This is a recipe I’ve posted before, but I recently updated some ingredients to make it even more flavorful and easy to make in one pan. Plus, I’ve added a simple Asian Cabbage Side Salad.
My idea of good, healthy sweet and sour chicken is crisp fresh vegetables, fresh pineapple chunks, and tender, tasty chicken. How many times have you ordered this dish as part of “Dinner B” off the Chinese restaurant menu and what comes to the table is a plate of overly breaded chicken “parts” drenched in a pink gelatin-like substance?
Well, here is a delicious, tasty and good for you sweet and sour chicken recipe. The sauce is easy to make and gives the perfect balance of sweet and sour flavors that totally work with the other fresh ingredients. Before cooking, rest the chicken pieces in a mixture of cornstarch and egg white. This provides an incredibly light “binder” for the sauce to adhere to the chicken pieces without actually breading the chicken. The sauce is truly fresh with the perfect sweet and sour balance. No tasting processed, unreal flavors (or colors) here. If you like extra sauce, feel free to double the sauce ingredients.
The red and yellow peppers along with fresh pineapple mix well with the chicken for a fresh combination of crisp and tender-juicy textures. And this can all be on the table within 30 minutes and is start to finish in one pan.
Serve over rice or even quinoa. A simple and fresh side salad of chopped cabbage, drizzled with a light Asian dressing finishes off this meal. (For a simple dressing, I mixed 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar, 1/4 cup sesame oil, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and freshly grated ginger to taste. Add 1 tablespoon sesame seeds if you have it.)
Healthy Sweet and Sour Chicken
- 1 egg white
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp salt divided
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1/2 fresh pineapple cut into bite-size pieces (about 1 cup or to liking)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2-3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper or more to taste
- Dash Red Pepper flakes to taste and for a nice added appearance
- 2 tbsp high heat cooking oil divded (ex. grapeseed, peanut oil)
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 yellow bell pepper seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1/2 tbsp sliced green scallions for garnish optional
- In a bowl, whisk together the egg white, cornstarch, and 1/4 tsp of the salt. Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat evenly. Let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
- Meanwhile, whisk together 1/4 cup of water, ginger, vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, remaining 1/4 tsp of salt, and 1-2 pinches cayenne pepper (or more to taste--optional).
- Set a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Pour in 1 tbsp of the oil and swirl to coat. Add the red and yellow bell pepper chunks and cook for 2 minutes. Remove onto a plate.
- Return pan to the stove on medium-high heat. Pour in the remaining 1 tbsp of oil and swirl to coat (be sure to fully coat the pan so the meat won't stick). Add the chicken to the pan, spreading it out in one layer.
- Let the chicken saute, untouched, for 1 minute, until the bottoms are browned. Turn the chicken and cook other side the same for 1 minute. The chicken will still be pinkish in the middle.
- Add the cooked bell peppers, pineapple chunks, and sauce mixture to the pan. Let simmer for about 2 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes till the sauce thickens.
- Garnish with sliced scallions, if desired. Serve over rice or even over quinoa.