Classic Chinese restaurant style sweet and sour chicken has gotten a bad rep. But not this baby! Full of aromatic, colorful roasted vegetables and a zesty and easy sauce, this sweet and sour chicken will change your restaurant carryout habits forever!
It’s safe to say we all love the classic sweet and sour chicken. Full of sweet and tender chicken and crunchy vegetables the Chinese restaurant classic has become everyone’s favorite take out food. Unfortunately, it is typically breaded, deep fried and tossed in a sauce that is oozing with sugar and ingredients I cannot pronounce. I have been wanting to recreate this classic favorite at home for quite some time, but this past weekend I was re-inspired when I went to brunch for a friend’s “sprinkle”.
Side note…do you guys know what a sprinkle is? It’s a baby shower for your second baby. I mean really…this is what our lives have come down to… we do sprinkles as an excuse to get together to brunch and booze…this is what my life has come down to.
One of the best parts of being vegan right now is the trend that a lot of restaurants are developing towards including more and more plant based items on their menus. This particular restaurant we dined at in Evanston, was called Found Kitchen and Social House . For a darn good reason. Everything there is “found” locally, this includes the food, the furniture and even the people. They have a really strong mission statement and an incredible menu to match.
I had arrived after most of the other girls and they had already ordered several small plates. They had inadvertently ordered several vegan dishes that I ended up getting more orders of because of how delicious they were. They had an amazing swiss chard and kale salad tossed in a green goddess dressing with a flax cracker that I could not get enough of. And their roasted broccoli and cauliflower with harissa was out of this world (that recipe is coming soon.) But the crowning glory of the brunch was their summer vegetable stir-fry with chicken, pineapples and farmers market vegetables.
This dish was OFF THE HOOK! I picked out all the vegetables and devoured it in seconds along with the fragrant jasmine rice. There was a cornucopia of vegetables each succulent and crunchy. Multicolored carrots, sweet turnips and pineapple, delicate squash and savory red onions were all roasted to a gorgeous perfection and complimented the tangy sauce perfectly. It was not swimming in the sweet and sour sauce but instead just gently tossed in it. It was insanely delicious and I ordered a second serving immediately after we devoured the first.
When I went to re-create this dish at home I happened to choose a day when munchkin and I got home late and mama was a bit exhausted from running errands all evening after a crazy day at the office. So I decided to do something that I ordinarily do not do: I used a bottled sauce of sweet and sour sauce. (Cringe)
I used the Kame brand Sweet and Sour Sauce and I was quite pleased with how it tasted and their minimal ingredients on their ingredient list. I was planning on sprucing it up with some fresh flavors anyhow. Besides I bought it at Whole Foods so it had to be good right? (Don’t answer that)
30 minutes later I had an incredible sweet and sour chicken loaded with crispy oven roasted vegetables and a tangy sauce. All done without all the fat lent to deep-frying and dredging. Plus I whipped up a super quick and delicious side dish by just tossing broccoli florets with some powdered ginger, salt, pepper and olive oil.
Now THAT I can literally eat like popcorn! Flipping amazing! Tell me that isn’t one gorgeous meal?! Pleasing to the eyes and the palate. Enjoy everyone!
- !Sweet and Sour Chicken
- 3 pounds of chicken breast, sliced into 1 inch cubes.
- 3 cups of cooked rice to your liking, I prefer jasmine or basmati. (Note 1)
- 2 cups of fresh diced pineapple, cored and peeled; roughly ⅔ of a pineapple
- 3 medium sized turnips, cut into bite size cubes
- 1 squash, cut into large half moons about half an inch thick
- 1 zucchini, cut into large half moons about half an inch thick
- 2 carrots, sliced into coins about ½ an inch thick
- 1 large red onion, sliced into large cubes
- 1 red pepper, sliced into large cubes
- 1 inch piece of ginger, grated on a microplaner
- 3 cloves of garlic, grated on a microplaner
- pinch of chili flakes
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- ¼ cup pineapple juice
- juice of half a lemon
- ½ a jar of Kame Sweet and Sour Sauce. (Note 2)
- Salt and Pepper
- coconut oil
- olive oil
- sliced scallions for garnish
- !Ginger Dusted Broccoli
- 3 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 tbsp of powdered ginger
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- !Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Preheat the oven to 450-degrees
- Combine, turnips, squash, zucchini, carrots and onions on a sheet pan and toss with olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper.
- Place into the oven for 20 minutes occasionally flipping them on the sheet pan so that they get even coverage. (Note 3)
- While the veggies are roasting, add coconut oil to a large pan over high heat.
- Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper, liberally, Add chicken to pan in batches ensuring not to crowd the pan. Brown the chicken evenly on all sides and remove. Lower heat to medium.
- Ensure there is enough oil on the bottom of the pan. IF there is not, do not add more oil in, simply pour off some of the juice from the chicken that has been set aside.
- Add red pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes, until soft.
- Add ginger, garlic and chili flakes. Allow to cook for 2 minutes over low heat, ensuring not to brown.
- Add pineapple and caramelize the pineapple.
- Add chicken, soy sauce, sesame oil, pineapple juice, lemon juice and sweet and sour sauce. Bring to a boil.
- Add roasted vegetables and stirfry everything together so it is nicely coated with the sauce.
- Serve over rice and sprinkle with scallions.
- Make extra and freeze!
- Place broccoli florets on a sheet pan and toss with ginger, salt, pepper and olive oil.
- Roast for 15 minutes until beautifully browned on all sides.
Note 2: This just happened to be the one sauce I really like. I happened to have tasted many of their other products and was really pleased with all of them. But feel free to use any other sauces that you have found work for you.
Note 3: Sometimes I have found one side of my oven burns hotter. Usually it's the back of the oven. So I find that I need to rotate my sheet pan to ensure even browning and cooking. All ovens are different of course just make sure you know your oven.