Sweet & Sour [insert protein here]

Welcome to STIRFRIDAY!

I’ve been really good at cooking for myself in proper portions (as opposed to having leftovers for a week), and this was a great example of that sizing. I made from-scratch pizza two days ago, and had leftover pizza toppings in the fridge. Thought this would be a great way to use up that ½-onion, fresh sliced pineapple, and bell pepper. It was. I googled around and found 3 good-sounding recipes, then merged them into…. this. It’s tangy and sweet and pineapple in all the right ways. It’s also [unintentionally] gluten-free and vegan, pending your choice of protein of course! I’m feeling a little loopy right now so please excuse some of the not-so-formal sounding lingo.

Boiling away in the wok, right after I added the tofu. This is better than your favourite chinese restaurant.

Boiling away in the wok, right after I added the tofu. This is better than your favourite chinese restaurant.

Sweet and Sour [Insert Protein Here]

Cook and prep time total 30-40 minutes
Serves 2-4 

For the side:
Rice! Cooked however you like it

For the protein:
Protein of choice, enough for ~3 servings (I used a ½-brick of tofu)
Cornstarch (about ¼ cup, in a soup bowl)
Oil for deep frying. I used canola oil because it’s cheap and flavourless. I wouldn’t recommend olive oil. Enough oil to be about ¾” deep in your wok should work.

For the sauce:
⅓ c ketchup
⅓ c white vinegar (apparently apple cider vinegar is also a great choice, but I don’t have any)
Pineapple juice (I just drained our tupperware of 2-days-old sliced fresh pineapple; a few tbsp worth. Worst case scenario, use the juice from the canned pineapple you’ll open for this recipe if you don’t use fresh.)
2 tbsp brown sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced & diced into itty bitty pieces
1½  tsp soy sauce (I use Braggs, since it’s what we keep in the house for gluten-free purposes)
Sriracha to taste, if that’s your bag (it’s not my thing, I went without)

And then veggies:
½ white onion, diced
Pineapple. If you use canned, use one can; if you use fresh [HIGHLY RECOMMENDED] then just eyeball the equivalent amount as would fit in a can. I slice mine very thinly (<½ cm) and would recommend you do the same. Big chunks are not conducive to frying well.
1-2 bell peppers of your favourite colours
A little bit more oil for frying these bad boys up

Procedure:
Slice your pineapple, garlic, bell peppers, onion. Put the garlic into the small bowl that will eventually hold the sauce.

Next, get your rice started. It can always sit and warm while you finish up.

Pour the oil into your wok for your protein. Turn it up to medium heat. Then get to work on your protein: slice it up into stir-fry-sized chunks, about 1-2 bites worth per piece. Put the slices into your bowl of corn starch and make sure they’re coated. You’ll probably have more corn starch than you need, but if you are using tofu, it comes in later! Just set the bowl aside. Otherwise, dispose of your raw-meat-cootied corn starch afterwards, but make sure you have a tbsp set aside for later on.

When the oil is nice and hot, start frying your protein. Make sure it’s nice and bubbly! As your protein is frying, assemble your sauce. Just whisk all the ingredients together.

When the protein is done, use a slotted spoon to put it on a paper-toweled plate (bacon style!). Set aside, bonus points if you put it in the oven to keep it warm (I didn’t, but tofu is pretty forgiving). Give your wok a quick rinse, put some more oil on it, and plop in the pineapple and onion. Fry on medium to medium-high heat until pineapple is starting to turn brown and onions are clear. I expected this to smell weird but it smelled like everything wonderful in life.

Next, add the sauce and peppers. Let it simmer and hang out for awhile – 5+ minutes. Get those peppers a bit soft. But not smooshy…. this is not a good time for smooshy peppers. I actually undercooked mine a bit and it was a good textural variation.

For the last 3-4 minutes of cooking, add your already-cooked protein and (THIS IS WHERE I FELT LIKE A GENIUS WITH THIS IDEA) put some lukewarm water into your cornstarchy bowl from early, get that leftover cornstarch dissolved, and pour into your stir fry.

TA DA! Enjoy, bon appétit mes amis!

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