Sweet and Sour Chicken – Take Away Stylee!

Sweet and sour chicken is an ever present Chinese take away favourite, sure it is not an authentically Chinese dish… But let’s face it, we all know it and love it!

Sweet and sour chicken is an ever present Chinese take away favourite, sure it is not an authentically Chinese dish... But let's face it, we all know it and love it!

Restaurant Style Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe!

Sweet and sour chicken is a stalwart of Chinese takeaways in the UK. This recipe is my homage to that.

Gone is the much more traditional sweet and sour sauce of my recent sweet and sour noodle recipe. In comes something loaded with ketchup and even tinned pineapple.

This is certainly a memory of home and Saturday afternoons watching the football results roll in on the weekends my team were playing away.

I have however refrained from making the gallon of luminous orange sauce. The addition of dark soy sauce and Chiangking vinegar gives the sauce a much more complex flavour.

It also helps cut through the sweetness and give a much more balanced sweet and sour sauce.

In all honesty, the quality of Chinese takeaways in the UK was always very poor. The cost of eating in good Chinese restaurants was also always beyond what I would be prepared to pay for simple Chinese food. I

never really understood the cost differential between good Chinese food and good food from elsewhere in the world in the UK.

Sweet and sour chicken is an ever present Chinese take away favourite, sure it is not an authentically Chinese dish... But let's face it, we all know it and love it!

Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken.

This is very much food for lazing around with and as far as I am concerned it is a TV meal made to be consumed with an ice cold beer. In all fairness, it is not a dish I would ever have ordered in the UK.

I developed it for fearless stunt wifey who loves sweet and sour chicken and my tweaks have actually turned it into a dish I love too.

It is also eye wateringly simple. You can throw this together in less than 30 minutes. You can even make the sauce up in advance and it will keep for weeks in the fridge.

If you prefer yours with battered chicken then take a look at this crispy honey soy chicken recipe.

The great thing about creating simple fakeaway recipes is that you can tweak them to your own tastes. We all have our favourite takeaway restaurants yet they all make, in the main, the same things. This is like your favourite takeaway restaurant in your own kitchen.

You get all of the warm and fuzzy feelings of comfort food. But you also get to tweak and add flavour profiles you like and scale back some of the things you donโ€™t like.

Sweet and sour chicken is an ever present Chinese take away favourite, sure it is not an authentically Chinese dish... But let's face it, we all know it and love it!

Essential Asian Storecupboard Igredients.

This restaurant style sweet and sour chicken recipe seems to be incredibly popular when we have guests visit from the UK.

Most of the time we will eat out. However, on occasions, I will throw something together and either this or my butter chicken, seem to be the most popular.

The key to cooking fakeaway or fakeout food at home is your store cupboard. Most of the ingredients in my Asian stash of essential ingredients have a long shelf life.

As a result, you do not need to worry if you do not cook Asian food very often.

Baring in mind I live in rural Hungary, the land that food progress forgot. So if I can get these ingredients then I am sure with a little effort you can too!

So no matter whether you are cooking Kung Pao Chicken, Mushroom Chow Mein or sticky chili beef, these ingredients have you sorted! Most importantly, don’t be intimidated, cooking is easy!

  • Light Soy Sauce.
  • Dark Soy Sauce.
  • Shaoxing Wine.
  • Chinkiang Vinegar.
  • Mirin.
  • Fish Sauce.
  • Sesame Oil.
  • Cornflour (Cornstarch).
  • Szechuan Pepper Corns.
  • Hoisin Sauce.
  • Oyster Sauce.
Sweet and sour chicken is an ever present Chinese take away favourite, sure it is not an authentically Chinese dish... But let's face it, we all know it and love it!
Sweet and Sour Chicken - Take Away Stylee

Sweet and Sour Chicken - Take Away Stylee

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Sweet and sour chicken is an ever present Chinese take away favourite, sure it is not an authentically Chinese dish... But lets face it, we all know it!


For the Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Mirin
  • 1 Tbsp Chiangking Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Ketchup
  • 50 ml Water
  • 1 Tbsp Cornflour

For the Chicken

  • 1 Clove Garlic, Finely sliced
  • 25 g Ginger, Grated
  • 75 g Onion, Cut into 8 wedges
  • 1/2 Tsp Chili Flakes
  • 350 g Chicken Breast, Cut into large dice
  • 1 Sweet Pepper, I personally prefer to use two small peppers from our garden so I can have a red pepper and a green pepper, cut into dice roughly the same size as the chicken
  • 50 g Water Chestnuts, Cut in half if they are whole
  • 75 g Pineapple Chunks, Try and get a can in natural juice
  • 3 Tbsp Juice from the can of pineapple chunks


For the Sauce

  1. Begin by making your sauce, mix all of the ingredients in a small saucepan with the exception of the cornflour and bring to a boil over a medium high heat
  2. Mix the cornflour with 1 further tablespoon of cold water to form a paste and when the sauce is boiling add it into the sauce and stir until the sauce begins to thicken and set aside

For the Chicken

  1. Heat a Wok over a high heat with a splash of flavourless cooking oil and throw in the garlic and ginger and stir fry for 30 seconds
  2. Add the onion wedges and Chili flakes then stir fry for 2 minutes keeping them moving with the garlic and ginger
  3. Add the chicken and stir fry for 3 minutes keeping them moving as with the onion wedges
  4. Then add the diced sweet pepper and fry for 2 minutes
  5. Reduce the heat to medium and add the sauce we set aside earlier along with the water chestnuts, pineapple chunks and the juice from the pineapple chunks and allow to simmer until the chicken is cooker through, this should take no more than 5 minutes


Serve with some simply boiled white rice and garnish with some toasted sesame seeds, which I naturally forgot to add!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 733 Total Fat: 13g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 189mg Sodium: 1333mg Carbohydrates: 84g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 64g Protein: 71g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

35 thoughts on this Recipe:

  1. This looks soooo good! I love Asian food lately so I need to give this a try. Such pretty photos too!

  2. Like many Brits I love the sweet and sour pork or chicken you get in UK Chinese restaurants, even if it isn’t authentic Chinese! I’ve never made it myself but this sounds tempting. Can I use different vinegar? What kind of vinegar is Chiangking? I don’t think I can find that here in Italy!

    • You can use any vinegar you like, Chinkiang vinegar is a black rice vinegar and typically common in Asian stores, although I do have to travel 320km to get mine ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I have heard of many people using balsamic as a sub and I have tested it out, it obviously is not the same as Balsamic is a much more complex flavour. However having said that it is really tasty, you can push towards cider vinegar or wine vinegar but they are much harsher.

  3. This sounds delicious! I thought for years that I didn’t like sweet and sour chicken as the ones I’d had as takeaways had always been too sweet but then I made it at home and discovered that with a little less sweetness it is a fantastic meal.

    • Thanks Corina, I agree sometimes the sweet element can take over and all to often the sour element is too harsh to try and combat that. But done well it is a wonderful dish!

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    • Thanks Johlene, I was never much of an Asian style cook in the UK, it was so easy to get from a take away as you say… But since we moved then I have spent many hours in the kitchen playing with ideas and flavours ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. Brian this looks delicious! My husband was just telling me last night that he was craving Asian food…this dish sounds perfect ๐Ÿ™‚ Plus I love the sweet and sour flavor!

    • Thanks Paige, we love Asian flavours as you can probably tell ๐Ÿ˜‰ Odd really as Inidan was always my go to flavour in the UK but now I crave much more Chinese/South East Asian flavours.

  6. In the US sweet and sour chicken is always breaded and fried and serve with a red sauce on the side but the breading is always so dense that as much as I want to love it I can’t get past it. This looks so much better! Adding it to my Chinese cravings file

    • Ha ha, in the UK 9 times out of 10 it is served in a batter and deep fried, this is much more satisfying to me… However if I do go the deep fried route I usually dust in cornflour (conrnstarch in the US I believe), salt and szechuan pepper and go that way ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I made this about two months ago! It was delicious! In fact, this recipe is why I bought dark soy sauce and it’s made our homemade takeout copycat dishes so much better. Thank you!

    • Thank you so much for letting me know you enjoyed it, it is always great to know that people are making the things I put up on the interweb ๐Ÿ˜€ Dark Soy is a great addition to a pantry, it does something slightly different to light soy and adds a sweetness and richness to a dish I find.

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  9. Sweet and sour chicken balls was one of my favourite chinese take-away dish as a kid. The thick red sauce and heavy battered balls. I loved it!
    My palette has grown up in the last 20 years. This dish sounds divine, the wonderful sweet hit with a delicious sour note, real chicken and crunchy capsicums. YUM!!!!
    Pinning this ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Claire, it was never really one of mine but a favourite of my wifes so I had to find a way to remind her of a favourite and also make my belly smile. So this is a bit of a half way house but my wife loves it which is naturally the most important thing ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Orange chicken I have never made, but look forward to trying it. I love Asian food and remember eating lots of it in Toronto, not so much in Italy. Although I do occasionally make my own. Looks delicious.

    • You are the second comment that has called this orange chicken, I genuinely had no idea that is what this is called stateside, it is very moorish and the perfect TV dinner according to fearless stunt wifey ๐Ÿ˜€

  11. Ah, orange chicken – it was my most favorite growing up, but we never had it homemade. We always ordered it at our local Chinese restaurant and I have such fond memories. I need to add this to my must-make list – sounds like you’ve created a pretty delicious recipe! Enjoy the time with your guests ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I love comments, you learn something new all of the time I had no idea this was called orange chicken on the other side of the pond. My wife loves this dish it is her favourite so I make it a lot ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Hi again, I had to come back because I must have been tired when I wrote that! Orange chicken is something totally different — meant to say sweet and sour! ๐Ÿ™‚ lol

        • Haha, walecome back, to be honest I would have been none the wiser lets face it recieps stay similar but get called all sorts of things around the world ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. My adventure in Asian cuisine has begun. I made a peanut sauce last week. This sweet and sour sauce looks like a good one. I’ll add it to my list of adventures in Asian cuisine! I always thought all you needed was vinegar and sugar. Shows what I know about it! I love the chicken and veg too! Over rice! Yum:)

    • I love Asian food, it is largely sweet, sour and salty, although you will occasionally find hit in there too… But there is so much more flavour and personality in different Asian Vinegars and ‘Wines’ that change a dish so much ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. That looks delicious! We actually have a pretty decent Chinese restaurant about 5 minutes from us, but when I get the itch to make it at home, I’ll be back to this recipe!!


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