Thursday, 4 February 2016

Globecooking recipe : Sweet & Sour Chicken (China)

When I looked at the recipes in this month's Chinese-themed Kitchen Trotter box and saw that one of them was for sweet & sour chicken, I was initially disappointed. Everybody's eaten sweet & sour chicken before, even if it's often from a jar of ultra-sweet, very orange sauce with lumps of pineapple in it. Even with the dodgy photo due to the lack of light, you can see that the dish using the recipe looks nothing like the ones that are produced with a jar of cooking sauce though. It has a fabulous crispy texture and the explosion of flavours from ginger, goji berries and soy sauce had my tastebuds dancing. My kitchen smelt exactly like a Chinese takeaway too !

This recipe called for three ingredients from the Kitchen Trotter box - black vinegar (also called black rice vinegar), chilli paste and goji berries.

I'm also trying to use up some of the leftover ingredients from past boxes so I used some panela (Colombian sugar) in place of brown sugar, crystallised ginger (also from the Colombian box) in place of regular ginger and soy sauce (from a Korean Kitchen Nomad box, which was way back before I even started with Kitchen Trotter). I also decided to use up some of a bottle of ginger wine in place of white wine, as it's been sitting in the cupboard for longer than I can remember !

Sweet & Sour Chicken

ingredients :

500g chicken breast
1 clove of garlic
5-10g of ginger (or crystallised ginger)
4tbsp cornflour
1.5tbsp black rice vinegar
1tsp chilli paste
15g goji berries
vegetable oil for frying
1 egg
4tbsp soy sauce
30cl water
2-3 heaped tbsp brown sugar
2tbsp white wine
salt, pepper

Combine 2tbsp soy sauce, 1tbsp white wine (I used ginger wine), salt and pepper in a bowl.

Slice the chicken breast into thin strips. I pre-grilled mine but you can use raw chicken too. Stir to evenly coat and leave in the fridge to soak up the marinade.

I must say, I've fallen in love with panela, the Colombian blocks of brown sugar that you shave with a knife. Regular brown sugar would be fine too though.

Mix 1tbsp cornflour, 2tbsp soy sauce, 1tbsp white wine (I used ginger wine again), the vinegar, water and sugar in a small bowl. This will be the base for the sauce.

In a separate bowl (there will be lots of washing up at the end of this recipe !), whisk the egg and beat in 3tbsp of cornflour to make a batter. Season with a little salt.

Dip the chicken pieces in the batter and turn to cover on all sides.

Put a couple of centimetres of oil in a deep pan and heat to a high temperrature. Drop in a drip of batter and if it bubbles and rises to the surface, you're good to go. Cook the chicken in the hot oil in batches until golden brown and crispy. 

Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm.

Finely chop the ginger (I used crystallised ginger) and garlic and weigh out the goji berries.

Heat 1tbsp of oil (I reused some of the oil from the chicken) in a deep pan (or pour out the oil and reuse the same pan as for frying the chicken). Throw in the garlic, ginger and goji berries, then add the chilli paste and finally the sauce. (Give it a good stir first because the cornflour sinks to the bottom.)

Cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens. This only takes a couple of minutes.

Toss in the chicken and stir quickly to coat in the sticky sauce. Serve with rice or noodles.

*** Don't miss my country-by-country globecooking recipe index ! ***

 Adding this to #KitchenClearout as it used up some of my exotic ingredients and ginger wine.


  1. Never come across Panela before. Looks interesting.

    1. It has a lovely rich, caramel flavour - search for Colombian Kitchen Trotter box on my blog and you'll find out more about it :)

  2. I would have never thought of adding goji berries to a sweet and sour chicken. I actually cooked it today with one of the Chinese sauces I received recently for testing. I did a batter with sparkling water. This is a more exotic version of the classic recipe

    1. This was my first attempt at making sweet & sour chicken from scratch, I usually use a jar of sauce. They're both completely different but very tasty. I'll definitely be making this again, maybe with dried cranberries as I always seem to have a cupboard full of them !