What can I say to introduce this dish? It is almost the most ordered dish in Chinese restaurants worldwide and every chef has their own take on it. It is as it says, sweet using sugar or honey and sour using vinegar or lime/lemon.
I learnt this recipe in Pakistan many years ago but have made slight tweaks, I hope you find it easy to reproduce.
- 1 lb (500g) boneless chicken strips/cubes washed
- 1 egg
- 2 tbs plain flour
- 2 tbs cornflour
- half tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- half tsp ground black pepper
- Oil for deep frying
- For a healthier version
- Place the chicken in a bowl, add 2 tbs cornflour, 2 tbs lime juice and a touch of salt, mix well and marinate for 30 mins.
- Add 2 tbs oil into a wok, add the chicken and stir-fry for 3 - 4 mins until it changes colour, keep aside
- 1 tbs oil
- 4 oz (120g) tinned pineapple cubes (remove cubes and save the juice - making upto a cup)
- 1 small bell pepper (capsicum) cut into small squares
- 1 medium sized onion, cut into small squares
- 2 cups chicken stock (fresh or made up with stock cubes) or water
- 2 tbs dark soy sauce
- 4 tbs vinegar
- touch of red food colour (optional)
- half cup tomato ketchup
- 2 tbs brown sugar or honey (or to taste)
- salt to taste
- 2 tbs cornflour slurry (mixture of cold water and cornflour)
For Stage 1 - Place the chicken in a bowl and add the egg, flours, baking powder, salt and pepper, mix well with a spoon, keep aside for 30 minutes.
Into a wok, add enough oil for deep frying, heat until medium hot (add a small piece of chicken to the oil, if it floats up, its ready)
Fry the chicken in two batches. Using a spoon, drop small dollops of the chicken mixture into the oil, cook for 2 mins, turn the pieces over until they turn golden brown.
Remove onto kitchen paper to drain away excess oil and fry the second batch same as above. Tip - the chicken can be fried in advance to be used later.
For Stage 2 - Add one tablespoon oil into a wok, add the pineapple cubes, stir fry until they turn a golden brown. Add the peppers and onions, stir fry on a high heat for 2 mins.
If making the healthy version add the stir-fried chicken and cook together with the pineapple and vegetables for 2-3 mins. (If using deep-fried chicken see below).
Add the stock or water, saved pineapple juice, soy sauce, vinegar, red food colour if using, ketchup, sugar, and salt, boil together for 3-4 minutes.
Add the cornflour slurry, stir well and bring to a boil to thicken the sauce, taste and adjust flavouring if required.
When ready to serve, add the deep-fried chicken pieces to the boiling mixture, cook together for 1-2 mins and serve immediately with rice or noodles.
Or place the deep-fried chicken pieces onto a serving dish, pour the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.
Keep the sauce and the deep-fried chicken separate until ready to serve. If you mix it too far in advance the chicken will soak up the sauce and will thicken the mixture.