Sweet and sour is a term used in a lot of styles of sauces, cuisine and cooking methods. It is popular in North America and Europe and it originates from China.
This entrée is often served in various Western countries in Chinese restaurants. It’s common in Europe, Australia, North America and South America, and it’s also available at some restaurants in Southeast and East Asia in the same version.
This dish is usually made of white chicken meat cubes deep-fried in batter and served with sweet and sour sauce. However, it’s sometimes topped with sweet pickles, carrot, green pepper, or pineapple. A lot of places in China use this sauce as a dipping sauce for meat and fish, rather than in cooking, which is more commonly in westernized Chinese cuisine.
Tying a certain sauce to particular meat is popular among Chinese. For example, vinegar and garlic are tied for goose and chili and soy for shrimp. However, there are some dishes in which the meat is cooked and a sauce is added to the wok before serving, such as the Cantonese sweet and sour pork. Try an authentic version of this classic Chinese dish, with a warm and natural sweetness chili flavor to spice things up.
- 100ml soda water, chilled
- 25g cornflour
- vegetable oil or sunflower, for frying
- 140g self-raising flour
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
- spring onions, finely shredded
- 1 red pepper, chopped and deseeded into chunks
- 425 grams can pineapple chunks, drained (juice reserved)
- 3 red chilies, 2 halved and deseeded, 1 cut into chunks
- 100g caster sugar
- 50g tamarind paste
- 4-star anise
- 100ml rice Chinese vinegar or wine vinegar
- Put the red pepper, pineapple juice and chunks of chili in a pan and bring it to the boil in order to make the sauce. Now, cover it and cook for about 10 minutes and then purée in a food processor. Next, return to the pan with the chunks, pineapple, star anise, chili halves, sugar, vinegar, and tamarind. Gently simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes until it's sticky and reduced.
- Keep it warm or reheat before serving. Take a big pan which is 1 cm deep, fill it with oil and heat until it's shimmering. Whisk 100 ml cold water and the soda water into the self-raising flour with a pinch of salt. Now, tip the cornflour onto a plate, use kitchen paper to line a tray and turn on the oven to low. Make sure to stir the batter well. Now, first dust the chicken with cornflour and then dip it into the batter.
- Lower into the hot oil, one at a time, about 5 to 6 ever batch. Keep the chicken frying by turning up the heat if that's needed, and cook it for 5 to 6 minutes, turning once. Drain it on the tray when it's cooked and keep it warm in the oven. Do the same with the remaining chicken. Stack the chicken on a plate with the warm sauce on the side. Now, scatter with shredded spring onions.