Friday, 18 January 2013

Hairy Bikers Sweet and Sour Chicken (Lo Cal)

You got to hand it to Dave and Si, they sure know how to dish up a proper meal. There is nothing better than a proper family favourite that keeps the whole family happy! I love this recipe, mainly because is it easy to make, healthy and it is the official end to my "Perfect Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe" search (phew!!). Oh how I have searched the web, cookbooks and cookery programmes for "the one". Nigella's recipe was too runny and lacked punch, Gok Wan's although extremely tasty was very high in sugar and a bit fussy (I could never really get the whole caramelised sugar thing down to pat). My poor family have sat through many a Friday evening's dinner wondering how the latest attempt would taste, not to mention my ever increasing questions, rating each instalment. I have finally found the balance between not too sweet and not too sour, so much so that my beautiful 5yr old son now requests this meal more that any other.....success!!

288 calories per portion (without rice).

Serves 4

1 x 425g Can pineapple chunks in natural juice
2 tbsp Cornflour
2 tbsp Dark soy sauce
2 tbsp White wine vinegar
2 tbsp Soft light brown sugar
2 tbsp Tomato ketchup
½ tsp Dried chilli flakes
2 boneless, Skinless chicken breasts ( I used 500g Quorn Chicken Style Pieces instead)
2 tbsp Sunflower oil
1 Medium onion, cut into 12 wedges
2 Peppers, red, green, orange or yellow, deseeded and cut into chunks of about 3cm/1¼in
1 x 225g Water chestnuts (I used a carrot which I cut into small matchsticks)
2 Garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
25g Piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
Freshly ground black pepper

To make the sauce, drain the pineapple in a sieve over a bowl and keep all the juice – you should have about 150ml.  Put the cornflour in a large bowl and stir in three tablespoons of the pineapple juice to make a smooth paste. Add the remaining juice and 150ml water, then stir in the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, ketchup and chilli flakes until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

Cut each chicken breast into eight or nine even pieces. Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan or wok and stir-fry the onion and peppers for two minutes over a high heat. 

Drain the water chestnuts and cut them in half horizontally. Add the remaining oil and the chicken to the pan and stir-fry for two minutes until coloured on all sides. 

Add the garlic, ginger, pineapple chunks and water chestnuts and stir-fry for 30–60 seconds. Give the cornflour and pineapple mixture a good stir and add it to the pan with the chicken and vegetables. Stir well, season with some ground black pepper and bring to a simmer. 

Cook for 4–6 minutes until the sauce is thickened and glossy and the chicken is tender and cooked throughout, turning the chicken and vegetables a few times. Serve with a small portion of rice.


  1. I've just bought the Hairy Dieters book...and I have to say all the recipes look great. I haven't made any yet but I may be inspired to make this sweet and sour as yours looks so good! :-)

  2. Thank you Laura, you know I didn't post this because it's the lo cal version but because it's really really tasty and handy to make and everyone loves it in this house! I'll be interested to know what your opinion is on the Hairy Bikers new book :)

  3. This recipe sounds great! Just one question: can you say roughly how many calories it is, please?

    1. Hello Nigel, you may have missed it but it is written above the ingredients list. 288Kcal per person (without rice) and it serves four people. Enjoy!

  4. Many thanks, Lisa. The old eyes are not as spry as they once were! :)

    1. You are welcome Nigel, I hope you enjoy the recipe. Good luck with Waif :)

  5. Hi Lisa.
    Please can you tell me, are the tablespoons of cornflour and sugar level or heaped?

    1. Hi Nick,
      That's a really good question, it isn't mentioned exactly in the recipe but I think I used round tablespoons, I went for a happy medium?

      Thank you Nick,