Better Than Takeout Sweet and Sour Chicken
I couldn’t resist hopping back in the kitchen to create another Chinese takeout-inspired dish! Last week I shared some ridiculously good orange chicken and now I’m back with a killer recipe for sweet and sour chicken! I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a huge fan of the sweet and tangy flavor of sweet and sour chicken. It’s something I’ve always wanted to try making at home but never realized how easy it could be. Let me tell you, not only is this recipe incredibly simple, but it tastes 100x better than takeout.
If you don’t believe me, I’m going to have to challenge you to make it yourself and see! It really is delicious! Let’s get started, shall we? First things first, preheat your oven to 325 degrees, lightly spray a 9×13 inch glass pan, set aside. We’re baking the chicken after it has been fried to help thicken the sauce and make the chicken extra tender. This step makes a huge difference in the taste and the texture of the dish! Next get your veggies all chopped up. They can be nice and coarse, big chunks are what we’re going for. Growing up we never had sweet and sour chicken with pineapple in it, but if you want to add it to the mix, you’ll want to drain a small can of pineapple chunks and have it ready along with the vegetables.
To make the sauce, in a medium size mixing bowl (or a 2 c. measuring cup), whisk together the ketchup, brown sugar, Sriracha, oyester sauce, worcestershire, rice vinegar, chicken stock, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Make sure to include all of these ingredients as they are all necessary to create that classic sweet and sour flavor (and as a side note, I’ve found that rice vinegar is by far better than apple cider vinegar in this recipe, I know that there are versions with that in it, but I think the apple cider vinegar has a strong aftertaste). Set the mixture aside and chop up your chicken into 1″ cubes.
It’s important to make sure that both your chicken and eggs are at room temperature. Frying with cold ingredients is not only dangerous but can result in tough stringy meat. Dip the cubed chicken into the eggs, then place into a ziplock bag along with 3/4 c. of cornstarch. If you have corn allergies I’ve found that tapioca flour is a great substitute for cornstarch. If you like tempura-style chicken, you can add a little bit of baking powder to the cornstarch to create extra pillowy little chicken nuggets. Place in the chicken (in batches) into the hot vegetable oil (I used my Le Creuset dutch oven) and fry for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and place into a paper towel lined plate to drain. When all of your chicken has been fried, place it into the prepared baking dish along with the chopped veggies (and pineapple if desired).
Stir in the 1 tsp. of cornstarch into the sauce and pour it over your chicken and vegetables, tossing gently to coat. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 50 minutes, stirring every 15 or so to keep the chicken coated and to prevent sticking. Remove it from the oven and serve it immediately!
This sweet and sour chicken was so much better than any takeout we could have ordered! Plus I loved that I knew what was going into it and had control over how it was prepared. Sometimes that makes all the difference! I know the pictures don’t quite do it justice (Chinese food is incredibly difficult to photograph!) but I hope you’ll give this better than takeout sweet and sour chicken at try, because I think you’re going to love it!!!
- ½ c. ketchup
- 3 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. Sriracha
- 1 tsp. oyster sauce
- 1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
- 3 tbsp. rice vinegar
- ¾ c. chicken stock
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- dash of red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
- 1½ lbs boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cut into 1" chunks
- ¾ c. cornstarch or tapioca flour
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 c. vegetable oil
- ¼ onion, chopped into chunks
- ½ red bell pepper, chopped into chunks
- ½ green bell pepper, chopped into chunks
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees, lightly spray a 9x13 inch glass pan, set aside.
- In a medium size mixing bowl (or a 2 c. measuring cup), whisk together the ketchup, brown sugar, Sriracha, oyester sauce, worcestershire, rice vinegar, chicken stock, black pepper, and red pepper flakes, set aside.
- Place the cubes of chicken into a bowl with the whisked eggs, toss the chicken (taking care to let the egg drip off it) into a large ziplock bag full of the cornstarch. Zip and shake until evenly coated.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven. Working in batches (3-4), add the chicken and fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
- Add the fried chicken to the prepared 9x13 pan. Whisk the cornstarch into the sauce and pour over the chicken, add the chopped vegetables and stir to coat. Place in the oven and bake uncovered for 50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Remove and serve immediately.
-Please make sure to fry room temperature chicken! It will not only keep the chicken tender will allow the breading to adhere both during and after the frying process. If you have egg allergies, you can omit the eggs and add 1 tsp. of baking powder to the cornstarch in the ziplock bag.
Recipe source: Life Made Simple