Sweet and Sour Chicken
A reduced salt version of the classic dish, by Luke Daley RNutr, MSc from Daley Nutrition
Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe (cooking time 20mins)
Sweet and Sour Chicken is actually native to the USA, it was created in the China towns of the US. Originally the sweet and sour dish was more sour than sweet thanks to vinegar as a key ingredient. However over time the dish has become a lot sweeter. This recipe is now seen across the world, especially in the UK and Australia, you don’t have to travel far to find a pub or restaurant that doesn’t include it in their menu. However the recipe does have some draw backs, as it is usually high in sugar and salt, plus it is served with a large amount of white carbs such as noodles or rice so it can be quite calorific. We have created a new sweet and sour chicken recipe that is a lot healthier than your average takeaway version. Below are answers to the questions we have been asked in our cooking demonstrations about some of the key ingredients in this dish:
Is soy sauce good for you?
Soy is very good for you, the closer to the plant based source you can get the healthier it is. However with soy sauce the soy content is rather low and the majority of the sauce is water and sodium (salt). On average, per tablespoon you are looking at 900mg of sodium, which is nearly 33% of your maximum daily intake. However there are some reduced sodium versions available in most supermarkets nowadays which we strongly advise and is what we use in this Sweet and Sour Chicken dish.
Is brown rice better for you than white rice?
Absolutely! This is a no brainer. Brown rice contains more of the whole grain, which means it has a higher protein, fibre and B-Vitamin content. Protein and fibre help us to feel fuller for long and b-vitamins help with energy metabolism in our cells, enabling us to have more energy throughout the day. In white rice a lot of the b-vitamins are lost due to the milling process and high temperatures used to process, add this to the low fibre content and you have a high glycemic index food item that can spike insulin levels and encourage weight gain. If you are looking for the king of rice then go for wild rice, it contains an even greater source of protein, fibre and b-vitamins. In our sweet and sour chicken recipe we have used brown rice.
Top Tip for cooking rice:
- Use a rice cooker for the best and easiest results
- Wash the rice in hot water before cooking or immediately after to reduce an excess starch.
Ingredients (serves 4 people)
- 400g chicken breast, cut into 5cm strips
- 1 red onion, cut into strips
- 1 red and 1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
- 200g pineapple chunks in juice (remember to save the juice)
- 2 handfuls of green beans
- 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tsps of grated fresh ginger
- 2 tbsp reduce salt soy sauce
- 3 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tsps of sesame seeds
- 1.5 cups of brown rice
- Cornflour (for thickening) if required
- Pop the rice cooker on, or starting cooking the rice in a saucepan.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok and stir fry the garlic, sesame seeds and chicken until chicken is lightly browned.
- Add the green beans, onion, peppers and pineapple pieces to the chicken and stir fry for another 2-3 minutes.
- Then add the pineapple juice, tomato puree, ginger and soy sauce to the stir fry, and cook for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. You can use cornflour to help thicken the sauce.
- When the rice is cooked, serve with 1/2 cup of brown rice per person (this isn’t a heavy carb meal).
Sweet and Sour Chicken Nutrition (per person)
- 11.5g of fat
- 25 of protein
- 17g of sugar (mainly from pineapple)
- 312mg of sodium
- 444 kcal
Sweet and Sour Chicken
Posted by Luke Daley, Registered Nutritionist, Msc, BSc (Hons)
Director and Founder of Daley Nutrition
A little about us….Daley Nutrition is a community nutrition team based in Melbourne Victoria, we run a range of nutrition based programs such as corporate wellness programs and cooking demonstrations in Australia to raise people’s awareness of what they are eating and empower them to change certain eating habits. We work with not for profit organisations such as local councils, Diabetes Australia & Nutrition Australia to create a healthy eating environment for children and adults.
To find out more about our Nutrition Services below images