I don’t think I know anybody who doesn’t love Chinese Food!
I remember growing up with Peking Restaurant being a phenomenal outing every weekend to indulge on all those Chinese dishes.
What I also discovered is that cooking Chinese food is as enjoyable as eating it. They are mostly easy & quick dishes, pack with vegetables YET very delicious.
So, they perfectly fit in our busy lifestyles & they also look sophisticated … so perfect for hosting guests!
Actually, sweet & sour chicken was never one of my personal favorite dishes until I came up with this recipe. I never ordered it in a restaurant because the sauce was either too sweet or had this artificial taste of canned tomato juice.
So, I was just never a big fan!
But on the other hand, my husband loves loves sweet & sour chicken & he kept telling me “it’s a huge shame that your main passion is food & you aren’t cooking my favorite dishes”!!
Feeling challenged or threatened hahaha, I decided to work on the recipe!
First, the chicken! After doing my google & cookbooks research, I had two options; either go with the regular pan sauteed pieces or go with the original & create those crazy crispy bites that absorb the sauce beautifully yet stay crunchy giving you the perfect bite! Of course, by now you know me … NO COMPROMISE ON TASTE!
Crispy crunchy chicken bites ✔️
Second came the sauce! My BIGGEST CHALLENGE! I had to develop something that satisfies my “taste buds” yet not deviate from the original recipe that my husband adores!
Not too sweet ✔️
No Tomato after taste ✔️
Perfectly balanced ✔️
I worked on many versions until I reached the right ingredients’ ratios! The sauce is very easy; prepared with very simple ingredients that most of us have at home yet the outcome is SPOT ON. AND as usual it became a staple dish in our house :)
SWEET & SOUR CHICKEN
For the Chicken:
- 450 gm chicken breasts cut into bite size cubes
- 1 egg beaten
- 1/2 cup cornflour
- Salt & pepper
- oil for deep frying
For the Sauce:
- 250 ml pineapple juice (from canned pineapple slices in juice)*
- 3 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tbsp + 1 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- 3 tsp cornflour dissolved in 2 1/2 tbsp water
For the Stir Fry:
- 1/2 large red pepper cut into medium size pieces
- 1/2 large yellow pepper cut into medium size pieces
- 1/2 large onion cut into medium size wedges
- 3 pineapple rings (canned not fresh) cut into medium size slices*
- 2 tsp oil
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- For the chicken: In a bowl, season the chicken with salt & pepper.
- Mix the chicken with the beaten egg then place in a wide sieve to drain excess egg.
- Place the drained chicken in a large zip lock bag (or plastic bag), add the 1/2 cup cornflour & close/seal; trapping as much air as possible to create a balloon*.
- Shake Shake Shake until all the chicken is coated with cornflour.
- Heat oil in a deep pot over high heat until hot, add the chicken (in batches if the pot isn’t large enough) & deep fry until the chicken is cooked through & has a light golden crispy crust (light golden not dark).
- For the sauce: Meanwhile, in another bowl, add all the sauce ingredients except the cornflour/water mixture & mix well until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
- In a non stick pan, heat 2 tsp oil on medium high heat & saute all the stir fry ingredients for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the sauce & bring to a boil.
- Add the cornflour/water mixture whisking constantly until the sauce thickens & becomes syrupy*. Turn off heat.
- Add the chicken & toss altogether until it is well coated with the sauce.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds & serve immediately with white rice.
- Unlike flour, coating the chicken with cornflour is a very sticky process, doing it by hand is very messy so the best way is the one stated in the recipe. Detailed Process: Place the chicken & cornflour in a bag, close the bag with your hand to create a balloon & have room to shake the chicken to get coated with the cornflour.
- You have to use canned pineapple juice & slices (not fresh).
- I realized that not all cornflour brands are the same so in case you need to thicken the sauce more, dissolve an extra tsp cornflour in 3 tsp & whisk into the sauce.
- In case you want a sweeter sauce, whisk 1 tsp brown sugar into the sauce before adding the chicken.
- This dish has to be served immediately otherwise the chicken crust won’t be as crispy as it should be.
- For a lighter version (no deep frying), season the chicken with salt & pepper & stir fry in 1 1/2 tbsp oil over high heat until the chicken gets a nice golden sear. Lower the heat & cover the pan until the chicken is cooked through.