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Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry

20 mins Cook
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Copy of NomNom Recipes 1 60

Vibrant and bursting with colors, this quick Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry is a delightful creation. The sweet and sour sauce mirrors the flavors found in top-notch Chinese eateries, offering a balanced sweetness. Unlike the deep-fried rendition, this dish is a health-conscious stir fry.

Chicken Stir Fry Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry

You can craft this dish using an array of vegetables and interchange chicken with options such as prawns, pork, beef, or even fish. The versatility makes it a surefire hit! Familiar as I am with my local supermarkets, I know the store layout like the back of my hand, save for one elusive section—the prepared meal base aisle. You know, the one stocking jarred Honey Mustard Sauce and vacuum-sealed assortments.

Now, I don’t intend to come across as snobbish; I don’t judge. After all, even I have ventured into the occasional drive-through at KFC and Maccers. But it dawned on me recently that I’ve been oblivious to a whole section of the supermarket—the realm of ready-made meal bases. A surprising array of options awaits, spanning from Chow Mein and Chicken Cacciatore to Goulash and Chilli Con Carne. Yes, even the beloved Sweet and Sour Sauce.

I can’t vouch for the jarred products’ taste, but my conviction remains strong that homemade triumphs. Plus, the preparation process is incredibly swift. Don’t be fooled by its initial watery appearance; once simmered, the sauce thickens beautifully, as evidenced by its impeccable coating of the stir fry.

And oh, here’s a nifty trick for you when tackling bell peppers. Aren’t those seeds scattering everywhere annoying? Well, at least, they bother me. So, here’s my mess-free, rapid method of chopping capsicum.

For stir-fry meat, I prefer the succulence of chicken thigh over breast and tenderloin. When I do use chicken breast, I employ a simple Chinese restaurant technique involving baking soda (bi-carb) to tenderize it. It’s a straightforward process; you can find directions here: How to Velvet Chicken.

When it comes to stir fries, my inclination is to be lavish with the sauce. Deep within this thirty-something-year-old frame resides the spirit of a seven-year-old who adores soaking up the delectable sweet and sour sauce with rice. Thus, I ensure an ample supply of sauce, just as with all my stir-fry creations—abundance galore!

Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry

Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry

Vibrant and bursting with colors, this quick Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry is a delightful creation. The sweet and sour sauce mirrors the flavors found in top-notch Chinese eateries, offering a balanced sweetness. Unlike the deep-fried rendition, this dish is a health-conscious stir fry.
prep time
10 mins
cooking time
20 mins
total time
30 mins




  • 1/2 cup white sugar (Note 1)

  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 3 tbsp pineapple juice (from the canned pineapple pieces)

  • 3 tbsp ketchup (Australia: tomato sauce)

  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (Note 2)

  • 1 tsp soy sauce , light or all purpose (Note 2)

  • 1 tsp Oyster Sauce (Note 2)

  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • 1 tbsp cornflour / corn starch + 2 tbsp water , mixed together


  • 1 1/2 tbsp peanut oil (or vegetable)

  • 1 garlic clove , minced or finely chopped

  • 1 onion , halved and sliced (brown, yellow or white) (see photo in post)

  • 400 g / 13 oz chicken thigh fillets , cut into bite size pieces (Note 3)

  • 1 red capsicum / bell pepper , cut into bite size pieces

  • 1 green or yellow capsicum / bell pepper , cut into bite size pieces

  • 1 can (8oz/250g) canned pineapple pieces in natural juice. Separate pineapple from juice.

  • Sliced shallots / scallions , for garnish


Combine the ingredients for the sauce in a mixing bowl. In a separate small bowl, mix together the thickening agent.
Heat up oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Introduce the garlic and onion, cooking them for a duration of 1 minute.
Incorporate the chicken, executing a stir fry until it transforms to a white hue throughout, while maintaining a hint of pink within.
Toss in the capsicum and engage in a 2-minute stir fry session.
Integrate the sauce components, diligently stirring until the sugar has dissolved, and the sauce commences its gentle bubbling.
Introduce the thickening agent, prompting a simmering phase. Vigilant stirring is crucial. Allow it to cook until it reaches a syrupy consistency—around 3 minutes.
Gently fold in the pineapple pieces, ensuring they're just heated through, before removing the concoction from the stove.
Serve promptly, pairing the dish with rice. Alternatively, for those embracing a low-carb, low-calorie approach, consider the option of Cauliflower Rice! Enhance the presentation with optional garnishes of shallots.


While the measurement of 1/2 cup of sugar might initially raise eyebrows, it translates to a modest 1 1/2 tablespoons per serving—relatively reasonable, I'd say! When I'm aiming for a health-conscious approach, I opt for 1/4 cup. This adjustment still brings out a pleasant sweetness, though it falls shy of the intense sweetness found in restaurant versions. Using the full 1/2 cup inches closer to that authentic restaurant sweetness, without tipping into cloying territory. In contrast, some recipes you stumble upon online advocate a staggering 1 cup of sugar—a stark contrast! Unveiling the core trio of ingredients that imbue this sauce with the essence of authentic Sweet & Sour sauces served at Chinese eateries. These are my "secret elements"! It's possible to omit one (replacing it with a more generous amount of another) and the likeness will remain. But I urge you not to omit all three, as the absence of these ingredients will render the sauce disappointingly flat and bland. When handling leaner chicken breast, a wise choice for optimal juiciness is tenderizing it. For a detailed technique, refer to How to Velvet Chicken, employing the method cherished by Chinese restaurants. Breakdown of nutritional values per serving, focusing solely on the stir fry itself. Should the sugar quantity be scaled back to 1/4 cup, the caloric count also dips to 351 calories per serving. This encapsulates the nutritional information for the Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry.
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