Sweet and Sour Chicken

Cover recipe- Cooking Light, Sweet and Sour Chicken: May 2014

Cover recipe- Cooking Light, Sweet and Sour Chicken: May 2014

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is Chinese take-out. I basically love it all…sesame chicken, beef and broccoli, spring rolls, egg rolls, fried rice, and any kind of noodles. But we all know how much fat, salt, and sugar comes along with most Chinese take-out, not to mention MSG, and my body always confirms this: every time I eat it, I feel like I’m in serious need of a nap afterwards. It’s just not worth it.

But I’m all about making my favorite Chinese take dishes at home. Not only is the end result much healthier because you get to control how much fat, sugar, and salt goes into the dish, but you can customize it to suit your own tastes. For example, if you like things spicy, add more hot sauce; if you eat vegetarian, use tofu or another vegetarian substitute for chicken.

When I saw Sweet and Sour Chicken on the May cover of Cooking Light magazine, I immediately started doing a mental check to see what I’d need to pick up from the grocery store because I couldn’t wait to make it. With the bold flavors of ingredients like mirin (sweet rice wine), powdered peanut butter, Sriracha, plum sauce, and Worcestershire sauce, I knew this dish was going to be flavorful. Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Print Print Recipe

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 15 min


1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice wine) or 1/4 cup dry sherry mixed with 2 teaspoons sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast tenders, cut into (2-inch) pieces
1/4 cup powdered peanut butter
3 tablespoons quick-mixing flour (such as Wondra)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup sliced green onions
1 red bell pepper, chopped
5 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons Sriracha
1 tablespoon plum sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 (8.8-ounce) package precooked white rice
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


1. Combine mirin and egg in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add chicken; toss to coat. Let stand 5 minutes; drain well.

2. Combine powdered peanut butter and next 3 ingredients (through sugar) in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add chicken; toss well to coat. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

3. Heat pan over high heat. Add onions and bell pepper; stir-fry 1 minute. Combine 5 tablespoons water and next 4 ingredients (through Worcestershire) in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add chicken and ketchup mixture to pan; cook 1 minute, tossing to coat.

4. Divide rice among 4 plates; top with chicken mixture. Sprinkle evenly with cilantro leaves and sesame seeds.


• I added a green bell pepper along with the red bell pepper.
• Instead of plum sauce, I used sweet chili sauce.
• I added 1 teaspoon soy sauce along with the Worcestershire sauce.
• I used fresh parsley instead of fresh cilantro.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Calories per serving: 474
Fat per serving: 16.6g
Saturated Fat per serving: 1.8g
Sodium per serving: 523g
Fiber per serving: 3g
Protein per serving: 31g
Cholesterol per serving: 77mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 50g

The results:

This is a delicious, family-friendly meal that everyone enjoyed. (But take note that if you’re making it for young kids, you might want to decrease the amount of Sriracha so it isn’t too spicy hot for the little ones.) The only flavor I thought the dish was lacking was a bit of tartness – because it is Sweet and Sour Chicken! When I make it again I will add a splash of rice wine vinegar along with the ketchup to up the tart factor and balance the flavors.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Definitely! I am always looking for new Chinese dishes to make at home, and the fact that this one comes together so quickly is a total bonus. Instead of reaching for the take-out menu, this dish is perfect for a quick, tasty dinner.

Lori is the founder of RecipeGirl.com. She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at RecipeBoy.com.

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7 Responses to “Banana Bread with Chocolate Glaze”

  1. 1

    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — September 23, 2013 @ 9:22 am

    I was curious about this recipe. I saw on my magazine last week and wanted to try it! I wasn’t sure about the chocolate glaze on it, but it’s chocolate after all. I think I maybe on the fence like you about the chocolate. I figure if people want chocolate on banana bread, just spread some Nutella on it. Thank you for the review!

  2. 2

    Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 23, 2013 @ 11:29 am

    Ive never understood getting 16 slices from a loaf either – 8 to 10 is about max from a 9×5 pan for me. That’s like people who make 30 cookies and I yield 18 from the same recipe.

    Glad to hear though that you think their banana bread recipe itself is one of their all time bests (and that choc glaze is not necessary – agreed – and I love chocolate!)

  3. 3

    Sylvia — September 23, 2013 @ 11:42 am

    I also made this. However, I did not make the glaze. I took the 2 oz of chocolate, added an ounce, chopped it up, and threw it in the batter — it was yummy :-)

  4. 4

    Khadijah — September 24, 2013 @ 9:21 am

    Good review. Thanks!

  5. 5

    Candice — September 24, 2013 @ 1:47 pm

    I immediately bookmarked this recipe when I received your newsletter. However, I planned on omitting the chocolate glaze since I think it’d be too sweet especially if you’re eating this for breakfast in the morning. I’m not sure how this would yield 16 slices from a 9×5 pan…guess they cut it bread super thin.

  6. 6

    Ali | Gimme Some Oven — September 25, 2013 @ 7:57 am

    I saw this mag and was drooling over the cover. I’m not a huge chocolate fan, but with your recommendation, totally want to try the bread recipe now. YUM! :)

  7. 7

    Deborah — September 28, 2013 @ 11:20 pm

    The glaze is beautiful, although I can see how it would be a bit overboard. But I’ll have to try the banana bread recipe – I’ve always got bananas on hand!

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