Better Than Takeout: Sweet and Sour Chicken with Cashews
You can skip the takeout because this homemade sweet and sour chicken recipe with cashews will be your new go to when those Chinese food cravings kick in. This recipe is made with a combination of delectable succulent chicken and fresh colorful vegetables and fruit that get tossed in a light yet sticky sweet sauce. It is a scrumptious dish that will not disappoint!
In the time it takes for you to order your Chinese takeout and wait for it to arrive, you could have this mouthwatering meal in the same amount of time, if not sooner! This better than take out sweet and sour chicken recipe is a family favorite and a go to meal in our household whenever we are craving Chinese takeout. Side note: we also love pairing it with my Hawaiian Garlic Pineapple Fried Rice recipe as well. This is a super easy dish that can be made in 30 minutes or less! It makes for an easy week night or weekend dinner when you need the comfort of a home cooked meal, but the taste of takeout.
I used to be intimidated to make homemade Chinese takeout dishes. They always seemed to be hard to make becuase there were so many flavors involved, plus the sauce is what makes these dishes and let’s be real, where do I even begin to start making that!? Well, trust me when I say it is way easier that you think!
When I am in the mood, I love a really good Chinese place, but what I don’t love is how unhealthy it can be. So, I wanted to experiment with flavors, sauces and textures until I came up with the perfect combination to make my own dish at home. Doing this gave me the comfort of knowing exactly what is being put into the dish and exactly how it is being made. Once I came up with the perfect recipe and found out how easy it was, the intimidation faded away and I realized that it is not so hard after all! All you need is a few simple ingredients plus some corn starch to thicken the sauce and you are in business my friend!
I don’t know about you, but when I think of a really tasty chinese dish I think: big chunks of vegetables and fruit that I can pick through, tender juicy proteins and savory thick sauces that then get enjoyed with steamed white rice or noodles.... oh man, I am honestly drooling while I write this.
Anyways, when I was creating this recipe, that was my exact thought process: big chunks of vegetables and fruit, tender juicy chicken and thick savory sauce. I cut the vegetables in larger pieces which make for faster prep time, since it does not involve any dicing or mincing. With the chicken, I did not want any crispy coating on the outside, I really just wanted a to provide you with thinner pieces, that were easy to cook in just minutes and soak up the sauce when coated and in turn gives you a really juicy outcome. The sauce is light, sweet and tangy so you really get the sweet and the sour. Plus, It gets thickened with cornstarch which gives it that perfect take out consistency.
Once you get this dish started, it only takes minutes until it is done. Below are photos step by step on how it gets made.
Did you make this recipe? Tag @prettyplatebymichelle or #prettyplatebymichelle on instagram. I would love to see your good mood food dish and I will be happy to share!
Serves 5, INGREDIENTS:
1 LB. boneless skinless chicken breast, thin
2 Red bell peppers, chopped in thick pieces
1 Cup onion, chopped in thick pieces
2 Green bell peppers, chopped in thick pieces
1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks
1 14 oz. can baby corn
1/2 Cup raw cashews
1 Cup broccoli florets
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 TBSP olive oil
For the Sauce:
1 TBSP coconut aminos (I used the New Primal brand from Whole Foods)
2 TBSP corn starch + 2 TBSP water for sauce
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1 Cup pineapple ginger juice (from Whole Foods. You can also use regular pineapple juice + 1 TSP grated ginger or you can omit the ginger and just stick with the regular pineapple juice)
2 TBSP soy sauce
3 TBSP a
3 TBSP apple cider vinegar
Prepare your ingredients: chop your red bell pepper, green bell pepper, onion and broccoli (if needed). Place in separate bowls and set aside.
Drain your baby corn and pineapple cans. Set aside.
If you have a thick piece of boneless skinless chicken breast that is not butterflied already, slice the chicken in half lengthwise to have thinner pieces. Cut a piece of parchment paper or wax paper and lay it on your cutting board, place the chicken on top and then layer with another sheet of parchment paper or wax paper. Using a meat tenderizer hammer the chicken so it becomes even thinner. Hammer until about 1/2-1 inch thick. Slice the chicken in longer pieces (not cubes). Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
In a bowl, whisk together your cornstarch and water, set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together: coconut aminos, brown sugar, pineapple ginger juice, soy sauce and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.
Spray your wok or pan with non stick spray and heat on your stove over medium to high heat. Add you chicken and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until no longer pink. When done, remove from heat and set aside.
Heat 1 TBSP olive oil in the same wok or pan over medium heat, add minced garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
Add your red bell peppers, green bell peppers and onions. Cook for about 5 minutes until vegetables are tender. Then, add your broccoli, baby corn and pineapple chunks and cook another 5-7 minutes until bright and tender. Add your cashews and mix everything well.
Add your chicken back to the wok or pan. Whisk the cornstarch and water mixture again and then mix it with your sauce (combine the two bowls). Whisk the sauce to mix in the cornstarch and pour sauce over chicken and vegetables. Bring your heat to medium low and mix everything well. Sauce should begin to thicken and simmer.
Cook over medium low heat for another 5-10 minutes to let the sauce get hot and mix in with the chicken and vegetables. When done, serve immediately with steamed white rice or lo mein noodles. ENJOY!
PRETTY PLATE KITCHEN ITEMS USED: