How would you like to recreate your favourite Friday night takeaway sweet and sour at home? The sauce contains just six every day ingredients. Whisk them together, bubble up with some stir fried veggies and meat, and you’re done. Couldn’t be easier or tastier.
Am I right in saying that sweet and sour is one of those ‘love it or hate it’ sorts of foods?
It was always part of any Friday night Chinese takeaway we ordered when I was younger, and yet the last sweet and sour we ordered was just horrible. We tracked down a particular shop which had now moved to a decidedly dodgy area … and, it seemed, changed hands. This dish we used to love so much – and, sadly, all the others we ordered – was gloopy, insipid, and just plain dreary.
This only means one thing – time to come up with a simple homemade version!
And when I say simple, I really mean it. All you need to make your own innocent version of that oh-so-familiar orange-y red sauce is pineapple juice, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, a bit of cornflour … and humble ketchup!
All that making your sweet and sour chicken (or pork or prawns … why not?) involves is stir-frying your protein, followed by your veggies. Pour in your homemade sauce, let it bubble up and thicken a little, then add pineapple chunks (and cashew nuts if you like) virtually at the last minute. Serve over rice and you’ve got yourself a tasty Chinese takeaway-style favourite almost in the same time it would take you to pick up the phone and place your order.
I must be honest with you now. Mr. Scrummy wasn’t a big fan of this because he’d probably put himself in the ‘hate it’ camp when it comes to sweet and sour. Poor Mr. Scrummy. His wicked food blogger tyrant wife force feeding him things he doesn’t like strikes again.
Quick sweet and sour chicken
for the sauce
- 2 tablespoons cornflour
- 14 ounce pineapple juice (about 1 can)
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
rest of ingredients
- 14 ounces chicken breast chopped into small bitesize pieces
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- a thumb-width sized piece of ginger peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 green & 1 red pepper
- a handful each of baby sweetcorn & mange-tout optional
- 14 ounces pineapple roughly one can, chopped into chunks
- a handful of cashew nuts optional
In a jug or bowl, add a bit of the pineapple juice to the cornflour to make a runny paste, then whisk in the rest of the sauce ingredients. Put aside.
Stir fry the chicken in a little oil for a few minutes until cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add a little more oil to the pan, then stir fry the onion for a minute or two. Add the ginger, pepper pieces, and sweetcorn and mange-tout and stir fry on high for another few minutes.
Add the chicken back into the pan along with the sauce. Let bubble for half a minute or so before stirring through the pineapple, and cashew nuts if using.
Serve immediately over rice.
You can easily replace the chicken with pork or prawns if you prefer.
If you are hoping to save some of this for the next day, don’t stir the cashew nuts into the whole pan of food before serving it out. Instead, sprinkle them over each individual plate of food. Reheated cashew nuts = no bueno!
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