If you want to cook proper Chinese takeout style sweet and sour chicken, this is THE recipe. I included a tutorial video and step-by-step pictures, so you can easily follow the process of cooking with a wok.
Like many American takeout dishes, you won’t find sweet and sour chicken on the menu of most restaurants in China. But we do have a sweet and sour pork dish (糖醋里脊) and it’s wildly popular.
Sweet and sour sauce
Authentic sweet and sour sauce uses ketchup as a main ingredient. But each restaurant uses its own secret ingredients to add flavor and make the sauce more interesting. I’d say there are thousands of ways to create this sauce. For example, you can find three other different versions of sweet and sour sauce on my blog:
Each recipe uses a different combination of ingredients to create a pungent and rich sauce. They are all very delicious.
For the sweet and sour sauce in today’s recipe, I used a lighter sauce that is closer to the American takeout style. We seldom use processed sauces at home (except mayonnaise!). So I used tomato paste (or you can use tomato sauce) to replace katchup. In addition, I used rice vinegar and orange juice to make the sauce fruitier.