This Hong Kong Style Sweet and sour chicken is a perfect combination of sweet and tangy flavour sauce with crispy battered chicken. It takes only 30 minutes to prepare with simple cupboard-friendly ingredients. You will be amazed by how quick and delicious your sweet and sour chicken turns out!
One can barely resist these lightly battered deep-fried chicken pieces cooked in delightful homemade sweet and sour sauce.
What is Hong Kong Style Sweet and Sour Chicken
Britain loves its Chinese food. The first Chinese restaurants opened in the United Kingdom in the 1880s. Chinese cuisine quickly became popular.
One dish that has surged in prominence is sweet and sour chicken Hong Kong style. You can find it on the menu of every Chinese takeaway and restaurant in the UK.
Plenty of people order it from different restaurants. Yet few people know how to make it. In this recipe, I will show you how to make better than takeout sweet and sour chicken with simple instructions and answering all questions that you need to know.
Here are your quick guide and detail measurements in the recipe card.
You are going to need chicken, vegetables and a few pantry-friendly ingredients in order to make this dish. You can buy most of them at a local supermarket, and Asian grocery stores.
You can either use boneless chicken breast or thigh cut into medium bite-size pieces. Simply season with light soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, white pepper and garlic paste. Mix everything well and let it marinate for at least 10 minutes. If you have more time you can leave it for more hours.
You can substitute chicken with prawn, pork, tofu or any of your favourite tender meat cut. For vegetarians, tofu and cauliflower are the perfect substitute for chicken.
Hong Kong style chicken batter usually works better with corn starch than plain wheat flour. Break one egg white in the chicken marinade then dredge the chicken pieces in the corn starch. You will need about one cup of corn starch to coat and separate each chicken piece.
Bell pepper and onions are classic vegetables that are used in takeaways and restaurants. You need to cut them into small squares. Add chopped garlic for more fragrance. Pineapple in sweet and sour chicken is 'love it or hate it'. We love to add small pineapple chunks, if you are not a fan, you can skip pineapple. You can either use fresh pineapples or pineapple tin. Feel free to add your favourite stir fry vegetables.
Sweet and Sour Sauce
In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, white vinegar, tomato ketchup, tomato puree, and salt to taste. If you are using pineapple tin, add the juice from the tin or swap it with lemon juice. Add a bit of corn starch and chicken stock or water to thicken and create a glossy sauce. This is how we usually like to add in our sweet and sour Hong Kong style, but you can always adjust the proportions by adding more or less sugar and vinegar.
- Marinate the chicken pieces with soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, white pepper, and garlic paste for 10 minutes. Break one egg in the chicken marinade mix it well then dredge the chicken in the corn starch and toss the excess flour out before frying.
- Mix all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set it aside. Gather and prepare the vegetables.
- First fill a wok/pan halfway with vegetable or neutral flavour oil. Heat the wok into high-heat about 350'F then fry the coated chicken pieces until crispy golden brown. Remove from heat and transfer to cooling rack or paper towel.
- Heat a large wok/pan into medium heat and drizzle a tablespoon of oil. Saute the chopped garlic for few seconds, then follow with the onions and pepper. Stir fry for 1 minute and pour the sauce mixture in and stir well.
- Once the sauce gets thicken and glossy, place the fried chicken pieces back in the wok and toss well to combine everything evenly. Transfer to serving plate and serve immediatley with rice or noodles.
- Add chicken stock instead of water to achieve the delicious umami taste. If you cannot get chicken stock or broth easily, you can add water and add half chicken stock cube or half teaspoon chicken powder.
- If you love your chicken extra crispy coating texture, double fry the chicken pieces.
- How to double fry? Fry the coated chicken pieces until light brown, then remove from heat and set it aside for 6-8 minutes. Then fry it again for another 2-3 minutes until cripsy golden brown.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can air fry the coated chicken pieces by spraying a generous amount of cooking oil. Fry it in a pre-heated air fryer 400° F ( 200° C ) or oven for about 8-10 minutes, until crispy golden brown. Flip halfway through. Then toss it in the sweet and sour sauce and vegetables.
It tastes best when freshly cooked, like most Chinese dishes. If you have any leftovers, you can store them in an air-tight container and keep them in the fridge. Then simply reheat in the microwave until hot just before serving.
Hong Kong style sweet and sour chicken is a Western-Chinese dish. Cantonese style cooking is influenced in Southen China, Hong Kong, and Guangzhou regions. In the UK, USA, and western countries, Cantonese cuisines are recreated, modified, and are called Hong Kong Style dishes.
Most people like to eat their chicken with rice. You can prepare your rice alongside your chicken. We love to have to plain jasmine rice or you can have it with egg fried rice or prawn fried rice. You can also serve dumplings or spring rolls as sides.
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Sweet and Sour Chicken Hong Kong Style
- 300 g Chicken breast or thigh, boneless skinless, cut into small bite size pieces
- ½ Onion cut in small dices
- 2 cloves Garlic finely chopped
- ½ Red bell pepper cut into small squares
- ½ Green bell pepper cut into small squares
- 10 Pineapple chunks small chunks
- 1 tbsp Vegetable oil Or neutral flavour oil for stir fry
- Oil for deep fry
Marinade and Coating
- 1 cup Corn starch Add more if needed
- 1 Egg white
- 1 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
- 1 tsp Sesame Oil
- ¼ tsp White pepper
- 1 tsp Garlic paste or finely grated garlic
Sweet and sour sauce
- 2 tbsp White vinegar or malt / rice vinegar
- 4 tbsp Brown sugar or honey/white sugar
- ½ cup Chicken stock Or water ( see details in note )
- 3 tbsp Tomato ketchup
- 2 tsp Tomato puree Tomato paste/concentrate
- 2 tbsp Pineapple Juice Juice from pineapple tin or lemon juice
- ⅛ tsp Corn starch
- 1 tsp Salt Or salt to taste or 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- First, cut the chicken into small bite size pieces. Marinate with sesame oil, light soy sauce, white pepper, and garlic paste 10 minutes. Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set it aside.
- Break one egg white into the marinated chicken pieces and mix it well. Then dredge the chicken into the corn starch and separate each chicken pieces. Add more flour if needed. Toss the excess flour out before frying.
- Heat the vegetable oil into high heat for about 350° F. Add the coated chicken pieces and deep fry for 4-5 mins until crispy golden brown. Remove from oil and transfer to a paper towel or wire rack.
- In a large wok or pan, drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil and stir fry the chopped garlic for few seconds. Then follow with the onion and bell pepper slices for 1 minute.
- Next, pour the sweet and sour sauce mixture in. Stir well until the sauce become thick and glossy, then add the pineapple chunks and the fried chicken pieces.
- Toss well to combine everything evenly for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to serving plate and serve immediately.
- Serve with plain rice, egg fried rice or stir fry noodles.
- Pineapple - You can either use fresh pineapple chunks or pineapple tin.
- Pineapple juice - I add the juice water from the pineapple tin. You can add pineapple juice or lemon juice.
- Chicken stock - Use homemade/store-bought chicken stock, broth, or substitute with water.
- Chicken stock cubes/powder - If you add water instead of chicken stock/broth, add ½ chicken stock cube ( about 5 g ) or chicken powder in the sauce for more umami taste and flavour. Or you can just add water, it's optional.
- Tomato puree/paste/concentrate - Add a bit of tomato puree for natural vibrant red colour. You don't need any artificial food colouring. If you can't get tomato puree, you can omit it.
- How to make an extra sauce? - You can simply double the sauce ingredients.