Come and see how to make it just like in the restaurants! Come and see how to make it just like in the restaurants! Recipe for how to make plus the delicious sweet and sour sauce

Authentic Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken. Come and see how to make it just like in the restaurants! Chinese food at it's best!

Authentic Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken is a delicious Chinese recipe and great for any occasion whether it's a weekday dinner or a lovely dinner party with family and friends.

The trick with making any Chinese food and it's guaranteed success is to prepare everything beforehand.

You need to get all your ingredients together, chopped, diced, marinated, sauces prepared in little bowls, absolutely everything that belongs in a recipe must be at hand when you fire your wok up to inferno temperatures!

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The idea is to cook everything very quickly, on a high heat, so that all the juices, natural vitamins and minerals are sealed for maximum flavour and goodness.

Not only are flavors and nutrients important in Chinese cooking, but texture also carries high importance.

What is Sweet and Sour chicken?

In this dish, you have the crispy coating of the chicken in contrast to the soft velvety texture of the actual chicken breast, then crunchy peppers.

Sweet and Sour Chicken has a unique flavour of sweet and sour.

The sweetness of the pineapple juice and sugar, contrasts with the sourness of the vinegar.

Who would have thought this combination of flavors would work?!

But it does, as Sweet and Sour Chicken is one of the top most popular Cantonese dishes in the world!

This dish is a great one to serve alongside a few other Chinese dishes, such as at Chinese New Year.

We've got a lovely selection of Chinese recipes.

Or you could simply serve this with some delicious Garlic Fried Rice. It's a very quick and easy recipe and so popular!

What can I use instead of chicken?

If you don't want to use chicken, you can use Tofu, and make it vegetarian sweet and sour.

The best type is the deep-fried cubes you can get as they will hold their shape better (no need to coat in cornflour), or you can use pork fillet, or a white fish, such as cod.

Just remember to adjust cooking times according to what you use.

What vegetables can I use instead of peppers?

For the vegetables, it's traditional to use bell peppers and onions.

However, if you want to use zucchini, carrots etc, feel free.

For our recipe today, we've used the ingredients you would normally get in a Chinese restaurant.

However, we have made this using zucchini before as you see in the photo below, and that was tasty too!

Authentic Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken. Come and see how to make it just like in the restaurants! Chinese food at it's best!

So lets go on a foodie heaven journey and explore this wonderful authentic Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken dish.

It will delight all that try it and amaze your friends with how authentically you can cook this dish!

There are a few processes that need to be done to make this dish so we've broken it down into making the sauce, coating the chicken, cooking the chicken and then bringing it all together.

Just follow the steps and enjoy your dinner!

TOP TIPS

1. You need a wok!

2. Get all your ingredients prepared and ready for the wok before you start cooking anything.

3. Serve with a bowl of Thai fragrant rice...mmmmm delicious! You can learn how to cook rice if you're not sure.

4. When you are ready for serving, don't hang around!

The food must be served as soon as it comes out of the wok, for maximum taste and texture.

5. Quantities for vegetables can be as much or little as you wish.

You can also change the vegetables to suit you, but the vegetables I have used here are the traditional ones you would find for this dish.

6. Trust me, 2 chicken breasts will be more than enough for 4 persons...even the die hard Flinstone meat eater in your family will be full after this dish!

7. Have some kitchen roll in the house and a bowl of hot soapy water.

8. Do not be overwhelmed by all the instructions! Take each stage step by step and it will go smoothly.

The care and time you take to make this dish will be reflected in the end result!

Ingredients

For the meat

2 chicken breast fillets
Enough vegetable oil to fill your pan 1 inch deep. I use a wide wok and so about 1 cup of vegetable oil was used.
A few sheets of kitchen paper

The marinade

1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
2 Teaspoons Chinese Rice wine
1 egg white beaten (save the yolk for the coating below)

The coating

4 cups or 500 g cornflour/cornstarch
2 eggs plus the yolk leftover from the marinade above. Beaten

Other ingredients

1 Red pepper
1 Green pepper
1 Onion
6 Pineapple rings (use canned in own juice and not syrup)
1 knob of fresh ginger, 1 inch
2 spring onions/scallions
1 tablespoon Vegetable oil

The sweet and sour sauce

3 Tablespoons cornflour / cornstarch
The juice from the can of pineapples
4 Tablespoons sugar
4 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 pineapple ring cut into 4 pieces
1 Tablespoon tomato puree
Hot water, enough when combined with your pineapple juice to make up a total of 1 pint or 2 1/2 cups or 0.6 quart

Instructions

The main thing we need to do is get everything ready before we start cooking.

You will get a bit messy when preparing the chicken, but if you've got a cloth and hot soapy water then you have no need to worry!

Preparing the meat

1. Cut the chicken breasts into bite-size pieces, about half the length of your thumb.

2. In a bowl, add all the marinade ingredients EXCEPT the beaten egg white.

Keep this in a separate bowl for now as we will use this for 'velveting' the chicken to give it a lovely soft texture and bite.

3. Add the meat to the marinade and leave for 20 minutes.

Chicken with marinade and egg white
Chicken with marinade and egg white

Prepare the vegetables

Get a plate ready to put all your prepared vegetables on.

1. These should be bite size pieces, so the peppers, I usually cut in half, remove the seeds and pith from inside, then cut into squares, about 2 cm wide / long.

2. The onion, cut into quarters or eighths, and separate each layer so they will cook evenly.

3. The spring onions / scallions, chop into little 1/2 cm pieces and keep separate from the rest of your vegetables.

4. The ginger, peel (I just scrape the skin off with a knife) and chop finely.

Prepare the sauce

1. Add all the ingredients EXCEPT the hot water into a measuring jug. Mix well so the cornflour has combined.

2. Add the hot water to make up the liquid mixture to total 1 pint or 1 1/2 cups or 0.6 quart. (see photo below)

sweet and sour sauce from scratch

3. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and bring to a simmer.

The sauce will thicken as the starch cooks, and you will notice a change in colour to a deeper orange/red.

Make sure you keep stirring to avoid any lumps.

heated sweet and sour sauce

4. When thick enough (consistency of yogurt) turn off the heat. As the cornstarch thickens and cooks, the sauce will turn a deeper reddy orange.

heated sweet and sour sauce
See how the color turns a deeper red once it is heated

NOTE: You will need to taste the sauce for the right amount of sugar or vinegar.

Some prefer a sharper tasting sauce, and some sweet, so add more sugar or vinegar to suit your preference.

The measurements I have given are a rough guide for you.

Coat the chicken

This is the coating method, so this is where things could get a bit messy!
You need 2 shallow dishes and a flat plate or baking tray.

1. Add the beaten egg white into the chicken meat marinade and mix well, making sure every piece of chicken is coated with the egg white. Use your fingers!

2. Put the 2 beaten eggs and the 1 egg yolk left over from the chicken marinade in a shallow dish and beat lightly.

3. In another shallow dish weigh out the cornstarch /cornflour (500g / 4 cups)

4. Heavily cover a baking tray or large dish with cornflour or flour. (this will be used to put the chicken pieces on, once they are coated.

5. Now you need to set up a mini production line, egg dish, then flour dish, then the plate/baking tray. (see photo below).

Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken, coating the chicken strips

6. Coat the pieces of chicken in egg,

Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken, coating chicken in egg

then in the flour, pushing the flour all over, making sure it sticks to the meat.

Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken, coating in cornflour, cornstarch

Repeat egg & flour coat one more time then place on the plate/baking tray, making sure not to overlap the chicken on the plate.

Make sure your plate is well floured otherwise the meat will stick to the plate and all your coating will come off!

Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken, coated chicken
coated chicken

Cooking the meat

1. Heat the oil. Test the temperature by putting a little bit of the flour in. If it sizzles to the top, it's hot enough.

2. Place the pieces of chicken in the oil, turn after a few minutes or when light golden brown, and do the same on the other side.

Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken, cooking the chicken in oil

Remove onto kitchen paper when done (see below photos).

Take care not to overlap the chicken pieces in the tray.

Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken, draining oil off chicken

You may have to cook the chicken in batches if you are using a small pan.

Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken, showing chicken draining on kitchen paper after frying

Bringing the recipe together

This process will only take 5-10 minutes so start it just before you are ready to eat.

You don't want this dish to sit around too long as the chicken will lose its crispiness.

1. Heat up the sauce from earlier until starting to bubble, stir to avoid lumps.

2. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to your wok and heat on a high temperature.

3. Add ginger and mix into the oil.

4. Add all the other ingredients from your prepared vegetable plate EXCEPT the scallions/spring onions (they will go slimy & soft if you cook them now).

Stir fry all ingredients until semi-soft.

You can test a pepper yourself to see if it is to your preference.

5. Add the chicken pieces and stir/mix into the vegetable.

Make sure your wok is on the highest heat possible.

Take care not to damage the coating when you are mixing it all together.


I find it easiest to use chopsticks in one hand and a wide spatula in the other to turn and toss the food in a wok, however, 2 spatulas will work too if you aren't confident with the chopsticks!

6. Add the heated sauce into the stir fry and mix well so that all the chicken, vegetables are coated with the sauce.

Authentic Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken. Come and see how to make it just like in the restaurants! Chinese food at it's best!

7. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the scallions/spring onions over your creation.

Authentic Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken. Come and see how to make it just like in the restaurants! Chinese food at it's best!

8. Serve with a lovely bowl of hot Fragrant Jasmine Rice and give yourself ONE HUGE PAT ON THE BACK for making one of the most popular Cantonese dishes in the world!

We'd love to hear from you and what you thought of our post. Did you make any changes or add some other goodies? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and happy cooking!

Authentic Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken. Come and see how to make it just like in the restaurants! Chinese food at it's best!

Recipe Card

Authentic Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken. Come and see how to make it just like in the restaurants! Chinese food at it's best!

Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Come and see how to
make it just like in the restaurants! Come and see how to make it just like in
the restaurants! Recipe for how to make plus the delicious sweet and sour sauce

Ingredients

For the meat

  • 2 chicken breast fillets
  • inch Enough vegetable oil to fill your pan 1 deep. I use a wide wok and so about 1 cup of vegetable oil was used.
  • A few sheets of kitchen paper

The marinade

  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 Teaspoons Chinese Rice wine
  • 1 egg white beaten, save the yolk for the coating below

The coating

  • 500 g or 4 cups cornflour / cornstarch
  • 2 eggs plus the yolk left over from the marinade above. Beaten

Other ingredients

  • 1 Red pepper
  • 1 Green pepper
  • 1 Onion
  • 6 in Pineapple rings, use canned own juice and not syrup
  • 1 inch knob of fresh ginger, 1
  • 2 spring onions / scallions
  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil

The sauce

  • 3 Tablespoons cornflour / cornstarch
  • The juice from the can of pineapples
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 pieces pineapple ring cut into 4
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato puree
  • pint Hot water, enough when combined with your pineapple juice to make up a total of 1 or 2 1/2 cups or 0.6 quart

Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken breasts into bite-size pieces, about half the length of your thumb.
  2. In a bowl, add all the marinade ingredients EXCEPT the beaten egg white. Keep this in a separate bowl for now. Add the meat to the marinade and leave for 20 minutes.

Prepare the vegetables.

  1. Get a plate ready to put all your prepared vegetables on. These should be bite size pieces, so the peppers, I usually cut in half, remove the seeds and pith from inside, then cut into squares, about 2 cm wide/long.
  2. The onion, cut into quarters or eighths and separate each layer so they will cook evenly.
  3. The spring onions/scallions, chop into little 1/2 cm pieces and keep separate from the rest of your vegetables.
  4. The ginger, peel (I just scrape the skin off with a knife), and chop finely.

Prepare the sauce.

  1. Add all the ingredients EXCEPT the hot water into a measuring jug. Mix well so the cornflour has combined. Add the hot water to make up the liquid mixture to total 1 pint or 1 1/2 cups or 0.6 quart.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. The sauce will thicken as the starch cooks, and you will notice a change in color to a deeper orange/red. Make sure you keep stirring to avoid any lumps.
  3. When thick enough (consistency of yogurt) turn off the heat.


Coat the chicken

  1. You need 2 shallow dishes and a flat plate or baking tray.
  2. Add the beaten egg white into the chicken meat marinade and mix well, making sure every piece of chicken is coated with the egg white. Use your fingers!
  3. Put the 2 beaten eggs and the 1 egg yolk leftover from the chicken marinade in a shallow dish and beat lightly.
  4. In another shallow dish weigh out the cornstarch /cornflour (500g / 4 cups)
  5. Heavily cover a baking tray or large dish with cornflour or flour. (this will be used to put the chicken pieces on, once they are coated.
  6. Now you need to set up a mini production line, egg dish, then flour dish, then the plate / baking tray.
  7. Coat the pieces of chicken in egg, then in the flour, pushing the flour all over, making sure it sticks to the meat. Repeat egg & flour coat one more time then place on the plate / baking tray, making sure not to overlap the chicken on the plate. Make sure your plate is well floured otherwise the meat will stick to the plate and all your coating will come off!

Cooking the meat

  1. Heat the oil. Test the temperature by putting a little bit of the flour in. If it sizzles to the top, it's hot enough.
  2. Place the pieces of chicken in the oil, turn after a few minutes or when light golden brown, and do the same on the other side. Remove onto kitchen paper when done. Take care not to overlap the chicken pieces in the tray. You may have to cook the chicken in batches if you are using a small pan.

Bringing the recipe together

This process will only take 5-10 minutes so start it just before you are ready to eat. You don't want this dish to sit around too long as the chicken will lose its crispiness.

  1. Heat up the sauce from earlier until starting to bubble, stir to avoid lumps.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to your wok and heat at a high temperature. Add ginger and mix it into the oil.
  3. Add all the other ingredients from your prepared vegetable plate EXCEPT the scallions/spring onions (they will go slimy & soft if you cook them now). Stir fry all ingredients until semi soft. You can test a pepper yourself to see if it is to your preference.
  4. Add the chicken pieces and stir/mix them into the vegetables. Make sure your wok is on the highest heat possible. Take care not to damage the coating when you are mixing it all together.
  5. I find it easiest to use chopsticks in one hand and a wide spatula in the other to turn and toss the food in a wok, however, 2 spatulas will work too if you aren't confident with the chopsticks!
  6. Add the heated sauce into the stir fry and mix well so that all the chicken, vegetables are coated with the sauce.
  7. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the scallions/spring onions over your creation.
  8. Serve with a lovely bowl of hot Fragrant Jasmine Rice and give yourself ONE HUGE PAT ON THE BACK for making one of the most popular Cantonese dishes in the world!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1116Total Fat: 55gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 46gCholesterol: 151mgSodium: 1139mgCarbohydrates: 138gFiber: 4gSugar: 40gProtein: 17g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate

Delicious Chinese Recipes

Here's a great selection of Chinese appetizers and meals for parties, buffets, snacks, banquets

Leave a Reply to Kathleen

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27 thoughts shared

  1. In the recipe for cantonese sweet and sour chicken, it states 4 cups of ( cornflour/cornstarch).
    It does not specifically state how much of each? Or, is thete actually a cornstarch/cornflour pre mixed together bag one can buy? I have never heard of such a thing, so can someone please tell me, just how should i interpret this?
    Thank you so much!
    Kathleen

    1. Hi Kathleen, sorry if you’ve got confused, cornflour and cornstarch are the same. Cornflour is what it’s called in Europe and cornstarch in the US! Hope that helps

  2. Comment author image

    Vita Davidson

    says:

    OK, you said we need 6 rings of pineapple, but what to do with 5 rings , because i see for the sauce need only 1 pineapple ring cut in 4 pieces.

    1. Hi Vita, the remaining pineapple pieces, you cut into bite sized pieces, so maybe 4-6 pieces each ring? and then add them at the same time you do the vegetables part. Hope this clears it up for you.
      If you need any more help, let me know!
      Mary

      1. Comment author image

        Vita Davidson

        says:

        Thank you very much Mary(ENJOY YOUR RECIPES A LOT) made it last night and came out just delicious!

      2. Wow! That makes me very happy to hear you enjoyed it so much! It is a recipe from my mother, who is chinese, so it’s like a ‘family’ recipe. thank you Vita!

  3. This is also one of my favorite dishes—and the trick with “have everything ready” in little bowls, etc…I do that with ALL my recipes! You forget nothing and the food prep flows so nicely

    1. Hi Michele, I’m glad you like the recipe! There is a substitute for puree, you can use tomato ketchup, if you don’t mind about additives, but you will need to taste the sauce as you go along as the ketchup already has sugars and vinegar in it. (The puree is used mainly as a ‘natural’ colouring agent, and not really used for it’s flavour as it doesn’t contain artifical colourings & E numbers etc.)
      Let us know how your dish turns out, I am sure you will love it :)

  4. Comment author image

    Cynthia Landrie

    says:

    I have never made sweet and sour chicken at home. I don’t know why, it is one of my favorites.

    I love your tip about having everything ready! It is so true! A recipe can easily be ruined when you have to take a minute or two to find an ingredient or chop something up! Thanks for reminding me of that!

    Thank you for linking to the In and Out of the Kitchen party! I look forward to seeing what you bring next week!

    1. Thanks Cynthia. Please let me know if you get round to making this dish. (Even the sauce alone goes nice with sausages just in case you didn’t want to make the whole kaboodle!)

  5. Comment author image

    Abigail Raines

    says:

    Love your recipe! I use the same sauce and same coating in my Sweet and Sour Chicken too but I must say your chicken looks much better! Wonderful!

  6. This is pretty awesome, and I like how you’ve detailed everything so nicely in the recipe share.

    I’m visiting today from Let’s Get Social Sunday.