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Sweet and Sour Chicken

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Serves 4.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from A Taste of Home recipe.

The original recipe called for chicken wings, which are over-priced for what you get — a lot of skin and bone. For a tastier and meatier meal, I substituted chicken thighs cut into strips about the size of wing pieces. Although many Americans might be accustomed to this chicken being deep fried in oil, braising in liquid is common in China because it costs less than oil.

Ingredients:

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, about 1½ pounds (680g)
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1 cup (240ml) cider vinegar
½ cup (110g) ketchup
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon chicken flavored bouillon
3 tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup (120ml) cold water
Sesame seeds for garnish

Directions:

Cut the thighs into strips, about four per thigh, or if preferred, into 1-inch (2.5cm) pieces that might be easy to eat with chopsticks.

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and vinegar over medium heat. Stirring constantly, heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the ketchup, soy sauce and bouillon. Stir to combine.

Place the chicken pieces in a slow cooker or an Instant Pot with a Slow Cook function. Add the sauce mixture. Cover and cook on low heat, around 185°F (85°C), until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and tender, 3 to 3½ hours. Check occasionally for evaporation and add more water if needed.

Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer the cooked chicken to a bowl and set aside. Skim any excess fat, if present, and discard. Transfer the sauce to a small saucepan. Combine the cornstarch and cold water in a bowl, whisk until smooth.

Add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce and whisk to combine. Bring the liquid to a simmer, stirring frequently until thickened, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust for salt.

Add the chicken pieces and heat to serving temperature. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with sesame seeds. Serve with plenty of steamed white rice.

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