Which takeout store serves the best Chinese sweet and sour chicken?
You probably won’t find any store.
This is because the best time to eat the sweet and sour chicken is when it is fresh from the wok immediately after deep frying. This moment is when the chicken is crispy, and chicken juice is oozing out each bite, with light and crunchy skin coated with the sweet and sour sauce.
The chicken will become soggy when you reach home from the takeout store, and it loses all the zingy taste you are expecting.
It turns out the best sweet and sour chicken is right in your kitchen. Freshly made, it is insanely delicious.
A quick and simple dish for the whole family
Sweet and sour chicken recipe is and the ideal dish for a quick and delicious meal much anticipated by the family. You can serve together with steamed rice as most Asian do, with noodles, bread or a bowl of salads.
The best of all is that this is a foolproof recipe. You can adjust the amount of chili sauce, plum sauce, and sugar in the recipe freely to what you prefer.
Why is Chinese sweet and sour chicken special?
The origin of sweet and sour chicken was in the 18th century or earlier from China. It spreads to the United States in the early 20th century after the Chinese migrant gold miners and railroad workers turned to cookery as trades. In some countries, the dish is known as Ku lo yuk 咕噜肉. Traditionally, pork is used, but I use chicken breast meat in this recipe as it is more popular and acceptable to all people.
The dish consists of deep fried pork or chicken with corn flour batter into bite-sized pieces and subsequently coated with the sweet and sour sauce that consists of ketchup, chili sauce, plum sauce, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Some versions of Ku lo sauce contain vinegar instead of plum sauce. The sauce is stir-fried with vegetables such as tomato, cucumber, pineapple, and onion. The deep fried pork or chicken pieces are then either add to the vegetables to stir-fry or just mixed into the thick sauce to preserve its crispiness.
Quick and easy Sweet and sour chicken recipe
Want to impress your friends and family members? This authentic Sweet and Sour Chicken is the answer! Authentic and delectable Chinese take-out standard dish made right at your home kitchen. This recipe can be prepared in just twenty minutes.
Watch this video of the Sweet and Sour Chicken to see how easy to prepare it at home. (1.45 minutes)
- 100 g cucumber
- 60 g red capsicum
- 60 g green capsicum
- 60 g pineapple
- 100 g onion
Marinate the chicken with cornflour, soy sauce, and egg white for about 30 minutes.
Deep the meat into egg wash and then cornflour.
Remove the excess flour and deep fried the meat until it is crispy and golden brown.
Heat up some vegetable oil in a wok. Briefly stir-fry the capsicum, pineapple and onion for a minute.
Add the ingredients of the sweet and sour sauce to the vegetables. Turn to high heat and stir-fry quickly until the sauce is thickened.
Turn off the heat. Add the chicken to the vegetables. Coat the meat with the sauce and serve.
The fine points of the sweet and sour chicken recipe
- Cut the meat into small pieces, preferably about 1cm x 3cm x 1/2 cm. The shape does not really matter, but small pieces will enable the flavor of the marinade and the sweet and sour sauce penetrate right to the center of the pieces of meat.
- It is best to marinate the meat for at least for half an hour. The soy sauce will add flavor to the meat and the cornflour will give a velvety texture to the meat.
- Coat the meat with corn flour for deep frying will ensure the meat is crispy even though after it is coated with the sauce. The meat will be less crisp (soggy) after coating with the sauce if wheat flour (i.e. the normal cake flour / pastry flour) is used.
- The meat pieces will stick together as cornflour is quite sticky and gooey. You can use a pair of chopsticks or a wooden spatula to separate the meat pieces in the deep fryer for the first one minute of deep frying.
- Turn off the heat before coating the meat with the sauce will help preserve the crispiness of the meat. It is best not to continue stir-frying the meat with the sauce, as the meat will lose its crispness rapidly.
Choice of ingredients
- The selection of vegetables - cucumber, capsicum, onion and pineapple is not only multicolor but provides a variety of taste and texture to the dish. It also makes this dish become very balance in nutritional point of view, as it is a complete dish with both protein, carbohydrate and lots of fiber.
- Cut the cucumber, capsicum, onion and pineapple to different shapes will greatly enhance the presentation of the dish.
- If you use canned pineapple, check sweetness of the pineapple. Some canned pineapples are sweetened that means you need to reduce the amount of sugar you use.
- I normally make the sweet and sour sauce in advance, usually in a larger batch. Keep it in separate containers so you only need to take it out from your freezer one portion when required.
- The amount of sauce you need is a very personal choice. In general, you can use any amount from 25g to 35g of sauce for every 100g of meat that you intend to cook.
- The three main constituents of the sweet and sour sauce are chili sauce, tomato ketchup, and plum sauce. You may find that the flavor of these ingredients can vary from one brand with another. The brand I use is as below, but by all means use any brands that you can find at where you live. You may need to adjust the amount to suit your taste buds to the desired sourness, spiciness and sweetness you wish to achieve. Let me know the outcome by putting your comment in the comment box at the bottom of this post.
- You may also use lime juice instead of lemon juice. There is no fixed formula for this, even though for the most authentic way to prepare it.
Lastly, serve immediately while the deep-fried meat is still crispy. Serve with white rice is a better choice than flavored rice or fried rice as Sweet And Sour Chicken is so flavorful!
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