again. Set them aside, and pour the buttery sugar sauce back into the pan.
Step 7: To try and optimize my flavors, I made a little reduction sauce. Taking the buttery sugar sauce, I added cherry Dr. Pepper and the Sriracha (very spicy, so add the amount you desire). On the medium side of Med-Hi setting, bring to a boil and let the sauce go for about 5-10 minutes. Stir frequently. Add the honey, and then some soy sauce (I used about 3 tablespoons for this part). The reason why I wait to add the soy sauce is because it is already supremely salty, and I don’t want it to be reduced very much. While it is still bubbly, mix your cornstarch with cold water. Gently pour into the sauce mix and stir briskly using a whisk. Let it heat for just a little, while continuing to stir. You should be able to feel it thickening up. Add more cornstarch if you want the sauce thicker, more soda or soy sauce if you got it too thick.
During this time, I made my rice (I cannot make rice to save my life, so we use Minute rice. If you want the good stuff, then start it probably around step 4) and, after pre-warming them in the microwave, popped my eggrolls into the oven to crisp the outside at 400°F.
Step 8: Once you have achieved your desired thickness, add the meat and veggies to it, and simmer on low.
Step 9: Once everything is all warmed up, done, and at your desired crispness, it is time to plate. Start with the rice, making a little divot for the saucy chicken (like mashed potatoes!), pour the saucy chicken over the rice, and dip your eggroll into the sauce too!!