Not technically a native Thai dish, this sweet and sour chicken recipe is more of a Chinese inspired dish. It’s so far from what we have come to know as sweet and sour from Cantonese style takeaways, though, you know the sugar packed, bright orange, food colouring stained version which has given it such a bad name over the years!
This sweet and sour chicken dish gets its sweetness from fresh chunks of lovely fresh pineapple, naturally sweet red peppers and OK I did add a little sugar but by making it fresh you control that sugar rather than needing to visit the dentist every time you order from your local takeaway! It’s colourful and vibrant and fresh. You have to love it!
It is a perfect little midweek number as it takes a minimal effort to throw together other than chopping all the ingredients! Serve it with some stir fried bok choi and any rice of your choice, I like mine with mixed wild rice for extra goodness!
I’ve used Chinkiang black Chinese vinegar but if you can’t find it just use a cheap balsamic vinegar instead.
In a bowl, add the chicken, one tablespoon of the soy sauce, the five spice, one teaspoon of the cornflour and a good hit of white pepper. The cornflour mix will coat the chicken to keep it moist whilst cooking and stop the chicken drying out. Put the chicken in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Heat a little oil in a nok stick wok and brown the chicken for a couple of minutes. You don't want to cook it through as we're going to finish it in the sauce. Set aside.
Wipe the wok and heat one tablespoon of oil and add the garlic. Stir fry for 30 seconds then the peppers and onion. Keep everything moving so the garlic doesn't burn. Cook for a minute or two on high then add the pineapple and chicken. Fry for another 30 seconds then add 250 ml of water the vinegar and a teaspoon of sugar. Squeeze the liquid out of the grated ginger into the pan with your hands and discard the rest. put a lid on and let it all bubble away for a couple of minutes.
Mix the other teaspoon of cornflour with a little cold water in a cup (never put cornflour straight into hot liquid) and add to the pan. The sauce will start to thicken quickly now so keep an eye on it. Once it's thick enough and the chicken is cooked through, turn off the heat. Stir in the spring onion.
Serve with your favourite rice with a good squeeze of the lime juice and a drizzle of sesame oil.