Sweet and sour chicken with traditional crispy chicken – quite simply the best way to eat this takeaway classic and always a hit with the family. Serve with steamed rice.
For the marinated chicken
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- ½ tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
- 300g/10½oz chicken thighs, boneless, skin removed and cut into large cubes
For the batter
- 5 tbsp cornflour
- 1 free-range egg white
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2–3 tbsp mixed sesame seeds, plus extra to garnish
For the stir fry
- ½ red onion, cut into chunks (optional)
- ½ green pepper, cut into chunks (optional)
- 3cm/1¼in fresh root ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 2–3 garlic cloves, bashed and roughly sliced
- 2 spring onions, cut into rough chunks, plus extra to garnish
- ½ small tin pineapple slices (approx. 220g undrained weight), cut into chunks, juice discarded
- vegetable oil, for frying
- chopped fresh coriander, to garnish
For the sauce
- 1 tsp tomato purée
- 4 tbsp rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- ½ tbsp dark soy sauce
For the chicken, combine the sesame oil, sugar, soy sauce and egg in a small bowl. Place the chicken in a large bowl and massage the marinade well into the meat. Mix the batter ingredients and 4 tablespoons of cold water together in a bowl and massage all around the meat. The batter should have quite a sticky consistency.
For the stir fry, lay out the prepared ingredients in order, excluding the vegetable oil and coriander. These will need to be added to the wok in quick succession so it’s important to have them at hand.
To make the sauce, place all of the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and mix well together.
Half-fill a wok with vegetable oil and heat to 180C. Alternatively, use a wooden skewer or wooden chopstick to test the oil by placing the tip of the wood in the oil – if the wood starts to fizz after a second or so, the oil is at roughly 180C. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.) Carefully place the battered chicken pieces, one by one, into the hot oil so that the pieces do not stick together. Do not overload the wok with chicken – if you need to fry the meat in two batches, it is best to do so in order to retain the heat in the oil and keep each piece nice and crispy.
Cook the chicken pieces for at least 4–5 minutes, until they are floating at the top of the oil, golden brown and crispy. Transfer with a slotted spoon to drain on kitchen paper for 2–3 minutes. To get the chicken pieces extra crispy, fry all the chicken pieces a second time in the heated wok for a further minute before draining again.
Heat some oil in a clean wok and stir-fry the red onion and peppers, followed by the ginger, garlic, spring onion and pineapple. Stir-fry for 1–2 minutes and then bring the wok to a smoking point before pouring in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a vigorous boil and reduce down to a syrup consistency. Once the sauce starts to thicken, place the fried chicken pieces in the wok and toss through the sauce. Garnish with coriander, spring onions and sesame seeds and serve.