Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry

Sweet and sour chicken
Adrian Burke/Photodisc/Getty Images
  • Total: 35 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1197 Calories
58g Fat
61g Carbs
108g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: Serves 4
Amount per serving
Calories 1197
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 58g 75%
Saturated Fat 18g 91%
Cholesterol 314mg 105%
Sodium 1697mg 74%
Total Carbohydrate 61g 22%
Dietary Fiber 8g 28%
Protein 108g
Calcium 321mg 25%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This healthy and colorful recipe will please everyone at dinnertime - even the kids. Slices of chicken (or pork) are cooked in a special Thai-style sweet and sour sauce that's tangy-delicious. Add shiitake mushrooms and bok choy, plus fresh vegetables such as bell peppers and tomatoes plus fresh coriander, and you've got a low-fat, one-dish meal that also makes a great party or potluck dish.


  • For the Marinade:
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce (mixed with 1 teaspoon cornstarch)
  • 3 to 4 boneless chicken breasts (or 6 to 8 thighs or the equivalent of pork)
  • 1 red bell pepper (chopped into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 green bell pepper (chopped into bite-size pieces)
  • 4 to 6 fresh shiitake mushrooms (sliced)
  • 4 small "heads" bok choy (or the equivalent of 2 cupsChinese cabbage, chopped)
  • 5 green onions (cut into 2 to 3-inch lengths)
  • Garnish: 1 handful of fresh coriander
  • 3 tablespoons oil for stir-frying
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (cut into 3-inch lengths)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup (or substitute tomato paste plus 1 teaspoon sugar)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon chili sauce (or 1 fresh red chili, minced)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal (or ginger, grated)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 makrut lime leaves (fresh, dried, or frozen)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch (dissolved in 3 tablespoons water)

Steps to Make It

  1. First, mix the soy sauce with the cornstarch - this is your marinade. Mix with the chicken and allow to sit while you prepare the sauce and vegetables.

  2. Using a sharp knife, make superficial cuts along the lengths of lemongrass. Then gently bend these pieces to "bruise" them (this releases flavor and fragrance). Place these small stalks in a mixing bowl. Note: For complete instructions on how to buy and cook with lemongrass, see: All About Lemongrass: Your Guide to Buying, Preparing, and Cooking with Lemongrass

  3. Add all other sauce ingredients to the bowl except the cornstarch. Stir well. Now prepare all your vegetables for stir-frying.

  4. Place 2 tablespoons oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium to high heat. Add the chicken or pork (together with its marinade). Stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes, or until meat is firm (You may need to add 1 or 2 tablespoons water to the wok/pan whenever it turns dry).

  5. Add the sauce (with the lemongrass), stirring well. Bring to a boil, then lower to medium heat. Cover, simmering for 5 minutes.

  6. Add the mushrooms, green onion, and bell peppers, stirring well. Continue cooking another 5 to 6 minutes, or until vegetables have softened.

  7. Finally, add the bok choy or Chinese cabbage, stirring it in. Cook another 1 to 2 minutes, or until the boy choy or cabbage is tender.

  8. Add the arrowroot/cornstarch (dissolved in water). Stir well. Turn down the heat to low. As the sauce in the dish thickens, do a taste test. If not salty enough, add a little more fish sauce. If too salty, add a squeeze of lime juice. If not spicy enough, add a little more chili. If not sweet enough, add a little more brown sugar. If too sweet, add a little more rice vinegar or some lime juice.

  9. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve immediately with plenty of Thai jasmine-scented rice. ENJOY!

Leftovers: this dish makes for great leftovers. Keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze in a casserole dish and then pop in the oven when you need a quick dinner.

For a breaded version of Sweet and Sour Chicken, see my Classic Thai Sweet & Sour Chicken Recipe.