Sweet & sour chicken

Sweet & sour chicken

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(64 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 breasts, 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, questions and tips

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12th Feb, 2013
Absolutely delicious!!!!!couldn't believe how good this tasted so much better than the Chinese!cant wait to make again!!!!!
17th Dec, 2012
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!
6th Dec, 2012
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!!
21st Nov, 2012
I'm gluten free, what substitute to self raising flour would you suggest me using?
21st Nov, 2012
I'm gluten free, what substitute to self raising flour would you suggest me using?
31st Oct, 2012
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.
1st Oct, 2012
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.
19th Sep, 2012
This was really, really good.
15th Aug, 2012
I absolutely loved this although my husband found the sauce a bit too hot! The chicken was delicious so perhaps next time I will use a sweet chili dipping sauce. This would probably work really well with pollack or monkfish and a tartare sauce.
13th Aug, 2012
Absolutely amazing. Family loved it and will be making it again and again.


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