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Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry

User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)


Sweet and sour chicken
Adrian Burke/Photodisc/Getty Images
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.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes


  • SERVES 4
  • MARINADE: 4 Tbsp. soy sauce mixed with 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 3-4 boneless chicken breasts or 6-8 thighs (OR the equivalent of pork)
  • 1 red and 1 green bell pepper, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 4-6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 small "heads" bok choy, or the equivalent of 2 cups Chinese cabbage, chopped
  • 5 green onions, cut into 2-3 inch lengths
  • handful of fresh coriander (for garnish)
  • oil for stir-frying
  • SAUCE:
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 3-inch lengths (for more on lemongrass, see link below)
  • 3 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato ketchup (or substitute tomato paste + 1 tsp. sugar)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp. chilli sauce (or 1 fresh red chilli, minced) - omit or reduce to half if cooking for children
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal (or ginger), grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, fresh, dried, or frozen (available at your local Asian grocery store)
  • 1 heaping tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 3 Tbsp. water


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

  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 Tbsp. oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium to high heat. Add the chicken or pork (together with its marinade). Stir-fry 1-2 minutes, or until meat is firm (You may need to add 1 or 2 Tbsp. 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 5-6 minutes, or until vegetables have softened.
  7. Finally, add the bok choy or chinese cabbage, stirring it in. Cook another 1-2 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.
  • User Reviews

    Reviews for this section have been closed.

     5 out of 5
    Tasty enough for guests, Member zoo4cooking

    This was my husband and my first attempt at Thai cooking. My husband loves Thai food so we decided to try to cook it ourselves. Not only was it easy to prepare, but it was delicious. The quantities of the ingredients were perfect for the authentic Thai balance of flavors. My husband and I agreed that this recipe was not only beautiful, especially with our additional of purple cabbage, but taste worthy enough to prepare for guests. We plan to prepare the same recipe for a visiting friend next month. As a note, we excluded some ingredients because we didn't have them on hand, including the mushrooms and the bok choy (we used purple cabbage). We added tomatoes (add after cornstarch has thickened at end as the juices make the sauce a little watery), yellow chieve (add with green onions), fresh chives (also add with green onions), and thumb-sized grated fresh turmeric. Read the recipe first. The marinade is mentioned in the directions, but we mistakenly didn't see that step until midway through cooking. It would have been more helpful to have the marinade listed above in the ingredients section. The cooking goes fast so be sure all ingredients are next to the stove and in appropriate quantities in separate bowls. Separate the chicken and vegetables by the steps listed in the recipe (chicken first, then green onions, then cabbage). Also, we found the time listed to cook the chicken took longer than 1-2 minutes to brown, in part because we were cooking in a regular frying pan.

    22 out of 24 people found this helpful.

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