Sweet Fire Chicken

You may know this dish from the Panda Express.  It’s a sweet and sour type chicken dish with pineapples, peppers, and onions and a great sweet and slightly spicy sauce.  It is my go-to order whenever we are craving fast food Chinese.  My only complaints when I order it is that there is never enough, and it’s not exactly low calorie food being “fast food”.  Being able to make it at home you get to control a few things and likely cut back on some of the less desirable calories/fat. 

I would say this is a pretty fair comparison to the dish you get at Panda Express, with only some slight differences.  The most obvious one being the chicken.  At panda express it doesn’t appear to be panko breaded, but rather just flour coated and then I am not sure if it’s deep fried or pan fried at that point.  This recipe calls for deep frying, but I actually just put enough oil in the bottom of my skillet to cover it and fried them that way.  I liked the more crunchy breading you get with the panko compared to the restaurant version.

Another difference was the sauce.  I think it’s pretty close in flavor, but the stuff I get at Panda Express is a bit spicier which I like.  This can easily be adjusted though by the amount of chili paste you put in.  So I suggest giving it a taste and putting a bit more if you like it spicy.

My own version was even more different in that I left out the onions entirely, but replaced them with a few green onions (greens only).  I like onions, and normally would have used them, but I have started looking into a new diet called the Low FODMAP diet and onions are on the NO list.  For those not familiar, the diet is one suggested for those with IBS, as it avoids foods that are harder to digest and cause bloating and gas build up.  As anyone with IBS knows, this is a major issue and causes a lot of discomfort.  The diet seems a bit daunting to tell the truth, as I will be greatly limiting if not completely avoiding many foods I normally enjoy and some I never thought I could live without such as garlic, onions, and various other things.  Anyway, you may see me mentioning the diet from time to time in my posts, and this is why.   Another change I made was to use not only red sweet peppers, but also yellow and orange for color.  The recipe said to use 3 sweet red peppers, and I figured they meant the mini ones you can get in a big bag, but I used probably 2-3 reds, and one of each yellow and orange.

The dish isn’t hard to make, but is a bit more time-consuming than other Asian dishes.  I don’t know how long it took me to coat all those pieces of chicken in flour, egg, and panko and then fry them up, but it seemed like forever lol.  So plan accordingly.  Definitely worth the effort though!  Serve with rice.


Sweet Fire Chicken

Serves : 3-4

Ingredients :

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • oil for frying
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T. milk
  • 1 Cup flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 1/2 Cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 Cup lemon juice
  • 6 T. plum sauce
  • 1 tsp. chili paste
  • 1 Cup pineapple, in chunks
  • 1 medium onion, diced (I used probably 4 green onions)
  • 3 sweet peppers, cut into chunks (I used probably 5 mini sweet peppers in varying colors)

Directions :

  1. Heat oil in a deep fryer for 375 degrees. (If you are going to do as I did and use just a little oil in bottom of skillet hold off)  In medium bowl whisk together
    the eggs with the milk. In another bowl or shallow pie dish add the flour, salt, and white pepper. In another bowl or shallow pie dish add the panko bread crumbs.
  2. Roll the chicken pieces first in the flour mixture, then dip in the egg mixture, and then roll in the breadcrumbs. Repeat until all pieces of chicken are covered. (I laid them out on a foil lined baking sheet to keep the breading from falling off)
  3. Place chicken pieces into the deep fryer and deep fry in batches until the chicken pieces are golden brown and fully cooked (the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees). Drain on paper towels. Repeat until all of the chicken is cooked. OR Cover bottom of a large skillet with oil and heat over medium/medium-high heat.  You don’t want it to get TOO hot.  Carefully lay pieces of breaded chicken in once it’s heated and allow to cook without moving the chicken until you can see it starting to brown on the bottom edges.  Flip over and cook the other side to the same golden brown before removing to a paper towel to drain the grease as you cook the rest.  (I did three batches in my skillet)  Just watch that it’s not browning too fast, or you will need to turn the heat down because you need it to cook through and stay golden.
  4. Add about 1 teaspoon of oil to a wok or skillet and heat to medium-high heat. Add sweet pepper and onion and stir fry in about 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice , plum sauce and chili sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 minute. Stir in pineapple chunks. Mix the sauce with the chicken and serve immediately.

Recipe from Blog Chef




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