Here is a sweet and sour chicken recipe which you can make at home that will taste just like the takeout or restaurant version.
The good news is that you most likely already have these ingredients stored at home and simply need a supermarket trip to buy any fresh ingredients.
What is sweet and sour chicken?
Sweet and sour chicken is a popular recipe which is often served in restaurants and fast food chains.
The sweet and sour aspect comes from the sauce which is a combination of vinegar, brown sugar, tomato ketchup and soy sauce, which is topped up with pineapple chunks, green pepper, onion and sesame seeds.
This is combined with a deep-fried meat such as chicken, pork, prawns or shrimp, and is usually served with rice.
In other words, this is a true guilty pleasure.
However, these are the basic elements which you want to nail down in order to made a delicious sweet and sour recipe which you can easily replicate at home.
There are many variations, and even in the term “sweet and sour” in China it will be a lot different depending where you go, but this recipe tries its best to make a version which is popular in UK Chinese restaurants.
Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Add vegetable oil to your wok which will be enough to deep fry. If you want to shallow fry instead, add less vegetable oil to your wok or large frying pan. Both of these methods will work but deep frying produces quicker results.
- To your prep bowl, add the plain flour, corn flour, baking powder and water. Stir to combine and add the paprika too.
- Cut the chicken breasts into diced chunks, season with salt and black pepper, and add to your prep bowl.
- Once your wok or large frying pan is heated (175°C for deep frying) , and the chicken chunks and fry until golden brown, for around 5 minutes.
- Remove and strain out the excess oil on kitchen roll. You now have battered chicken.
- Add the vegetable oil to your large frying pan on medium-high heat.
- Add the onions and cook for 3-5 minutes, until they are translucent.
- Add the ginger and garlic paste and continue to stir, followed by the peppers for another minute.
- Add in the remainder ingredients: tomato ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar and pineapple chunks.
- Allow to simmer for a few minutes and reduce the heat.
- Once the sauce has thickened, add the battered chicken and stir to combine for 2 minutes.
- Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
- Best served with rice
- For meal prep purposes, refrigerate up to 3-4 days.
- For best results, deep fry the chicken. However, for meal prep, shallow frying works really well.
- You can use either fresh pineapple chunks or tin pineapple chunks - the latter is a real time saver.
Sweet and sour chicken meal prep
Technically, you can store sweet and sour chicken in the refrigerator up to 3-4 days and reheat it in the microwave. However, I have tried to do that with this recipe and it will come out too soggy.
If you want to make this for your meal prep I would suggest avoid making crispy chicken and instead season it with paprika, salt and black pepper and just fry it in oil and use the same recipe for the sweet and sour sauce.
The sweet and sour sauce will still taste really good after you reheat it, and in fact, you will get better flavours the next day due which means you can prep this sauce to save time making this on a Friday or Saturday night.
I also often cook this sauce in batches for weeknights because I can simply fry fresh chicken or prawns for 10 to 12 minutes, reheat the sauce and dinner is made.
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