Sweet and sour chicken is a top favourite of the Chinese takeaway aficionado; tender chicken coated in light batter and served with that tantalizing sweet sour sauce and some crunchy stir fried vegetables. If your family loves sweet and sour chicken it is easy enough to make at home and then you can choose exactly which vegetables to use.
Once you have made a sweet and sour sauce you can use it for other dishes too, as a dip or with other stir fry recipes and you can vary it until you have exactly the sweet/sour ratio that you like best
Recipe for Sweet and Sour Chicken
3 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
groundnut oil for deep-frying
85g / 3oz plain flour
1 tablspoon cornflour
½ teaspoon fine salt
200ml chilled sparkling mineral water
1 red pepper sliced
1 large carrot cut into batons
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger root
1 quantity sweet and sour sauce from the recipe below
Cut the chicken into bite-size chunks and mix together with the soy sauce and sesame oil. Get the oil ready in a deep pan or deep fryer and set it to heat.
Make the tempura batter just as you are ready to cook: quickly sift the flour, cornflour and salt together in a large bowl, then whisk in the sparkling mineral water until all is combined. It doesn’t matter if there are still a few lumps, don’t overbeat it. Use it immediately.
Dip a few pieces of chicken into the batter and then put in the hot oil straight away using a slotted spoon or tongs. Fry for two minutes until golden and crisp. You will have to do this in several batches, so as not to overcrowd the pan. Lift each batch out onto a paper lined plate to drain and keep warm.
Heat a wok then put about 3 tablespoons of oil in and stir fry the carrots, pepper, garlic and ginger for three minutes or so. Pour the sweet and sour sauce in and keep stir frying until the sauce has thickened and is light and glossy. Briefly toss the cooked chicken pieces with the sauce and serve on a bed of rice.
Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe
1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons rice wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
125 ml / ½ cup chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon tomato puree or tomato ketchup
2 tablespoons cornflour
Blend together all the ingredients. Bring to the boil in a small saucepan and simmer until the mixture thickens. If you are using this as part of the sweet and sour chicken recipe you don’t need to cook this separately, but can add the blended ingredients straight into the stir fry. Use this recipe as a guide to work out you own favourite sweet and sour sauce; you might like it sweeter or with more tomato.
Feel like eating sweet and sour chicken or other Chinese food cooked by the professionals tonight? Try one of the great Chinese restaurants in Nottingham.