No need to do take-out or go to the restaurant when you can make this authentic sweet and sour chicken at home!
Popular Restaurant Dish
Sweet and sour chicken has got to be one of the best-selling items on any Chinese restaurant’s menu. It’s a perennial favorite.
There are many recipes online that you can find to make it at home. Some are good and some are not so good.
This recipe is about as authentic as you can get. Because it’s authentic, there’s a little fuss and prep work involved. Most Asian dishes have a bit of prep involved so this shouldn’t shock anyone who has made these recipes before. This is not one of those quickie meals where you’re done and dusted in less than 30 minutes. I’m generally a fuss-free one-pot gal but making this sweet and sour chicken every so often–because it’s not an everyday thing–is well worth it to me.
Yeah It’s Not Diet
I’ve seen “healthed up” recipes for this and they just don’t cut it. I’m not saying that they don’t taste good (a lot DON’T) but they are not authentic and if you want to bypass the restaurant and make this at home, please bypass these quickie “healthy” versions.
The chicken must be battered and deep fried. You don’t need a deep fryer to do it. Any old large and heavy skillet, such as a cast iron skillet, can be used. You don’t need gobs of oil either. You need to have the oil level about 1/2-inch up the side of the pan. Unless you are using a very large pan, over 12-inches diameter, you’ll probably use 1-1 1/2 cups of oil.
Nope, you can’t do this in an air fryer because it will not have the taste nor the texture. Plus because the batter is so gloppy, it will really mess up your air fryer; not to mention it will be for naught because it won’t even taste good.
Sauce And Veggies
The sauce is made right before you fry the chicken and it’s put on just before you serve it. If you’ve noticed in the restaurant that the sauce is tinted, it is. This is one step you can eliminate if you don’t have food coloring on hand. Omitting it will not alter the taste, but it will alter the appearance. For the family, this is probably not an issue. However, if you are making this for guests, I’d tint it for presentation purposes.
I chose to use a variety of colors for the bell peppers. That’s not necessary, but it looks so nice. You really only need the green or red ones (or a combination if you have them on hand) and about two very large peppers is the proper amount. They are not cooked either and that adds a wonderful crisp and cool crunch that really makes this dish work!
Watch The Video
Sweet And Sour Chicken
- 20 oz canned pineapple chunks pineapple chunks, drained (reserve the juice)
- 16 oz boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1-inch chunks
- oil for frying
- 2 large bell peppers cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 1/2 cups water
- reserved pineapple juice
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar white vinegar is OK too
- orange food coloring 1 drop red, 3-4 drops yellow OPTIONAL
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 1/4 cups self-rising flour
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 tbs oil
- 1 egg
- 2 tbs cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
- For the sauce: In a saucepan, combine the 1 1/2 cups
- water, sugar, vinegar, reserved pineapple juice, and food coloring. Heat to boiling. Turn off heat. Combine 1/4 cup cornstarch and 1/4 cup water; slowly stir into saucepan. Continue stirring until mixture thickens.
- For the batter: Combine flour, oil, cornstarch, salt, white pepper, and egg. Add the water gradually to make a thick batter. Stir to blend thoroughly.
- Add chicken pieces to the batter, and stir until chicken is well coated.
- Heat oil in skillet or wok to 360 degrees F. Fry chicken pieces about 5 minutes each side, or until golden. Remove chicken, and drain on paper towels.
- When ready to serve, layer green peppers, pineapple chunks, and cooked chicken pieces on a platter. Pour hot sweet and sour sauce over top.