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Sweet and Sour Crispy Chicken

I used to love sweet and sour chicken from the Chinese restaurant, particularly chicken balls with sweet and sour sauce from the take-away. I know that the Chinese food that we had in Ireland was totally changed for European palettes but was a tasty treat. I just asked the Google and Sweet and Sour is a real thing in Chinese cuisine, but it was originally made with black vinegar and sugar so wouldn’t resemble what we eat today. This is my take on an old favourite.

My friend is launching a chilli crisp oil soon. I’ve been a very obliging taste tester. I’m obsessed, I put it in everything, well mostly everything. I used it in this recipe and will share some more over the coming months. I will keep you posted once it’s available to purchase.

Serves 4


Coating for chicken

100g cornflour

1 egg beaten

100g flour

1 tsp. of siracha pepper

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. Salt

½ tsp. pepper

Sauce ingredients

1 shallot, diced

2 tbsp. siracha sauce

50ml of pineapple juice

1 tbsp. ketchup

1 tbsp. chilli crisp oil

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. maple syrup

50ml of stock

Other ingredients

4 chicken thighs cut into long strips

1 red onion, diced

2 garlic clove, minced

100g pineapple chunks

4 tbsp. oil

½ yellow pepper

½ red pepper

½ green pepper

1 litre of oil for shallow frying


1. Set up four large plates. On the first plate add the corn-flour. On the second plate add the beaten egg. On the third plate add the flour, siracha powder, onion powder, garlic powder and salt and pepper. Keep the final plate for your coated chicken.

2. Grab a piece of chicken, coat it in the corn-flour, then the egg and then the flour mixture. Put it on the spare plate and repeat with the remainder of the chicken pieces. Set aside for now.

3. Heat a pan and add 2 tbsp. of oil and heat. Add the red onion and peppers and sauté. Add half of the mince garlic and fry for a minute or two until fragrant. Remove from the pan and set aside.

4. Get a start on the sauce. Heat a medium sized frying pan and add the oil. Sauté the shallots. Add the remaining minced garlic and fry for a minute of two. Add the ketchup and the chili crisp oil and fry for another minute or so. Add the remaining sauce ingredients. Simmer until the sauce has reduced slightly. Add in the cooked vegetables and stir through. Reduce the heat enough to keep warm.

5. Next up, heat a large deep drying pan and add the litre of oil. Heat the oil until it’s near smoking point. Sacrifice a piece of chicken by adding a tester to the oil to see if it sizzles when it hits the oil. Once it’s hot enough, you will need to cook the chicken in batches as the oil will get too cold. 4-5 batches should be enough. The chicken will cook quickly, it only needs about 2-3 minutes each side. The chicken should be cooked to golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan using a slotted spoon. Place onto a plate with kitchen paper to drain off any excess oil. Keep the cooked chicken warm until all the batches are cooked.

6. You can do one of two things (1) add the chicken to the sweet and sour sauce and mix through or (2) top the chicken with the sauce. If the chicken is served up quickly, it shouldn’t get soggy with the sauce.

7. Serve on a bed of rice and sprinkle with some chopped chilli if you like a bit more heat.

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