Sweet & sour chicken

Sweet & sour chicken

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(58 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 45 mins


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

  • Sauce can be frozen


  • kcal654
  • fat20g
  • saturates3g
  • carbs82g
  • sugars50g
  • fibre2g
  • protein38g
  • salt0.57g
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  • sunflower or vegetable oil, for frying
  • 100ml soda water, chilled
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 25g cornflour
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • spring onions, finely shredded, to serve
    Spring onions

    Spring onion

    sp-ring un-yun

    Also known as scallions or green onions, spring onions are in fact very young onions, harvested…

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



    With its tuft of spiky, dusty green leaves and cross-hatched, golden orange skin, the pineapple…

  • 4 star anise
    Star anise

    Star anise

    star an-eese

    Star anise is one of the central spices in Chinese cooking. It has a strong anise flavour, with…

  • 50g tamarind paste



    A seed pod from the tamarind tree that is used extensively in South-East Asian and Indian…

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100ml rice wine vinegar or Chinese vinegar


  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.

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Comments (54)

star2501's picture

Gorgeous...will never get takeaway again!

peterraven's picture

Have never tasted better

steve2177's picture

Great flavours but far too spicy. Would only use 1 chilli in the sauce next time. Chicken was great but makes more than expected when battered.

sandrat12345's picture

nice but far too spicy.next time I would only use 1 chilli and the 1 star due to it's really over powering. I also added onion & some carrot.defo be making again.

nicks951's picture

Absolutely brilliant. The fried chicken stays crispy and the sauce has a really good sweet/sour balance.
Thanks John !

florence100's picture

Lovely recipe! Much better than a take~away. Will be a regular favourite.

heldeg's picture

i tried this really and all the family loved it

stellababe's picture

Excellent recipe, my 2 year old loves it even though he winces with each mouthful (it is spicy) but he goes back for more! Good way to introduce chinese food without the take-away to toddlers, you can add less chilli to your taste.

ally2607's picture

Very nice though I found it very spicy and found the flavour of the star anise very strong so on the second time of making it I only used 1 chilli and didn't add the star anise. I thought it tasted much better.

lisapointer's picture

Made this for dinner tonight, my husband loved It and prefered to the takeaway.

krjsheerin's picture

Just made this and I have to say that I am really impressed. Followed the recipe to the word and it turned out perfectly, will definitely be making again.

bethocallaghan's picture

Very successful - enjoyed this a lot.

scotty2hotty's picture

I made this last nite was the best recipe i have done on this site by far, folllowed everything the same apart from adding a finely chopped onion and 3 bulbs of garlic to the pepper and pineapple juice before blitzing, Very yummy,

dhracer's picture

This tasted absolutely amazing!! Will definitely be making this one a few times and it is pretty easy to make it with other meat (would probably be ok with battered tofu as well).

I made it with prawns instead of chicken and left out the star anise


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