Sweet & sour chicken

Sweet & sour chicken

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(47 ratings)

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Cooking time

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 45 mins

Skill level

Easy

Servings

Serves 4

Try an authentic version of this classic Chinese takeaway dish, with natural sweetness and a warm chilli flavour to spice things up

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Sauce can be frozen
Nutrition info

Nutrition

kcalories
654
protein
38g
carbs
82g
fat
20g
saturates
3g
fibre
2g
sugar
50g
salt
0.57g

Ingredients

  • sunflower or vegetable oil, for frying
  • 100ml soda water, chilled
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 25g cornflour
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • spring onions, finely shredded, to serve

For the sauce

  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped into chunks
  • 3 red chillies, 1 cut into chunks, 2 halved and deseeded
  • 425g can pineapple chunks, drained and juice reserved
  • 4 star anise
  • 50g tamarind paste
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100ml rice wine vinegar or Chinese vinegar

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Method

  1. For the sauce, put the red pepper, chunks of chilli and pineapple juice in a pan and bring to the boil. Cover and cook for 10 mins, then purée in a food processor. Return to the pan with the pineapple chunks, chilli halves, star anise, tamarind, sugar and vinegar. Gently simmer for 20-30 mins until reduced and sticky. Keep warm, or reheat to serve.
  2. Fill a large pan 1cm deep with oil and heat until shimmering. Whisk the soda water and 100ml cold water into the self-raising flour with a little salt. Tip the cornflour onto a plate, line a tray with kitchen paper and turn on the oven to low.
  3. Stir the batter well. Dust the chicken with cornflour, then dip into the batter. One at a time, lower into the hot oil (about 5-6 every batch). Turn up the heat to keep the chicken frying, if needed, and cook for 5-6 mins, turning once. When cooked, drain on the tray, and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Stack onto a plate with the warm sauce on the side, and scatter with shredded spring onions.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, March 2010

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Comments

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alicestewart's picture
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The sauce is delicious, after reading comments i left out the tamarind and replaced it with ketchup. I served it as a main with noodles! won't be ordering this from the takeaway again, a real winner!

pauleastham's picture

All good, but I found the tamarind paste made the sauce go a muddy colour. I leave it out now.

julie_ness's picture
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This recepie was a BIG hit with the family, bearing in mind my partner is an extremely fussy eater.

Just made a few adjustments:
I didnt have any Tamarind Paste so replaced this with Ketchup, roughly 1 tablespoon.
Instead of making the chicken balls I cut up two chicken breasts & fried them for roughly 10 minutes then added them to the sauce to cook for aprox 30 minutes.

Next time I will use Tamarind Sauce & attempt the chicken balls.

3 chillies definitely give it a good kick so if you dont like your food spicy then it might be worth trying it with 2 chillies instead.

Enjoy :)

mrsmammy's picture

Two out of three of us loved this recipe, the other said he enjoyed it but would prefer less star anise next time - cut by half probably. I followed this recipe to the letter and would make again.

ellenandandy's picture

We really enjoyed this recipe-made it for friends a few times. The tamarind, chili and star anise are nice together with the sweetness of the sauce. If you like sweet and sour sauce-I would def recommend making it.

cheekynieki's picture
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Not sure if something went wrong, but we didn't really enjoy this. The sauce was very sweet and we didn't like the batter. Won't be making this again.

cheekynieki's picture
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Maybe I didn't cook it properly, but it wasn't for me. The sauce was very sweet, too sweet and the batter for the chicken wasn't very nice. I think we will stick with takeaway Chinese.

sarahclooney's picture
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I don't understand what I am doing wrong but I have tried twice now and the sauce just turns a horrible brown colour is really sour and inedible. I was using rice vinegar instead of rice wine vinegar the first time but even with that corrected it is still awful.

simbasurrey's picture
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Absolutely gorgeous. Made it without the chilli and star anise and added a bit of ketchup to the sauce. Easy to make and my 2 year old loved it!

lynnymac's picture

This outshines any Chinese restaurant variety. My family loved it.... From my 15 year old son to my 81 yr old mother!!
Would def only use 1 star anise It's a very overpowering flavour!

vaneyk's picture
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I made a few small changes. I skinned the red paprika and chili, because I didn't like all the bits of skin in the sauce. Instead of tamarind paste I added 2 tablespoons of ketjap (soy sauce), 2 tablespoons of ketchup, and I substituted brown sugar for the white sugar. I thickened the sauce with cornflour, because after 30 min of simmering it was still a bit too runny. I added stir fried garlic, spring onions and green paprika to the finished sauce to add a bit more veges. The chicken was a bit bland, so I sprinkled it with salt as soon as it came out of the deep fryer.

janemhankinson's picture

Beautiful recipe! Never again will we eat take away so easy! Only downside is my house smelt like a fish and chip shop for 2 days after! Well worth it though. I am making it for 15 on sat....

claireydryds's picture
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Absolutely delicious!!!!!couldn't believe how good this tasted so much better than the Chinese!cant wait to make again!!!!!

emz1981's picture
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I have used this recipe 3 times as it's so good. The batter really is amazing when you use the soda water, makes it so light. Thanks!

lulu_lala's picture
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I made this recipe tonight and it tasted great! I replaced the tamarind with ketchup because at the last minute I realised I'd ran out of tamarind...anyway, a dollop of ketchup worked well as a replacement (I guessed it wouldn't make much difference because tamarind is such a delicate flavour anyway). Absolutely vital to use the star anise, which really makes this dish. Big fan of John Torodes!!

ariella91's picture

I'm gluten free, what substitute to self raising flour would you suggest me using?

ariella91's picture

I'm gluten free, what substitute to self raising flour would you suggest me using?

wilow_398's picture
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Amazing!! Will be making this again for sure but next time I might make the sauce in advance so I only have the chicken and rice to worry about.

ceebee56's picture
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Very very nice, although I adapted it quite a bit. I didnt have red pepper or red chillies, so used green (out of the garden). No star anise or tamarind paste, so left those out. And used beer in the batter instead of soda water. But really successful. And delicious.

siobhanm's picture
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This was really, really good.

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