Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry

Sweet and sour chicken
Adrian Burke/Photodisc/Getty Images
  • 35 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4
Ratings (7)

This healthy and colorful recipe will please everyone at dinnertime - even the kids. Slices of chicken (or pork) are cooked in a special Thai-style sweet and sour sauce that's tangy-delicious. Add shiitake mushrooms and bok choy, plus fresh vegetables such as bell peppers and tomatoes plus fresh coriander, and you've got a low-fat, one-dish meal that also makes a great party or potluck dish.

What You'll Need

  • For the Marinade:
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce (mixed with 1 teaspoon cornstarch)
  • 3 to 4 boneless chicken breasts (or 6 to 8 thighs or the equivalent of pork)
  • 1 red bell pepper (chopped into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 green bell pepper (chopped into bite-size pieces)
  • 4 to 6 fresh shiitake mushrooms (sliced)
  • 4 small "heads" bok choy (or the equivalent of 2 cups Chinese cabbage, chopped)
  • 5 green onions (cut into 2 to 3-inch lengths)
  • Garnish: 1 handful of fresh coriander
  • 3 tablespoons oil for stir-frying
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (cut into 3-inch lengths)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup (or substitute tomato paste plus 1 teaspoon sugar)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon chili sauce (or 1 fresh red chili, minced)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal (or ginger, grated)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves (fresh, dried, or frozen)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch (dissolved in 3 tablespoons water)

How to Make It

  1. First, mix the soy sauce with the cornstarch - this is your marinade. Mix with the chicken and allow to sit while you prepare the sauce and vegetables.
  2. Using a sharp knife, make superficial cuts along the lengths of lemongrass. Then gently bend these pieces to "bruise" them (this releases flavor and fragrance). Place these small stalks in a mixing bowl. Note: For complete instructions on how to buy and cook with lemongrass, see: All About Lemongrass: Your Guide to Buying, Preparing, and Cooking with Lemongrass
  1. Add all other sauce ingredients to the bowl except the cornstarch. Stir well. Now prepare all your vegetables for stir-frying.
  2. Place 2 tablespoons oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium to high heat. Add the chicken or pork (together with its marinade). Stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes, or until meat is firm (You may need to add 1 or 2 tablespoons water to the wok/pan whenever it turns dry).
  3. Add the sauce (with the lemongrass), stirring well. Bring to a boil, then lower to medium heat. Cover, simmering for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms, green onion, and bell peppers, stirring well. Continue cooking another 5 to 6 minutes, or until vegetables have softened.
  5. Finally, add the bok choy or Chinese cabbage, stirring it in. Cook another 1 to 2 minutes, or until the boy choy or cabbage is tender.
  6. Add the arrowroot/cornstarch (dissolved in water). Stir well. Turn down the heat to low. As the sauce in the dish thickens, do a taste test. If not salty enough, add a little more fish sauce. If too salty, add a squeeze of lime juice. If not spicy enough, add a little more chili. If not sweet enough, add a little more brown sugar. If too sweet, add a little more rice vinegar or some lime juice.
  7. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve immediately with plenty of Thai jasmine-scented rice. ENJOY!

Leftovers: this dish makes for great leftovers. Keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze in a casserole dish and then pop in the oven when you need a quick dinner.

For a breaded version of Sweet and Sour Chicken, see my Classic Thai Sweet & Sour Chicken Recipe.