Monday, February 20, 2012

Sweet and Sour Chicken Awesomeness

Ah, sweet and sour chicken.  As a young girl I learned how to use chop sticks eating sweet and sour chicken.  This was a dish my Gramie made quite a bit (and served with my own set of chop sticks of course - how exciting). To this day I refuse to eat Asian cuisine with a fork - just can't do it.  I had the pleasure of living with my grandparents for many years growing up, so I was exposed to my Gramie's fantastic cooking, all from scratch and all amazing.  Although not the healthiest at times (my Gramie was a lot like your Paula Deen with the butter and salt and the beef and the butter and the butter...).  Considering she grew up on a farm, I give her credit for incorporating some really creative, fresh dishes.  And every single night we had a salad.  And I ate my salad like a good little girl, and thus rewarded generously with a big hunk of cake for dessert (yes, there was always fresh baked cake, muffins, pastires, etc., in the house). I will always remember Gramie's sweet and sour dish.  My grandparents and father lived in Japan for several years during the Korean War.  I do believe she was greatly inspired by the food and culture, as this was definitely reflected in her cooking.  

Your traditional sweet and sour dish is loaded with sugar and salt, not to mention gluten.  My version differs greatly in this respect, but is not lacking in flavor a bit.  However, I feel it's important to not expect a toned down version to taste like the original.  We must appreciate the simplicity and goodness for what it is: wholesome and real in its own right.  This is a quick, easy dinner that delivers on health as well as on taste.   

-1 yellow onion, chopped
-1 large red bell pepper, chopped 
-1 can of pineapple chuncks (or fresh if you can find it) 
-2 cooked chicken breasts (great way to use leftovers)
-1/2 cup cashews 
-3 tablespoons pineapple juice
-2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
-1 tablespoon low sodium, gluten free soy sauce
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon garlic granules
-Oil of choice 
-Fresh ground pepper 
-Red pepper flakes (for mom and dad) 
-1 teaspoon grated ginger (optional)

How To:

-I used white basmati.  Really nice flavor.  1 1/2 cups rice to 3 cups water.  In a medium sauce pan, bring water and rice to a boil, add in a drizzle of oil.  Turn down to low and cover.  This rice cooks pretty quick.  When all the water has cooked away, turn off heat and let rice sit covered until ready to serve.

Sweet and Sour Chicken: 
1.  Coat a large saute pan with oil, heat on med/low, and add onion, pepper and salt.  Saute for a few minutes.
2.  Drain pineapple juice from pineapple chunks and add pineapple to pan along with chicken and cashews.  Saute for a few minutes.
3.  Add soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, pineapple juice, and garlic granules (and optional ginger).  Keep pan on medium low and cook down liquid, stirring occasionally.  Cook veggies until desired tenderness.  
4.  I didn't add any thickener to this dish, as there was a minimal amount of liquid.  If you like more of a sauce, then simply add more oil, pineapple juice and soy sauce and mix in your thickener of choice.
5.  Serve with red pepper flakes and black pepper to taste 


*If you are avoiding rice, quinoa or millet would be great 
*For vegetarians, use tofu or mushrooms in place of meat.
Shared on: Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays Traditional Tuesdays, Gluten-Free WednesdaysAllergy Free Wednesdays, Whole Food WednesdaysPennywise PlatterMiz Helen's Country Cottage Lunch Box Love Fridays,  Freaky Friday, Fresh Bites Fridays, Friday Foodie Fix 


  1. Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

  2. Judee @ Gluten Free A-ZFebruary 21, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    Love the story, and the recipe looks so good. I'm going to try it with tofu ( I'm a vegetarian) Should work well.

    1. Thanks Judee!

      I'm sure this would be delicious with tofu. Perhaps marinated tofu for some extra flavor, or marinated tempeh?

      Be Well,

  • These flavors sound amazing! My husband loves Chinese food, but we haven't eaten it since he was diagnosed with celiac disease. And I haven't eaten it in years because of all the hidden junk-MSG, corn syrup, etc in the food. So this recipe is brilliant. I will be making it soon and I am pretty sure my entire family will be thrilled. Thank you so much Amber!

    1. Hi There Laura,

      Thanks! I'm not sure why we don't eat more Asian inspired cuisine? I should make it one of my weekly rotations! It's so easy, usually just chop and saute. I don't eat a lot of rice, but once in a while I really enjoy it. I find that white rice is a little easier to digest than brown, although I do love the brown variety. My kids liked this dish, however they are so used to eating pineapple raw and plain - my son didn't really like it all cooked up, but with some convincing, he ate it. :-) My husband loved it and he's very honest with me about my cooking (I ask him to be, as I don't want to post something that's a total flop). And so he gave this a big thumbs up. I hope your family enjoys it too Laura.




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