Once you’ve made my Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken you will never use a jar again! It is simple, delicious and you’ve probably got most of the ingredients in your cupboard already.
I’ve never been a fan of sweet and sour sauce from a jar. Apart from it tasting quite artificial in my opinion, I also don’t like the chunks of onion it has in it. But I do really like sweet and sour, and my favourite being sweet and sour Hong Kong style. I can’t claim that this is an authentic Chinese recipe, but it is what Chinese restaurants here call meat that is fried in a crisp batter and then added to sweet and sour sauce.
I couldn’t order a takeaway every time I fancied sweet and sour so I had to make it myself. I first started making my own sweet and sour back in my first year of uni. Zoe ; my foodie friend that you’ll know if you’re a regular to my blog, and I used to make a big batch of sweet and sour to freeze for quick a quick meal.
We used a John Torode recipe which we made using pork. The recipe then called for some deep frying action which although made the pork lovely and crisp, this effort seemed a little pointless because it softens when you add it to the sauce later. John Torode appears to have a few recipes for sweet and sour, all of which involve this frying step.
So for my adaptation, I decided to remove the frying step altogether. It was the most time consuming step of the recipe and added a lot more calories to the dish. Therefore I left this step out, swapped to chicken which I baked and also tweaked the sauce. And voilà, you have my Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken.
Baking the chicken gives the chicken the crisp exterior but without the extra hassle and calories. I recommend adding the baked chicken just before you serve because this will help keep the chicken at its crispest. You can definitely freeze this dish, but bear in mind the chicken will loose it’s crispiness but still be tasty.
Once you have made my Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken, I don’t think you will reach for a jar of sauce again. You know what is going into this sauce, there are no nasty preservatives and it really doesn’t take much effort at all. You could even skip the baked chicken stage and just brown the chicken in the pan before adding the sauce ingredients if you want to make it even quicker. Obviously I like the crisp chicken so if you have the time I would still bake the chicken.
I’ve used spring onions because I much prefer these, but if you want to dice up some normal white onion then please feel free to.
Serves 2 (add more chicken and you could stretch to 4)
For the marinade
2 chicken breasts, diced
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
1 garlic clove, minced
3cm piece of ginger, grated
For the sauce
2 tsp sunflower oil
2 gloves of garlic, minced
3cm piece of ginger, grated
2 large peppers
4 spring onions
2 tbsp ketchup
4 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp light brown sugar
300g pineapple chunks/ slices – keep the juice
2 tbsp pineapple juice
1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp pineapple juice
Sprinkle of sesame seeds
1 spring onion, chopped
- Dice the chicken breast into chunks and add to a bowl along with the rest of the marinade ingredients. Leave to marinade for 15 minutes
- After the chicken has marinated, drain it
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC fan (200ºC non fan) and line a baking tray with a silicon mat or baking paper
- Add the cornflour to a shallow dish and coat the chicken in the cornflour. Make sure each piece is completed coated, but tap off any excess cornflour. Place the chicken on the prepared baking tray
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes before turning the chicken and cooking for another 10 minutes
- While the chicken is baking, make the sauce by chopping the peppers and spring onions and mincing the garlic and ginger
- Add the oil to a pan on a medium heat before adding the peppers, spring onions, garlic and ginger. Let soften for around 10 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients
- Cook on a medium heat until the sauce has thickened and turns glossy. If you prefer the sauce to be a bit thicker, mix the cornflour with one tablespoon of pineapple juice to help thicken the sauce
- Once the chicken has cooked and just before you are going to serve, add it to the sauce and stir through to make sure it is all coated in the sauce
- Serve with rice and top with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and spring onions