Meltingly tender and intensely flavoursome, this is sweet and sour chicken with a difference.
- 4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
- ½ tbsp Chinese five-spice powder
- 230g can pineapple chunks in natural juice
- 1½ level tbsp cornflour
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- Low-calorie cooking spray
- 1 onion, cut into chunks
- 2½ cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into chunks
- 2 peppers (red, orange or yellow), deseeded and cut into bite-size pieces
- 250g passata
- 1 star anise
- 4 baby leeks, cut into short lengths
- 225g can bamboo shoots, drained
- Boiled dried egg noodles, to serve
- Preheat your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Put the chicken in a large bowl with the Chinese five-spice powder and toss to coat. Leave to marinate for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, drain the pineapple over a bowl to reserve the juice. Put the cornflour in another bowl and gradually whisk in the pineapple juice to make a smooth paste. Whisk in the tomato purée, vinegar and soy sauce and set aside.
- Spray a large non-stick frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium-high heat. Brown the chicken all over in batches, then transfer to a large baking dish.
- Spray the frying pan with a little more low-calorie cooking spray and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the onions and ginger and soften until starting to turn golden. Add the carrots and peppers and fry for 2 minutes. Add the pineapple sauce, stirring until thickened, then add the passata and star anise and bring to a simmer. Transfer to the baking dish, cover and bake for 30 minutes.
- Stir in the leeks, bamboo shoots and pineapple chunks. Re-cover and bake for a further 30 minutes. Discard the star anise, then divide between 4 bowls and serve with the boiled noodles.
Tip: To freeze and reheat: Once cooled, freeze for up to 6 months. To serve, thoroughly defrost as many portions as needed at room temperature, then tip into a saucepan. Cover, then simmer gently for 20 minutes until piping hot. Divide between bowls and serve with boiled dried egg noodles or rice.
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