Sweet and Sour chicken is arguably one of the most popular Chinese dishes in the United States. It’s loved for it’s crispy fried chicken or pork pieces tossed in the most lovely sauce that will not only open your sinuses, but will also satisfy any sweet tooth!
Just as most classic take-out recipes, it’s hard to find a go-to recipe and not to mention, one that is healthy and easy to make in your own kitchen. But hey, where there is a will there is a way, This cleaned-up rendition (although far from authentic) is extremely satisfying and full of all a lot of the same classic ingredients to at least curb your craving for takeout!
The origin of sweet and sour chicken was in the 18th century or even earlier from China. It spread to the United States in the early 20th century after the Chinese migrant gold miners and railroad workers turned to cookery as trades. In some countries, the dish is known as Ku lo yuk. (Source: Taste Asian Food) Traditionally, pork is used, but to keep things more simple I’ve used chicken here. Subsequently, the deep fried pieces of protein are coated with the sweet and sour sauce that consists of ketchup, chili sauce, plum sauce, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Some versions of sweet and sour sauce contain vinegar instead of plum sauce, which is exactly what I’ve done here to keep things Paleo compliant.
Here, I have made my Sweet and Sour chicken in one pot, or wok I should say, making it easy to whip up on a weeknight. Goodful, a BuzzFeed brand, recently launched their new line of cookware and kitchen products at Macy’s and I am really loving it all! They are made simply so that all levels of cooks can enjoy them in their own kitchens and live more intentionally. The wok that I used here is a great wok to use with everyday weeknight stir-fry’s like I have here. I love making stir fry’s on a busy weeknight because they are easy to make, full of flavor and you can really pack it full of protein and veggies. I really am enjoying the new Goodful wok because it is non-stick (making it easy to use) and a great price point!
This Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe uses only clean, real ingredients but it is still super easy to make. The best part? My whole entire family devoured it! My 3 and 5 year old said it was “such yummy chicken” which, yes, makes a Mama really happy! I think the sweet pineapple chunks tossed in the savory, sour sauce is what sold them. I hope you all love it as much as my family does!
- 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp avocado or olive oil
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (can sub cornstarch but not paleo)
- 3 tbsp white vinegar
- 1/4 cup ketchup (I use Primal Kitchen's unsweetened ketchup)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp coconut aminos (you can use tamari or soy sauce here if you are not eating paleo)
- 2 tbsp pineapple juice, from a can of pineapple chunks
- 1.5 cups red bell pepper, medium diced (or 1 small bell pepper)
- 1.5 cups green bell pepper, medium diced (or 1 small green bell pepper)
- 1 cup white onion, medium diced (or half a medium white onion)
- 1 cup pineapple chunks from the can, drained from the can
- 4 scallions cut into 1 inch pieces (green parts only), for serving
- steamed white rice or cauliflower rice, for serving
- Place chicken breasts on a cutting board and cover with saran wrap or parchment paper. Using a meat mallet or bottom of a skillet, pound the meat until it is a uniform 1/4 inch thick. Discard the saran wrap, then cut the chicken into 1/2 inch cubes.
- Place the cubed chicken in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of the avocado oil, toasted sesame oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Toss to coat.
- In a bowl, combine all the "For the sauce" ingredients and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
- Add the arrowroot to chicken and toss to coat. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. In batches, spread chicken in a single layer in the bottom of the skillet and sear both sides of the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, approximately 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer cooked chicken onto a plate and set aside. Continue browning the chicken, in batches, until all the chicken is browned and cooked through. Once all the chicken is browned, set aside.
- Add the bell peppers, onions and pineapple to the skillet (if your skillet looks dry add a little extra oil to help cook the veggies). Saute, stirring, until veggies are tender yet not still have a bit of a bite to them and not soggy, about 4 minutes.
- Add the cooked chicken and any of it's juices back into the skillet along with the sauce. Cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Serve with steamed rice or cauliflower rice.