Posted in Meal of the Week, World of Warcraft

Pandaren Month! Klaxxi Sweet and Sour

Man, where do I even start with this one? It’s a massive favorite in the non-Pandaren nations. I remember being able to find this even in Orgrimmar, and sometimes you get lucky and find a cart in Dalaran. Noodles are of course, the go-to, but there’s something divine about the crunchy, sweet, savory, little bit tart stickiness of a dish like this.

When I lived in Halfhill, the old Pandaren that used to let me rent a room from them told me the story about how when their ancestors began to set up their farms and breweries from the West, the insectoid Klaxxi were beginning to spread in from the East. Wars raged and fire burned and crops were destroyed and overall, there was terror.

One Pandaren in particular was desperate for peace. And he realized that when he worked a long hard day, he was rather cranky before he got his supper. So, he thought, perhaps it was the same with the angry Klaxxi. He’d seen the nectar they ate, and decided, well that simply couldn’t be sustaining enough. So he came up with a dish — a perfect blend of everything he thought a hard working creature needed. Protein for strength, vegetables for health, fruit and sweetness for the disposition. And with it, he offered up an offering, that Bug and Bear could sit together in peace and the commonality of food.

Did it work?

Eh. Kinda.

But the important thing, is that now WE have been blessed with this delicious merger of sweet and savory. I don’t know if the legend was true, but I choose to believe it was.

Down to business

Alright, let’s get on with the show. If this looks like a lot of ingredients… it’s because it is. But keep in mind, this is for a delicious, sticky sauce, AND the meat/veggie mix. Also keep in mind it’s taking up a ton of space so it’s not as big as it seems at first. As always, there are places where you can make substitutions, never EVER be afraid to change things out to suit your own tastes.

For example, Pryn doesn’t eat meat, so for hers, I use shrimp or tofu instead of poultry. The steps are about the same for that. Vasilli likes extra pineapple, so I add more into his and get a little bit of a caramelized edge to it. Sera likes his saltier, so I add a bit extra soy, and soy to the rice before I add the sweet and sour. These are all little changes, don’t be scared to make your own.

BUT that doesn’t make it seem like it’s not a lot of ingredients. So the old question: How do you eat a kodo?

One bite at a time. Let’s break these into teams.

First up is team Saucy. I decided to do these first, because it’s not very labor-intensive and the time you take making the other stuff is time that this can happily simmer away, getting all yummy and thick.

First, we need a small saucepan. I freaking LOVE this pan (no that’s not an affiliate link, I’m not sponsored. I’m not fancy enough for that, I just really like it). We also need 1/2 cup (100g) of white sugar, 1/4 cup (55g) of brown sugar (packed) — those are the sweet! You’ll also need 1/2 cup (120 ml) of apple cider vinegar — that’s our sour! — 1/3 cup (80g) of tomato ketchup, 4 teaspoons of soy sauce, and three good sized cloves of garlic. You always want more garlic than you think you will.

Chop the garlic up nice and fine. Here’s our first substitution: If you would rather use powdered garlic — do it. I wanna say use a tablespoon if you’re going that way.

So how do we turn it into sauce? Ok, follow along REALLY careful now, cuz it’s really tricky.

First, take all the ingredients….

And throw them in the pan. There ya go. 90% done. Mix it up nicely, I didn’t have the garlic chopped in time for that picture, so chop it up and add it in. Then put it on the stove on low heat and let those flavors get to know each other. You’re not looking to boil it, just keep it no hotter than a low simmer.

Yum

At this point, it will taste more sour than sweet, but don’t worry, it’ll all balance out nicely.

Now on to the next time. Team Monch:

This is the more time-consuming part, but none of this is really hard. You will need: 1 pineapple OR a ration can of about 16 oz (450ish grams) of pineapple chunks, drained. I happened to just have a pineapple, so that’s what I’m using.

You also want half of an onion. I prefer yellow for this, but you can use white. Also two bell peppers, I like to use different colors because it makes it stand out better, but they are pretty much the same colorwise, so you are not beholden to that either. Get 1 1/2 lbs (680g) of meat — I used poultry but you can use boar, cow, tofu, or even fish or shrimp — and then stuff for the breading. 1/2 cup (70g) each of corn starch and flour, separated, and 3 eggs (not shown). You also need oil for frying, also not shown).

First, chop everything up. I like nice big chunks for the poultry, but again, if you like it smaller, go smaller.

I also like big chunks for the bell pepper, because I used to really not like it, so knowing I could pick it out makes me more inclined to eat it. I like bell pepper now for the most part. Chop your onion the same way.

See how nice and pretty that looks? Weirdly, a lot of our appetite comes from how things LOOK, even before we taste it.

And of course, chop up your pineapple, if you’re not using a ration can. If you’re using a can, I guess drain them at this point. Think about reserving the juice, cuz you can make some great mixed drinks with it.

So once you have the protein chopped up, you want to coat it in the cornstarch. There are a few ways to do this. You can lay the cornstarch on a plate or bowl and roll the individual pieces in it. Or you can throw it in a bag, throw the meat in after it and shake it up til it’s coated. Guess which way I used.

Now what’s next is to fry this all up. Get your oil heated to around 350F/175C. Then you need two more bowls. Into one, crack your eggs and beat them. In the other, lay out your flour. You are going to dunk the cornstarch covered chicken bits first into the beaten egg, then roll it into the flour. I still haven’t figured out how to do this without getting my hands goopy, so there’s no documentation. Sorry.

Learn from Jax’s mistake: Get these all battered before you start to fry. It’ll keep you from having to rush while hot oil is bubbling.

Fry these for about 3-5 minutes until golden on all sides. Don’t crowd the pan. You might say “but Jax, that pan above isn’t crowded at all!” Yes. You’re right. It’s completely intentional and has nothing to do with the fact that I was struggling to time the battering right. Again, consider battering before you start frying. It’ll make life easier. Also you can put in WAY more at a time than I did.

Half-drank Bloody Prestor for stamina regen in the background

The trick to keep it crispy is NOT to drain to paper towels, but instead to a cookie sheet. Once it’s cool, move them onto a plate. Don’t use them to test your still-simmering sauce for poison. You’ll never make it to the next step. You’ll be poisoned by the deliciousness and just stop there.

Drain all but about 1 Tbsp of oil and then add your pineapple, peppers and onion to the pain. You’re looking not to brown it, but to cook it just enough so that it’s brightly colored, the onions are just starting to turn translucent, and it’s cooked but still with a bit of crunch. It should only take a few minutes.

Once it’s cooked, add the sauce into the pan and stir it around to coat. NOW you want to get the sauce bubbling. Once it’s starting to bubble, take your delicious fried meat that you absolutely weren’t nibbling on the whole time, and add it in as well.

YUM. Get everything coated, let the sauce thicken a little bit, and then it’s good to serve. I like to serve it on a bed of white rice, or if I’m feeling really fancy, in a pineapple boat.

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup (100g) of white sugar
  • 1/4 cup (55g) of brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup (80g) of tomato ketchup
  • 4 teaspoons of soy sauce
  • 3 good sized cloves of garlic, minced

For the chunks:

  • 1 pineapple or 16 oz (450g) can of chunks, drained
  • 1/2 large onion (white, brown or yellow)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs (680g) of meat (chicken used here)
  • 1/2 cup (70g) corn starch
  • 1/2 cup (70g) flour
  • 3 eggs
  • Oil for frying

Instructions:

For the sauce:

  1. Combine all ingredients into a small saucepan
  2. Stir to combine
  3. Simmer on low heat until ready to add to finished product

For the chunks:

  1. Chop meat into 1 inch cubes
  2. Chop bell pepper, onions and pineapple into 1 inch chunks. If using canned chunks, no need to chop further
  3. Coat the meat in cornstarch
  4. Bring oil up to 350F/175C
  5. Beat eggs in a bowl
  6. Dredge the meat in the beaten eggs, then coat in flour
  7. Fry the meat in small batches until golden brown on all sides. Drain on a cookie sheet
  8. Once the meat is done, discard all but 1 Tbsp of the oil and add the onions, bell peppers and pineapple.
  9. Cook until crisp-tender, then add the sauce to the pan.
  10. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then add the meat.
  11. Toss to coat, reduce sauce to thicken
  12. Serve in a pineapple boat if fancy, or over white rice if hungry.

Author:

Just you're basic -cough-'dorei tryin' to make it in Azeroth.

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