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Sweet and Sour Chicken from Scratch

So I didn’t actually take any step by step pictures for this one, but the other night, my son said he wanted to eat Chinese food. He really just wanted to eat white rice. I admit that there is something very soothing about not only eating white rice, but also the smell of a fresh pot from the rice cooker. In our house, the rice of choice is Jasmine. So even better.

I think I am getting a little off topic…

Well, I happened to be on my way to Aldi to pick up some groceries and there was no way I was going to go to the store and then order out (though, yes, we have done drive thru with a full trunk of groceries before. It happens). So instead I decided that we would make Chinese food. He said he was fine with that as long as there was rice. Nice of him, huh? So I picked up a package of chicken tenders which may have been a little more in price than the breasts, but you are paying for the convenience.

When I got home, I told him that he would be helping me make dinner. So we looked up several recipes on the internet before we found a combination that we liked and oh my goodness was it good. We made sweet and sour chicken all from scratch. I hope you enjoy because this is now a new favorite in our house.



For the Rice:

*consult your rice cooker for exact amounts. Mine uses a special scoop to measure.

For the Chicken:

  • 1 lb Chicken
  • 3/4 cup Corn Starch
  • 1/4 cup Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 cup Lemon Flavored Seltzer
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1/4 Tsp Pepper
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tbs Vegetable Oil

For the Sauce:

  • 3 Tbs Ketchup
  • 1 cup Pineapple Juice
  • 1 Tbs Soy Sauce
  • 1/3 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbs Water
  • 1Tbs Cornstarch


For the Rice:

  1. Measure out the amount of rice that you wish to cook. For example, I typically use three scoops of Jasmine Rice using the special cup that came with my rice cooker. This scoop does not exactly measure to equal one cup exactly, so make sure to follow the instructions on how to measure out rice based on your rice cooker.
  2. Rinse rice in water until water is clear. This rinses the starch off the rice which make for a nice sticky rice like you would get in a Chinese restaurant. I like to use a strainer and use a back and forth method under the faucet until the water is clear and no longer cloudy from the starch. It also helps to swish it around in the pot as you are rinsing it.
  3. Measure water to the level specified for your rice cooker for the amount of scoops you added.
  4. Place in rice cooker and set cooking selection of White Rice. You could also do this in your Instant Pot, but I admit that I have not tried this yet. Same instructions would apply though.

For the chicken:

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Cube chicken into 1 inch cubes and set aside.
  3. Add flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and baking powder to medium size bowl and use a fork to mix well together. You could also use a flour sifter to sift together the dry ingredients to make sure they are well blended.
  4. Break one egg in small cup or bowl and mix well. Add to flour mixture.
  5. Add seltzer to flour and egg mixture. This should be a mixture pretty similar to Oobleck.
  6. Dip chicken into the Oobleck-like mixture and toss well so chicken is well covered. Coat all chicken pieces. You may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your skillet.
  7. Heat skillet to high medium heat and add approximately 2 tablespoons oil.
  8. When oil is hot, carefully add chicken to skillet. Do not overcrowd your pan as it will lose heat.
  9. Flip chicken when starts to brown. This may be approximately 2-3 minutes. Don’t worry about cooking it through as you will be finishing in the oven.
  10. Move chicken to foil covered baking sheet.
  11. Once all chicken has been partially cooked in skillet and moved to baking sheet, place baking sheet in oven. Cook at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
  12. Move to a paper towel covered plate for any residual oil.
  13. Serve with the sauce form the next section.

For the Sauce:

  1. In small saucepan, combine pineapple juice, light brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, and soy sauce. Whisk together.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. In small bowl, combine water and cornstarch. Add to pot and whisk in.
  4. Cook until sauce thickens, should take about one minute.
  5. Remove from heat and serve over chicken.

Please keep in mind that this is my method, you may prefer to forgo the oven and cook it completely in the pan. I have an issue with texture and just don’t really like the texture of fully skillet fried chicken. That is why I finish in the oven.

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