Fancy trying this easy to make sweet and sour chicken for the weekend? Check out how you can recreate this take-away classic from the comfort of your own home.
Even though I LOVE Chinese food, sweet and sour chicken is one of those dishes that I try to avoid when getting a takeaway. Why? Well, not only that I find most of them are covered in thick batter, the sauce tends to be almost fluorescent with all the additives and colourant.
Cooking homemade sweet and sour chicken is easier than you think. You can also replace chicken with pork or fish. The sauce is also super easy to make, and once you learn how to do it, you can make it time and time again!
Classic Sweet And Sour Chicken With Batter
On this post, I’ll be showing you how to make the classic takeaway favourite. This particular sweet and sour chicken is made with batter, however, you can omit this if you’re a little health conscious. Using cornflour instead of flour makes a lighter batter. I much prefer this version to the ‘chicken balls’ that they serve at my local takeaway.
You can also add additional vegetables such as mangetout (snow peas), baby sweetcorn, or broccoli. However, if you are adding broccoli or baby sweetcorn, ensure that you put it in after the onions are slightly fried as they take longer to cook.
What Cuts Of Meat To Use
You can use chicken breast, but I like to use the solomios de pollo. Here in Spain, they’re very popular. A very soft tenderloin of chicken, ideal for grilling, frying and stir-fry dishes like this. If you are using pork, I recommend using pork loin or pork butts. I like my pork with a little bit of fat, so I tend to use pork butts. Fish is also a good alternative. However, use a fish that’s firm and fleshy. I recommend cod, bream or halibut.
How To Make Sweet And Sour Chicken
The secret to a successful sweet and sour chicken is preparation. Get your ingredients together and prepare them accordingly to the order you will use them.
Heat the oil
Add 500ml of oil in a wok and heat it on low (I have an induction hob and I use the 3-4 setting). You don’t have to do this, but I think it saves a lot of time and avoids waiting around for the oil to heat up.
Prepare The Sauce
Add all your sauce ingredients in a medium-size bowl and mix well with a whisk or fork. For this recipe, I used coconut vinegar as it’s something that I use regularly. But I know that some of you might not be familiar with that, so you can use apple cider vinegar instead.
Prepare The Meat
To achieve a nice and crispy chicken you will need to coat the meat with the beaten egg and place and them in a sealed bag along with the cornflour. Shake until the chicken is coated and set aside. It’s important to let this rest for a few minutes so that the cornflour soaks in the meat. Adding the meat straight away into the oil will leave your pan with a lot of excess cornflour.
Cook The Meat
Test your oil to see if it’s hot enough for frying by placing a wooden stick in the middle and see if bubbles start to form. If this is the case, your oil is ready to use. Add your meat in batches, be careful not to overcrowd it, as this will lower the temperature of your pan, resulting in a soggy batter. Let your meat cook and leave it for about 2-3 minutes before turning. Transfer into a bowl lined with a paper towel and cover in foil to keep it warm.
Stir Fry The Vegetables
Once you have finished frying the meat, empty the oil from your wok and wipe clean with a paper towel. Add the sesame oil and allow to heat up for a few seconds. Once it’s hot enough add the onions and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the peppers and carrots and fry on medium heat. Be careful not to allow your vegetables to overcook as you want them to have a little bit of crunch.
Add the sweet and sour sauce over the vegetables and stir allowing it to thicken for 1-2 minutes. Return the meat in the pan and coat it well with the sauce. Sprinkle with the chopped spring onions and garnish with sesame seeds before serving on a plate with steamed rice.
- 750g chicken breast
- 1 1/2 tbsp dry sherry or dry white wine
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- salt and pepper to season
- 1 large egg
- 60g cornflour
- 500ml oil for frying
Stir Fry Ingredients
- 1 medium size onion
- 1/2 large green pepper
- 1/2 large red pepper
- 1 carrot thinly sliced
- 3 small chillis chopped (optional)
- 100g pineapple cubes (optional)
- 3 tbsp sesame oil or sunflower oil
Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 150g sugar
- 240ml coconut vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 6 tbsp ketchup
- 4 tsp soy sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 tbsp cornflour (mixed with a tablespoon of water to thicken the sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
- 2 tbsp chopped spring onions
- Add 500ml of oil in a deep pan or wok and let it heat up on low heat while you prepare the vegetables and meat.
- Cut the stir fry vegetables in bite size pieces. I have added chillis in this recipe for a bit of a kick, but you can omit this if you don't like the spice.
- Cut the meat in bite size pieces and coat in egg mixture.
- Once coated, place the meat in a sealable bag along with the cornflour. Shake the bag and set aside.
- Prepare the sweet and sour sauce, by placing all the ingredients in a medium size bowl. Stir and set aside.
- Go back to your pan of oil and check that it's hot enough for frying. You can test if its hot enough, but placing a toothpick or a bbq stick in the pan. If there are bubbles coming from the stick, it's hot enough to use.
- Fry the coated meat in batches until golden brown. Place on a bowl lined with paper towels. Do this until all the meat has been fried.
- Empty the oil from the wok or pan. Wipe it clean and add the sesame oil.
- Once the oil is hot and smoking, add the onions. Stir fry for about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the carrots, chillis, pineapple and peppers. Stir fry for about 2-3 mins.
- Add the sweet and sour sauce and mix well with the vegetables. Allow it to simmer for about a minute or so.
- Add the fried meat and mix well. Season according to taste.
- Garnish with chopped spring onions and sesame seeds before serving with steamed rice. 👌🏽