An easy and guilt-free recipe for classic sweet and sour chicken with tons of flavor.
We had a family Christmas party on my inlaw’s side Saturday… and then again on Sunday. Lots of cheesy dips and lot of sugar-overload deserts have been making their way into my holiday diet, and I’ve greeted them with wide open arms. This is what the holidays are about! No wait. The holidays are about giving. And family. And then good food comes in maybe, third place.
So allow me to re-phrase. This is part of what the holidays are about!
As I was digging into my second helping of Oreo-peppermint-ice-cream-dessert (oh-ma-gosh. addiction alert!!) that my sister in law Kadee brought to the par-tay, we joked about our new year’s resolutions and how January-one will be diet central as we try to shed the holiday pounds. But I’ve actually been trying to balance all of the holiday cookies and homemade caramels with some lighter dishes (ohhhh quinoa chicken nuggets I love you). Hence this healthy sweet and sour chicken.
So what makes it healthy?? Well most restaurants deep-fry their chicken in a thick batter, which is, let’s admit it, totally delicious. But! It’s not needed. You can get tons of flavor without the heavy oil-laden breading. This chicken is lightly coated in corn starch which is probably my favorite trick for making-over takeout dishes. The corn starch is low-carb and a very thin coating delivers a crispy exterior on your chicken when sautéed in a tablespoon or two of oil.
We ate this for lunch just yesterday and we instantly fell in love. It actually makes it hard to ever order sweet and sour chicken from a restaurant again now that we have an easy and healthier version to whip up at home in 30 minutes.
Healthy Sweet and Sour Chicken
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to ½ inch thickness and chopped into 1 inch pieces
⅓ cup corn starch
2 tablespoons oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper
½ white or yellow onion, chopped
¾ cup sugar
½ cup apple cider vinegar (may sub white vinegar)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion salt*
¼ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon cornstarch + 2 tablespoon cold water
First prepare the sauce. Add sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic powder, onion salt, and ketchup to a medium sauce pan. Stir and bring to a boil. In a small bowl whisk together the 1 tablespoon corn starch and cold water until dissolved. Add to sauce pan and stir until thickened, then reduce to low heat.
Add chicken pieces and corn starch to a large ziplock bag. Seal and shake to coat chicken. Drizzle a large pan or skillet with oil. Add coated chicken. Saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add peppers and onions. Continue to saute over medium heat until chicken is browned and cooked through.
Add sauce to chicken and peppers. Stir to coat well. Serve warm with cooked rice if desired.