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

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Sweet and Sour Chicken

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 15 min

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.

Tips:

• 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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17 Responses to “Chocolate- Mint Bars”

  1. 1

    Tracey — March 10, 2011 @ 7:58 pm

    I love the chocolate/mint combo so these look fantastic to me! Even better that it’s a CL recipe :)

  2. 2

    Cookin' Canuck — March 11, 2011 @ 9:09 am

    These sounds like a wonderful, lightened-up treat to indulge in. Perfect for St. Paddy’s Day.

  3. 3

    A Bowl Of Mush — March 11, 2011 @ 9:32 am

    Ooh I want one now! Yum!!

  4. 4

    Jenny Flake — March 11, 2011 @ 9:35 am

    That last photo is so gorgeous! making me want a mint bar asap!!

  5. 5

    Sandra Simmons — March 11, 2011 @ 9:48 am

    THANK YOU for posting the WW points! I would love to make this but 7 is steep and would just multiply since I would probably eat the whole pan!

  6. 6

    Tracy — March 11, 2011 @ 9:53 am

    Perfect for St. Patty’s Day! Yum!

  7. 7

    Laurel — March 11, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

    These look so delicious, and pretty! We’re featuring all things GREEN this week on the M&T Spotlight and I’d love for you to submit this. http://www.makeandtakes.com/spotlight

  8. 8

    Evan Thomas — March 12, 2011 @ 5:12 pm

    Yum! I would hope for a fudgier brownie but even so these sound terrific. I made a recipe similar to this back in January. Dare I say they were my favorite brownies ever?

  9. 9

    Brian @ A Thought For Food — March 12, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

    One of my favorite things that my mom makes is a chocolate mint bar… that’s exactly like this.

    I just read your note that said that they’re good cold… YES! We always kept them in the freezer. It’s so much better that way.

  10. 10

    bridget {bake at 350} — March 12, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

    Oh, I’m so craving chocolate and mint right now. Have something planned for next week, but it’s not light….and it SHOULD be; I’m *trying* to be good! ;) Darn those WW points!

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Lori!

  11. 11

    Barbara | VinoLuciStyle — March 12, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

    I’ve been making a non light version of these for holiday gift baskets for yeasr. I’m anxious to try these and see the difference.

    One thing; that top layer used to be a problem until I started using a warm knife. Dip your knife into very hot water before slicing the squares, it should help to keep it from cracking without having to let the dessert warm up.

  12. 12

    grace — March 13, 2011 @ 12:09 am

    bliss. yes, these are perfect for good ol’ st patty’s day, but they’re more than welcome in my belly any day. :)

  13. 13

    anjali — March 14, 2011 @ 12:02 am

    These look so delicious! I have a feeling I’ll be making these someday soon.

  14. 14

    Jeannie — March 17, 2011 @ 10:29 am

    looks so good! I am so drooling !

  15. 15

    Heather — April 17, 2011 @ 10:29 am

    Made this yesterday and I must say it’s delish!!!!!! Cannot stop eating this and I still need to bring it to my moms for Sunday dinner!!

  16. 16

    WEndy Moor — December 17, 2011 @ 10:19 pm

    THESE ARE SO GOOD. My sister made them last year. Couldn’t believe they were “light.” So glad I found this recipe :)

  17. 17

    Pat Kachold — December 20, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

    I call them Frango Mint Bars. They are one of my must bake Christmas bars.
    I’ve been making these for at least 20 years. Don’t remember where the recipe came from but they are a seasonal favorite of mine. I do make them on special occasions When asked. Everyone should have this recipe in their recipe box.
    Yummy

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