Donal Skehan recipe: Sweet and sour chicken

Serves: 4
Course: Main Course
Cooking Time: 0 hr 50 mins
  • <ul><li/><li>4 free range chicken breasts, diced in 1in pieces
  • 1 tbsp of rice wine
  • 1 tbsp of light soy sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • Sunflower oil for frying
  • 1 green pepper, cut in 1in squares
  • 1 red pepper, cut in 1in squares
  • 6 spring onions, sliced diagonally in 1in pieces
  • Boiled rice to serve
  • For the sauce:
  • 300ml of chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • A generous pinch of white pepper
  • 4 tbsp Chinese white rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp water

Few Chinese takeaway dishes are more instantly recognisable in Ireland – and around the world – as sweet and sour chicken. Although its origins are widely debated, with some claiming Chinese-American roots and others dating it to the Qing Dynasty, the dish has stood the test of time.

I have suggested using chicken breasts in this recipe but if you can find some boneless, skinless chicken thighs, they would add a more meaty flavour.

If you want to go all-out retro, add a pineapple chunks, although I am sure it would make many a Chinese cook cry.

Time: 50 minutes

Serves 4

Combine with the rice wine and soy sauce in a bowl and leave to marinade for 20 minutes. In a clean bowl, whisk together the egg and cornflour until evenly combined, resulting in a smooth batter.

Coat each piece of chicken in the batter and then shallow fry in a frying pan filled with 2ins of sunflower oil over a medium heat, until they are golden brown and cooked all the way through. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

For the sauce: in a medium saucepan over a high heat, combine the chicken stock, soy sauce, salt, rice vinegar, caster sugar and tomato purée. When the mixture reaches boiling point, lower the heat slightly and add in the peppers and spring onions. Cook for four minutes until the vegetables are tender.

In a small glass or cup, mix the cornflour and water and then add this to the saucepan.

Add in the fried chicken and mix through to heat. Serve with boiled rice.