Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken

This is a family favourite treat and so much better than a takeaway offering. Meaty pieces of lean chicken breast meat coated in a light tempura-style batter seasoned with a hint of five-spice powder and fried in the wok until golden and crispy and accompanied by a homemade sweet and sour sauce with chunky vegetables and fruit. Serve with egg fried rice or plain boiled rice.


Serves 4

Preparation Time

Cook time

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Have you tried this recipe?
Click the stars to rate it.
Cook's NoteFor a crisp batter it is important to use a lower gluten flour such as plain or cake flour and not to over mix the batter.
Share this recipe
Email this recipe


  • 450g chicken breast meat, cut into medium sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour for dusting
  • 750ml groundnut or vegetable oil for frying


  • 1 tablespoon groundnut or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 2.5cm dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 small to medium green pepper, seeds removed and cut into 2.5 cm dice
  • 1 small to medium red pepper, seeds removed and cut into 2.5 cm dice
  • 350ml pineapple juice or water
  • 1½ tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soft brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour mixed with 50ml water
  • 175g fresh or unsweetened canned pineapple,
  • 2.5cm x 1cm pieces
  • 1 tomato, skinned and cut into 8 wedges

Tempura batter:

  • 1 medium egg
  • 200ml cold carbonated water
  • 125g plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt


Place the chicken pieces into a bowl and stir in the tablespoon of soy sauce, cover and marinate in a cool place for 1 hour.

Heat the tablespoon of oil for the sauce in the wok over medium heat.

Stir-fry the onions until transparent but not browned, add the garlic, diced pepper and continue to stir-fry for 2 minutes more.

Add the juice or water, wine vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, sugar and salt. Bring the contents to a simmer and stir in the cornflour and water mixture.

When the sauce has thickened stir in the pineapple and tomato, cook for 2-3 minutes and adjust the seasoning to taste.

Transfer the sauce to jug or bowl, cover and keep warm. Wash and dry the wok.

Remove the chicken from the soy sauce marinade, pat dry with some kitchen paper and set to one side.

Make the batter by beating the egg and carbonated water together then lightly whisk in the flour, spice and salt. Do not overwork the batter, a few lumps are fine.

Heat the oil in the clean wok to 170-175°C, to test the temperature drop in a small amount of batter or a cube of bread, it should float and colour evenly.

Dust the dried chicken pieces with the cornflour.

Dip one piece of chicken at a time into the batter and fry in small batches of no more than 5 pieces so as not to overcrowd the pan and cook
for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Use a splatter guard whilst frying to prevent the oil splashes.

Remove the cooked chicken pieces individually from the hot oil with a stainless steel draining spoon or skimmer and place on to a warm serving dish lined with draining paper.

To serve remove the draining paper from the dish and pour some of the sweet and sauce over the chicken pieces.

Serve the remaining sauce at the table, with the rice accompaniment, to be added as desired.