Chinese take out be damned! This sweet and sour chicken is way better.
While I love sweet and sour chicken in its original take out form, it’s a real pain in the, you know what to make at home. There’s the flour, the messy batter and the splattering of hot frying oil all over the place. Plus, after all that nonsense, you’re still not done! Now we have cook it for like an hour in the oven. Who the hell has time for all that? That alone, will put an extra sour taste in your mouth if you have to go through all that just for a bowl of sweet and sour chicken.
I won’t argue that when done in the traditional manner, it’s damn delicious. It’s just that there must be an easier way. As for me, anything that can be cooked on the grill is always the easier way. Now, if we can just get the sweet and sour chicken to cooperate.
When developing this recipe, the foremost issue was going to be the crispy coating on the chicken that’s typical with most sweet and sour chicken. It’s almost impossible to create that without the batter and frying oil. Two thoughts then dawned on me. First, I’m not all that crazy about fried, floured coatings, except on my southern-fried chicken. Second, the great byproduct of Chinese take out is the leftovers. How I love them for lunch! But if you’ve noticed, that crisp coating on the sweet and sour chicken doesn’t hold up well overnight. The next day you’re presented with a pile of mush-coating all over your chicken. Yep, I won’t be sad to see the breading nightmare go by the wayside. After all, I can crisp up the chicken with the grill. Now that we’ve solved the breading issue, let’s fire up the grill and attempt some sweet and sour chicken.
Any other ingredients you wish to add into the mix is entirely up to you. I’ve seen sweet and sour chicken with just chicken. I’ve seen it with green peppers. I’ve seen it with green peppers and pineapple chunks. Why, I’ve even seen it with green peppers, pineapple chunks and cherries! I guess there’s no set rules with sweet and sour chicken. As for me, I add onion, green peppers and those little baby corns. (I love those guys!) Additionally, I might add water chestnuts and/or bean sprouts. It all depends on what I have on hand. I like a little veggie action with my dishes, if I can.
The smoky flavor from the grill along with slightly charred chicken really added flavor to this dish. You’re going to like it! Serve it over rice or Oriental-style noodles.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- salt and pepper
- rice or noodles for serving
- sesame seeds for garnish, optional
- bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
- 1 medium green pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch strips
- 1 15-OZ can baby corn
- 1 8-OZ can water chestnuts
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 4 tablespoons BBQ Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
- 3 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the marinade ingredients and mix well.
- Thread cubed chicken pieces onto the bamboo skewers and place in a baking dish. Pour marinade over the chicken and cover. Place in refrigerator and allow to marinate for at least an hour, turning once or twice.
- In a small sauce pan, combine the sauce ingredients over a medium heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes and remove from heat.
- Prepare a 2-zone fire with the hot side at medium-high.
- Remove chicken from the marinade and sear skewers over hot flame for about 10 minutes while rotating each couple of minutes or until all sides are slightly charred and crisp. Remove from the fire and set aside.
- Place a lightly oiled dutch oven or cast iron frying pan directly over the fire and allow to heat up.
- If using green peppers and onions, add to pan and allow to cook for about 10 minutes, while turning occasionally.
- Remove chicken from skewers and and place in pan. Add any remaining vegetables and pour in the sauce. Stir to combine.
- Move pan to the cooler side of the fire and cover grill. Cook an additional 45 minutes, stirring at the half-way point. Chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F (75°C) when inserted into the chicken.
- Remove pan from grill. Using a slotted spoon, place chicken and veggies in a serving bowl. Pour remaining sauce in a bowl for serving on the side.
- Serve over rice or noodles and garnish with a sprinkling sesame seeds if desired. Serve with remaining sauce on the side.