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Sweet Fire Chicken
Sweet Fire Chicken (Panda Express copycat) smothered in an irresistible sweet and spicy zingy sauce that is better (and healthier!) than your favorite Chinese takeout! 
    Servings Prep Time
    6servings 20minutes
    Cook Time
    15minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    6servings 20minutes
    Cook Time
    15minutes
    Sweet Fire Chicken (Baked OR Pan Fried!)
    Ingredients
    Chicken
    • 1pound chicken breastspounded thin, cut into 1” pieces
    • Vegetable oil
    • 3/4cup flour
    • 1/4cup cornstarch
    • 1/4tsp EACH ground ginger, garlic powder
    • 2 eggs
    Sweet Fire Sauce
    • 1/2cup Asian sweet chili saucelike Mae Ploy
    • 2tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
    • 1tablespoon red wine vinegar
    • 1tablespoon sugar
    • 1-3teaspoons Asian chili saucelike Sambal Oelek
    Stir Fry
    • 1tablespoon vegetable/olive oil
    • 1 red bell pepperchopped into 1” pieces
    • 1/2 small white onionchopped into 1” pieces
    • 1 1 /2teaspoon freshly grated ginger
    • 2 garlic clovesminced
    • 1 1/2cups pineapplecut into 1” cubes (may sub canned)
    • 4oz. Snow peasends trimmed (optional)
    Instructions
    Chicken
    1. Add flour, cornstarch, salt, ginger, garlic powder to a large freezer bag (or large bowl). Add eggs to a separate large freezer bag (or bowl). Add chicken to flour mixture, toss until well coated. Remove chicken, letting excess flour drip off, and add to egg bag and massage until evenly coated. Remove chicken, letting excess egg drip off and return to flour bag. Shake once more until evenly coated.
    2. Add enough vegetable oil to evenly coat the bottom of a large skillet. Heat over medium high heat until very hot. Add half of the chicken in a single layer and cook until golden and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.
    Stir Fry
    1. Whisk together all of the Sweet Fire Sauce ingredients. Set aside.
    2. Wipe out now empty skillet. Heat one tablespoon oil over medium high heat. Add onions and red bell peppers and stir fry 2 minutes or until onions begin to soften.
    3. Add garlic and ginger and cook 30 seconds. Stir in pineapple, snow peas and Sweet Fire Sauce and cook 1 minute. Stir in chicken until evenly coated and heated through. Taste and add Chili Sauce for spicier or sugar for sweeter. Serve immediately with rice or zoodles.
    Recipe Notes

    TO BAKE CHICKEN INSTEAD OF PAN FRY:

    1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray. Place baking sheet in oven.
    2. Add 1 cup flour, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder and ¼ teaspoon ground ginger to a freezer size bag.  Add 2 eggs to a separate freezer bag and whisk.  Add chicken to flour, toss to coat, then add chicken to eggs and massage until evenly coated. Remove coated chicken from bag, dabbing off excess egg wash then add chicken again to flour bag. Seal bag and toss until chicken is evenly coated.
    3. Carefully place chicken on the hot baking sheet in an even layer and lightly spray with cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes then move the baking tray to the top middle oven rack and broil until crispy, watching closely so the chicken doesn’t burn (about 2-3 minutes). Flip chicken pieces over and broil another 2-3 minutes, or until golden and crispy.

    TIPS AND TRICKS

    • Pound chicken.  You want to pound your chicken thin so it becomes more tender and cooks evenly.
    • Cube chicken.  Because you’ve pounded your chicken thin, when you cut it into 1” pieces, they will be more like flat squares verses cubes.
    • Use freezer bags.  I like to use freezer bags to add my flour and eggs to instead of bowls.  This way, all you have to do is shake your chicken instead of dredging your chicken.  Your hands  – and counter – stay much cleaner and it takes much less time.
    • Press Flour Into Chicken.  After the second shake of chicken in flour, you may need to open the bag and toss the chicken a few times with your hands to make sure they are evenly coated.
    • Pineapple.  You can use canned or fresh pineapple for this recipe.  If you use fresh, take care it is ripe and sweet or you may need to add more sugar to the recipe.
    • Veggies.  Panda Express Sweet Fire Chicken uses onions and red bell peppers.  I’ve added the snow peas which are optional.  Feel free to customize the veggies with what you have on hand.
    • Serve immediately.  The chicken will lose its crispiness the longer it sits in the sauce.  It will be still be delicious and I love leftovers.
    • Customize.  Depending on your preference and the sweetness of your pineapple, you may want to adjust the Sweet Fire Chicken.  You can do this even after the chicken is all combined in the sauce. Add additional chili sauce for spicier, sugar for sweeter or red wine vinegar for tangier.

     

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