Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken

This recipe needs to come with a couple of disclaimers. Firstly, it’s not quick. I underestimated how long this would take and we were eating dinner at 7pm. Oops. Secondly, my kids didn’t like it. Even after trying to ‘sell’ it to them as chicken nuggets in a ketchup sauce. Henry spent most of the meal trying to pick off the coating on the chicken. Alice took one look, pushed it around the plate for a second, then pronounced she was finished. Lucy, bless her, gave it a good go. Hannah showed a feigned interest then got stuck between her stool and the table.

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However, this means absolutely nothing. Because it was bloody lovely. And it’s fairly simple. Just not quick. I’ll definitely be making it again, albeit maybe not for the kids.

Ingredients (to serve 4 adults)

4 chicken breasts, cut into bitesize chunks
100g cornflour
2 eggs, beaten
salt & pepper
vegetables of your choice (I used carrots cut into batons, sliced mushrooms & red pepper)

For the sauce:

75g brown sugar
100ml red wine vinegar
75g ketchup
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 small tin of pineapple chunks in juice

1. Make the sauce by mixing all of the ingredients together in a bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Add the whole tin of pineapple, juice and all. Then add your veg to the bowl and stir. You can use whatever veg you like, as much as you want. Set this aside whilst you prepare the chicken.

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2.  Just so you know, this will get messy. Put the cornflour in a bowl and season. In a separate bowl crack your eggs and beat. Take your chicken pieces in batches, plonk them in the cornflour to coat, then dunk them in the egg and onto a plate. That’s right – cornflour then egg.

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3. Fill a frying pan or wok with vegetable oil to about a centimetre depth, and heat over a medium high setting. Fry the chicken pieces, again in batches, for a couple of minutes, turning over halfway, until nicely golden. This doesn’t take long, they really only take a couple of minutes. Set aside on a plate with a piece of kitchen roll to absorb some of the excess oil.

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4. Lightly oil a large casserole dish (a large shallow dish is best) and place all of the chicken into this dish. Onto this tip the sauce mixture and stir through.

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5. Chuck this into a preheated oven, 170°C/325°F/Gas 3. Cook for about 50 minutes, until the sauce has thickened, stirring a couple of times to coat everything in sauce.

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Serve with whatever you fancy. We had ours with lovely fluffy basmati rice (see my Kedgeree recipe for how to cook great rice every time).

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I made this for three adults and four children – my Mum’s visiting – which required a fair amount of chicken, another reason why it took so long. Cut the quantities in half and it probably wouldn’t take quite so long. Although I’d still be tempted to cook this the next time we have visitors. It’s worth the effort.

Happy cooking!

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Author: Sarah Margetts

Busy mum of four, cooking up a storm.