20 minute Sweet and Sour Chicken

This Sweet and Sour Chicken is completely inspired by the traditional techniques, but with my own added twists and simplified process.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

About 20 years ago, my sister-in-law gave my husband a very authentic and very complicated Chinese cookbook. We moved this book through 7 houses and two countries and I never noticed it. The other day, it literally feel into my lap. It explains in great detail the technical side of authentic Chinese cooking. I read through it and am using it for inspiration, as well as to improve my understanding of Chinese cooking.

This recipe is completely inspired by the book’s authenticity and traditional techniques, but with my own added twists and simplified process. The result is a subtle take on sweet and sour chicken that is easy, delicious and takes 20 minutes. It can be eaten simply with rice or used in an appetizer or other main dishes.

This Sweet and Sour Chicken is completely inspired by the traditional techniques, but with my own added twists and simplified process.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sweet and Sour Chicken

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 20 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 3/4 pound chicken breast
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 spring onion, sliced, to serve
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, to serve
  • White rice, to serve

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chinese rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 garlic clove, grated or finally minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated or finally minced
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water


  1. To make chicken (#1-#5): Pat the chicken dry and cut it into 1-inch squires.
  2. Place the cornstarch, five-spice, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix together.
  3. Toss the diced chicken into the cornstarch mixture until thoroughly coated.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan or wok until hot. Add the chicken to the pan and cook until browned, about 2-3 minutes per side. Add more oil if needed.
  5. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  6. To make sweet and sour sauce (#6-#9): Combine the rice vinegar, sugar, ketchup, soy sauce and water in a small bowl, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Set aside.
  7. Add the oil to the pan. When the oil is hot enough to sizzle add garlic and ginger. Stir gently until fragrant, 10-15 minutes, adjusting the heat so they will sizzle without browning.
  8. Add the combined liquids, stir to blend, then raise the heat to bring the mixture to a bubbly simmer, stirring.
  9. Reduce the heat to medium low, stir the cornstarch mixture to recombine it, and add it to the pan. Stir until the mixture thickens and becomes glossy, about 20 seconds.
  10. Add the chicken back and cook for another minute until piping hot. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  11. Serve with rice and spring onions.


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  • Reply
    Tasty Eats Ronit Penso
    May 17, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    Quick and tasty – I’m all for it!
    Funny story about the book! 🙂

    • Reply
      May 18, 2015 at 10:33 am

      Thanks! I made it for lunch yesterday and it was fast and really tasty:)

  • Reply
    Laura @ Feast Wisely
    May 18, 2015 at 12:51 am

    I have so many never touched cookbooks – your story has given me hope that they will one day come in useful….

    • Reply
      May 18, 2015 at 10:35 am

      Thanks Laura! Oh yes, one day you might open one of your cookbooks and find something that will inspire you:)

  • Reply
    May 18, 2015 at 7:40 am

    I will definitely try this and let you know.Looks so easy and very well done.Great Job you…Please do visit my blog too sometimes x

    • Reply
      May 18, 2015 at 10:37 am

      Thanks! Hope you do!!! We really liked this recipe!!! You have a nice blog, I will definitely come back and explore more:)

      • Reply
        May 18, 2015 at 10:48 am

        Aww thank you love. you’re so kind.. I would definitely try it and maybe twist it with some orange zests 🙂

  • Reply
    K @ Peeled Wellness
    May 18, 2015 at 8:02 am

    This looks so tasty- I cant believe it comes together so fast! If you’re interested, I’d love for you to share a post in my blog link up tomorrow. It’s a great way to network with other bloggers and share content. I wrote a brief explanation up on my main menu under ‘Tell Em Tuesdays’. I hope you’ll join in!
    xoxo K

    • Reply
      May 18, 2015 at 10:38 am

      Thanks! It comes together really fast!!! Thanks for the invite, I will definitely check it out:)

  • Reply
    May 18, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    I love quick and easy chicken recipes like this. Thank you for posting a simplified Chinese recipe! Looks delicious.

  • Reply
    May 19, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    I love sweet and sour and even better cooked in 20 minutes! 🙂

  • Reply
    May 22, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    another winner – I just know it!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2015 at 9:32 am

    This chicken looks fabulous Olga- always great to be back here 🙂

    • Reply
      May 27, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      Thanks Marta! I was very good:) it’s always great to see you ‘here’

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