From time to time it comes up that I just don’t want to cook dinner (and even the lazy dinner secret of a bowl of cereal won’t do) my husband and I tend to order Chinese take out food. It is possible to have it be healthy, and out in the sticks it’s one of the only easy choices. Sweet and sour chicken is a classic dish on virtually all Chinese take out menus. Today, I took this classic dish and made a version that doesn’t require any frying, breading, or driving!
Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe
(About 4 servings)
Ingredients for the Sauce:
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
Ingredients for the Chicken:
- 1 pound chicken, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 cup corn starch
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Directions for the Sauce:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the white sugar, ketchup, garlic powder, vinegar, and soy sauce.
Directions for the Chicken:
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with tin foil and set it aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the chicken, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and corn starch.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg.
- In a pan, heat the oil on Medium heat.
- Dip the chicken into the beaten egg and then place it in the pan and cook it.
- Once the chicken is cooked, place it on the baking sheet.
- Pour half of the sauce over the chicken and bake it the preheated oven for 6 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the oven, flip the pieces over and pour the remaining half of the sauce over them. Place the pan back into the oven and bake for an additional 6 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
This dish does have several steps to it, but it’s not time consuming and can be done on a week day. I created an assembly line of bowls. One bowl is for the chicken, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and corn starch. The other bowl is for the beaten egg. Dip the chicken into the egg bowl.
Then cook the chicken in about 2 tablespoons of oil. In essence you are sauteing the chicken, instead of frying, because you’re cooking it in less oil. Don’t over cook the chicken. You still need to bake it, where it will cook some more, obviously.
To speed up making the dish, I decided to make the sauce while the chicken was cooking. Time is precious on a week night so I multi-task more than normal. Combine all of the sauce ingredients together and set it aside. It should be thick enough to coat the chicken but will still pretty thin.
When I first made this recipe I wondered if I could skip the time in the oven and just pour the sauce over the cooked chicken. Nope. The oven time is important because the sauce will thicken and stick to the chicken.
I love the option of making sweet and sour chicken at home instead of take out. #1 No frying! Let’s face it, fried food is delicious, but sometimes I’m not in the mood for high fat, greasy food. #2 I can control how much sugar I want in the sauce. #3 My chicken is barely breaded at all. You know what I mean if you’ve ordered this at a restaurant, a lot of the time you get more bread than chicken.
I don’t know about you but I get tired of the same old chicken dinner. This sauce takes a savory chicken dish to an awesome level. It’s a bit tangy from the vinegar and that offsets the sweet of the sugar and the salty of the soy sauce nicely. There’s enough extra sauce to de-boring-ify the rice too. Oh so yummy.
I garnished the dish with chopped scallions. It’s not just for presentation points. The added crunch and mild onion flavor goes great with the sweet and sour sauce.
If I didn’t make this dish I would have thought it was straight from a restaurant. Maybe next time we have this I’ll ask my husband to make it in order for it to feel like I ordered take-out. 😉
Adapted from: I Heart Nap Time
Not in the mood for Asian food? How about some Italian food, with Italian Meatballs.
Or how about some Mexican food, with Black Bean & Chicken Chilaquiles.