Sweet and Sour Chicken

1 hour

Serves 5-6

Sweet and Sour Chicken

photo by Itamar Ginsburg

“At our home, we used to eat a lot of Chinese food,” explain father and daughter duo Israel and Tamara Aharoni. The food often came from Israel’s Yin Yang, his iconic Chinese restaurant in Tel Aviv. When the family couldn’t dine in, they would order delivery. One of the family favorites — across both generations — was sweet and sour chicken. The restaurant closed in 2008, but they still make the dish at home.

“For the best results, we suggest preparing the cut vegetables and sauce ahead of time to make things quicker and easier,” they explain. “And, for juicy fried chicken nuggets, it is best to fry the chicken in two rounds to avoid overloading the pan.”

This recipe is part of our Dorotaim project, which highlights recipes shared across two generations of one family.

If you have a great recipe that you would like to be considered for the project, please email [email protected].


500 grams (1.1lb) chicken breast, cut into cubes

2 tablespoons dark soy

4 tablespoons cornstarch

Neutral vegetable oil, for frying


For the sauce:

3 tablespoons light soy

2 tablespoons dark soy

2 tablespoons maple syrup or sugar

2 tablespoons vinegar, rice or apple cider 

¼ cup (60 ml) water


For the stir fry:

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

4cm (1½-in) fresh ginger, julienned 

1 fresh red chili, sliced (optional)

1 red bell pepper, cut into large cubes

1 red onion, cut into large cubes

2 green onion stems, cut into 2cm (0.8-in) pieces


To thicken the sauce:

1 teaspoon cornstarch diluted in a little cold water


To serve:

2 cups steamed white rice

  1. Marinate the chicken: Place the diced chicken breast in a bowl, add dark soy, mix well and set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare the sauce: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, taste, and adjust the seasoning to your taste.
  3. Add 4 tablespoons of cornstarch to the bowl with the chicken and mix well until evenly coated.
  4. Add frying oil to a wok or a deep skillet, about 5mm/0.2-in deep, and heat over medium-high heat.
  5. When the oil is hot, add the chicken cubes and fry 1-2 minutes on each side, until golden and crispy. You may need to do this in two rounds. Transfer to a clean plate.
  6. Prepare the stir fry: Remove the used oil from the wok and add 3 tablespoons of clean oil and heat over very high heat. When the oil is sizzling, add garlic and ginger and fry for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Add the sliced chili (if using), bell pepper, and red onion and fry 2-3 minutes, until the onion begins to soften. Add the fried chicken and the green onion and mix well. Stir in the sauce. Add the diluted cornstarch, mix well, and bring to a boil. Fry while continuously stirring for 1-2 minutes.
  8. Serve immediately with steamed white rice.