Vegan Sweet & Sour "Chicken"
- Prep time 20 minutes
- Cook time 30 minutes
- serves 3 to 4
One of my favorite go-to sauces for an appetizing meal is definitely sweet and sour. Versatile and tangy, the combination pairs well with almost any protein (plant-based or not), including the Quorn Meatless Pieces (made in Great Britain, they're a great swap for chicken) that I used here. The sauce is a simple mixture of soy sauce, ketchup, and sugar; you can always adjust the amounts according to your taste. Personally, I love adding pineapple or orange for that fruity sweetness along with a tart kick in the sauce. Once it’s thickened to your desired consistency, toss the fried meatless pieces (I coated them in a simple tempura batter first for extra crunch) in the sauce until well coated. Serve with a bowl of warm rice or even stir in some noodles for a satisfying and flavor-packed plant-based meal. —WoonHeng Chia
Test Kitchen Notes
This recipe is shared in partnership with GREAT British Food and was developed using Quorn Meatless Pieces, which are proudly produced in Great Britain. —The Editors
For the batter:
tempura batter mix (like Kikkoman)
freshly ground black pepper
For the “chicken”:
Quorn Meatless Pieces (thawed if frozen)
chopped bell peppers (I used a mix of red and green)
chopped fresh pineapple
small onion, diced (yellow or red works or use both)
Cooking oil, like vegetable or canola
For the sweet and sour sauce:
1 1/4 cups
1 1/2 teaspoons
2 1/2 tablespoons
light soy sauce
- Make the batter: Whisk together tempura mix, ice-cold water, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until well combined. Use ¾ cup water for a thinner batter.
- Next, fill a large skillet with enough oil to rise ½ inch up the sides. Set over medium heat. To test if the oil is ready, you can use a thermometer (aim for 350°F) or drop a small piece of batter into the oil (if it sizzles, then the oil is ready).
- Prepare the "chicken": Dip the Quorn Meatless Pieces in the batter, then shake off excess and carefully drop them into the hot oil in one layer. Cook in batches if needed, 2 to 3 pieces at a time. Shallow fry until golden-brown, about 3 to 5 minutes, turning occasionally so the pieces cook properly. Note: If it's browning too quickly, you can lower the heat a little.
- Remove the fried pieces with a skimmer, shake off excess oil, then transfer them to a baking sheet pan. Skim any tempura bits from the oil before you fry the next batch and save them to use as toppings for other dishes.
- Make the sweet and sour sauce: Whisk together water, cornstarch, ketchup, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar until well combined.
- Set a skillet over medium heat and add a drizzle of cooking oil. Sauté the bell peppers and onion for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sweet and sour sauce, pineapple, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once the sauce starts to thicken to your desired consistency (it should just coat the back of a spoon), add the fried meatless pieces.
- Quickly toss the fried meatless pieces until well coated in the sauce, then taste and season with more soy sauce, if needed. Serve warm with a bowl of rice.
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