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Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sweet and Sour Chicken - A delicious make-at-home version that rivals takeout!  No need to shop at a specialty market - our recipe uses ingredients you probably already have at home.

Why order take-out when you can make our delicious Sweet and Sour Chicken at home!?

Many years ago, back when my husband Jack was still a bachelor, he decided to take a class to learn more about cooking Asian cuisine. While he was already trained professionally in many other types of cuisines – at the time, he felt that he didn’t have a good mastery of Asian cooking.

Although he learned quite a lot in that cooking class – to this day – Jack still feels that it is very difficult for most of us to make good Asian cuisine at home, because so many of the recipes require specific ingredients that are typically available only at Asian or specialty markets!

Sweet and Sour Chicken - A delicious make-at-home version that rivals takeout!  No need to shop at a specialty market - our recipe uses ingredients you probably already have at home.

So knowing that not everyone has easy access to those specialty ingredients that are often called for in recipes for Asian cuisine, Jack has set out over the years to develop more simplified recipes – like today’s Sweet and Sour Chicken. This recipe comes extremely close to achieving the same delicious flavor profile as the version you’d order at a restaurant, but it uses ingredients more commonly found in your typical, local American supermarket!

Most of the prep time and work in this recipe is getting all of the ingredients ready before you start cooking – but once all that work is done, this dish comes together very quickly! And it’s a dish that the entire family will love in the comfort of your own home without calling for take-out!

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Print

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Note: The entire cooking process until finished dish takes 30 minutes. Plan your cooked rice so it is ready once the dish is complete.

  • Prep Time: 45 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

For the sauce

  • 1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks in juice, juice separated from chunks (do not discard juice)
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dry ginger
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch

To coat the chicken

  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs trimmed and cut into ½ inch sized pieces
  • 1 ½ cups corn starch for coating
  • Enough vegetable oil to come a third of the way up a wok or heavy pot

For the remainder of the dish

  • 1 10-ounce jar maraschino cherries, juice separated from cherries (but do not discard juice)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 cup carrot, peeled and cut into ¼ slices cut on the bias
  • 1 ½ cups onion cut into thick strips (vertical strips)
  • 1 ½ cups green bell pepper cut into thick strips (vertical strips)
  • 2 cups hot, cooked white rice

Instructions

  1. In a very large bowl, mix the pineapple juice drained from canned pineapple, ketchup, vinegar, both sugars, soy sauce, garlic powder, ginger, salt, pepper and the 1 teaspoon of corn starch. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl beat whole egg with egg white then add soy sauce, sugar and salt. Stir to combine then add cut up chicken and swirl around to fully coat.
  3. In a second medium bowl, add the 1 ½ cups of corn starch. Work in batches and transfer chicken pieces from batter to corn starch and coat completely. Remove coated pieces to a platter. Add more corn starch if needed to finish.
  4. Heat wok and vegetable oil to 350 degrees using candy thermometer to maintain that temperature.
  5. Cook in four batches placing chicken in hot oil one piece at a time. Cook each batch four minutes, moving the pieces around as they cook so they don’t stick to each other. Use a Spider Strainer or other kind of strainer to remove to a plate covered in paper towels.
  6. Soon as the chicken drains, add to the large bowl with the sauce. As you finish each batch and drain, again add to the bowl. Set that aside when done and discard the used oil and clean out the wok.
  7. In a small bowl, mix cherry juice with the one tablespoon of soy sauce and set aside.
  8. Heat the wok back up to as high as it will go and add the two tablespoons of peanut oil. Once it starts to shimmer with heat, add carrots and stir fry 2 minutes. Move the carrots to the edges and add onion and pepper. Stir fry that for 4 minutes. Add cherry juice mixture and cook for two minutes almost until the liquid is evaporated.
  9. Add pineapple chunks, cherries and reserved bowl of cooked chicken and the sauce it is in.
  10. Stir and heat mixture to serving temperature and serve with white rice.

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Comments

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  1. Looks so good! Better than in the restaurant!

  2. good work to you and Jack!

  3. Every once in a while I get a real craving for sweet and sour chicken but I never, ever make it at home. I’m like so many others, as you pointed out, who have a limited understanding of Asian cuisine and little access to specialty ingredients. Now I can have sweet and sour anytime I get that craving! Sounds like an excellent recipe!

  4. Looking at this makes me never want to go for take-out ever again!

  5. I can never turn down anything sweet and sour!

  6. I love that your husband is so dedicated to adapting Asian recipes for the average North American home kitchen. This chicken looks so much better than anything you could find at a take-out joint.

  7. I love that he comes up with simplified versions! I wanted to make green curry paste today but couldn’t find half the ingredients. So disappointing! And this chicken looks incredibly yummy. 🙂

  8. I thought that was maraschino cherries I spotted in that skillet. Love all the colors and flavors in this dish! I’m anxious to try this.

  9. I love the idea of making the dishes easy to make with what we can find easily in our grocery stores. There is nothing worse than trying to drive all over to find rare ingredients. Plus homemade Chinese is almost sure to be better than takeout!

  10. Just made this recipe, it’s fantastic!!! Definitely a keeper!

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