I have a few food vices, greasy (American) Chinese food definitely being one of them. So when I can make something at home limiting the recipe to recognizable ingredients, I'll consider it a small victory. This recipe is tremendously close to the original Panda Express Sweet Fire Chicken, but in my humble opinion it's actually a little better. The bell peppers have a delicious crispy snap, and the fresh pineapple easily trumps the original canned stuff.
You can also bypass the chicken breading and frying to spare a few calories and some time, and it's just as delicious. I make it this way about half the time out of laziness. Serve over steamed white or brown rice, and it's a complete dinner.
It also makes spectacular left overs- I make a huge batch and send it with E to lunch and it heats up great. Sometimes I also make a jumbo batch of the breaded chicken and use it in a few different stir fries.
Copycat Panda Express Sweet Fire Chicken Breast
- 2lb chicken breast, cubed
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1 tsp salt
- Vegetable or coconut oil for frying (I use half coconut, half vegetable)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tsp fresh ginger root, grated or minced
- 1 small-medium clove garlic, minced
- 1-2 thai chilis, minced
- 1 tsp ketchup
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cups pineapple, cubed
- 1 small yellow onion, cut in wedges
- In a gallon ziplock bag, combine flour, cornstarch, and salt. Mix well. Add chicken and shake until coated, and set aside.
- In a small saucepan or a microwaveable bowl, combine all sauce ingredients. If using the stove, heat over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce begins to bubble and thickens. If using the microwave, heat for 1 minute intervals, stirring between, until the sauce begins to bubble and thicken.
- Meanwhile, heat at least 2 inches oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or wok, until it begins to glimmer, or if using a thermometer it reaches about 365°. Add the chicken to hot oil in batches, frying about 3-5 minutes each side, or until golden brown. Remove from the oil to a paper towel lined cookie sheet. Continue in batches until the chicken is complete.
- Remove from heat, and wipe out your wok. Add the onion and cook over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes. Add the pineapple and bell pepper, cooking an additional 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken and sauce, stirring vigorously until heated through.
- Serve over steamed rice.