Sweet and Sour Chicken (10/06/22)

This week’s recipe was inspired by my love of Chinese food and my horror at the takeaway delivery cost! It’s simple, especially if you use the suggested swaps. I certainly don’t have tamarind paste in my larder! Also, red wine vinegar is an acceptable vinegar substitute if you’re stuck. If you’re not confident enough to make the chicken in batter, just fry it as you usually would. Serve with rice or noodles.

Sweet and Sour Chicken


  • Veg oil for frying
  • 100ml soda water. chilled and 100ml water, chilled
  • 140g self raising flour
  • 25g cornflour
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • Spring onion, finely shredded to serve
  • For the sauce
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped into chunks
  • 3 red chillies, 1 cut into chunks, 2 halved and deseeded (this makes it spicy so if you want to lighten the heat – use 2, deseed both with 1 chopped and 1 halved)
  • 425g can of pineapple chunks, drained and juice reserved
  • 4 star anise (1 would be ok)
  • 50g tamarind paste (easy swap – tomato ketchup but use less caster sugar, maybe 80g)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100ml rice wine vinegar or chinese vinegar


  1. For the sauce, put the red pepper, chunks of chilli and pineapple juice in a pan and bring to the boil. Cover and cook for 10 mins, then puree in a food processor. Return to the pan with the pineapple chunks, chilli halves, star anise, tamarind paste, sugar and vinegar. Gently simmer for 20-30 mins until reduced and sticky. Keep warm or reheat to serve.
  2. Fill a large pan 1cm deep deep with oil and heat until simmering. Whisk the soda water and 100ml cold water into the self raising flour with a little salt. Tip the cornflour onto a plate, line a tray with kitchen paper and turn the oven on low.
  3. Stir the batter well, dust the chicken with cornflour, then dip into batter. One at a time lower into the hot oil (about 5-6 every batch) Turn up the heat to keep the chicken frying if needed and fry for 5-6 mins turning once. When cooked. drain on the tray and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining chicken, stack on a plate with the warm sauce and scatter with the shredded spring onion.

Original recipe by John Torode

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