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Chicken and Lychee in Sweet and Sour Sauce
Use a can of lychee to cook this chicken and lychee in sweet & sour sauce. This unique take on a familiar dish will instantly be your family's new favorite dish.
This chicken and lychee in a sweet and sour sauce is one of my Mom’s staple dish to celebrate Chinese New Year.
Since the CNY (Chinese New Year) celebration lasts for 15 long days, and some families will gather for a big feast on the 15th day of CNY, I thought I would squeeze in one more dish appropriate for this occasion :)
This dish is extremely easy to prepare, and super fast too, especially since the chicken is cut into bite-size pieces. I actually like making this dish throughout the year and not just for Chinese New Year, and it is a great way to finish off those cans of lychee if you are lucky enough to be gifted this.
Exchanging gifts is part of the custom during CNY, and sometimes one can end up with many canned fruits or fresh fruits. So, usually during CNY, dishes with fruits will naturally crop up to take advantage of all those fruits. ♥
What's in this chicken and lychee dish
There are several components that make up this lovely dish: marinated chicken thigh, sweet and sour sauce, and the rest of the ingredients.
1. Marinated chicken thigh
We will need chicken thigh meat, cornstarch, salt, and grated ginger.
Cut the chicken thigh meat into bite-size pieces, then mix with cornstarch, salt, and grated ginger. Set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.
2. Sweet and sour sauce with lychee juice
Unlike other typical sweet and sour sauce, this version incorporates lychee syrup from canned lychee. We will need tomato ketchup, lychee syrup, plum sauce, light soy sauce, sugar, ground white pepper, and drinking water.
If you don’t have plum sauce, you can substitute with the same amount of apricot preserves or orange marmalade.
Simply mix everything together. You can even adjust the taste of the sauce at this stage, adding more salt, sugar, or ground pepper as you wish.
3. The rest of the ingredients
For aromatics, we will be using onion, garlic, and red chilies. You can use red bell pepper for a children-friendly dish, though if you use mild chilies like Fresno chilies, the dish shouldn’t be too spicy.
Also, we will be needing lychee fruit drained from the canned lychee.
To thicken the sauce, we will be using a mixture of cornstarch and water.
For garnish, I simply use thinly sliced scallions.
How to cook this chicken and lychee dish
Once all the prep work is done, the cooking portion is actually very quick, so be sure to have everything ready before you start cooking.
First, heat oil in a wok over medium-high and sauté onion, garlic, and red chilies (or bell pepper) until onion is wilted and slightly translucent. About 3-4 minutes.
Next, add marinated chicken thigh and stir until no longer pink. About 1-2 minutes.
Pour in the sweet and sour sauce and bring to a boil. Adjust the amount of salt, sugar, or ground pepper as needed.
Add in lychee fruit and mix, then thicken the sauce with a cornstarch slurry (cornstarch + water).
Turn off the heat, transfer to a serving plate, and garnish with thinly sliced scallions.
Other sweet and sour dishes to try
My family is a big fan of sweet and sour dishes, and over time, I have accumulated quite a bit of sweet and sour recipes. If you are the same, you may want to try my other sweet and sour dishes too.
Here are some of my favorites:
Chicken and Lychee in Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 500 gram skinless boneless chicken thigh, cut into bite-sizes
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 inch ginger, grated
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 red chilies (or 1 red bell pepper), cut into 1 inch squares
- 1 can (565 gram / 20 oz) of lychee in syrup, drained but reserve syrup for making the sauce
- cornstarch slurry (1/2 tablespoon corn starch + 1 tablespoon water)
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced diagonally
- Lychee syrup sweet and sour sauce
- 1/2 cup tomato ketchup
- 1/2 cup syrup from the can of lychee
- 1/2 cup drinking water
- 2 tablespoon plum sauce (or substitute with apricot preserves/orange marmalade)
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Marinate chicken thigh with cornstarch, salt, and grated ginger for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside. You can actually adjust the taste of the sauce at this stage with salt and sugar. :)
- Heat oil over medium-high heat in a wok and sauté onion, garlic, and red chilies until the onion looks wilted and slightly translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add marinated chicken into the pan and stir until no longer pink, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Pour the sweet and sour sauce into the pan and bring to a boil. Mix well and adjust taste as needed.
- Add the lychee and mix well. Thicken the sauce with cornstarch slurry.
- Turn off heat, transfer to a serving plate and garnish the sliced scallions. Serve immediately with steamed white rice.
Yi @ Yi Reservation says:
I have to tell you that I've never cooked lychee with meat before! This is totally new to me but I am so curious now that I have to try it! I am just glad that the recipe is not calling for fresh lychee because that's not something I see everyday here in NYC. Thanks for sharing!
I actually never expected this to be a strange dish since my Mom always make this for every Chinese New Year without fail, but those who love sweet and sour chicken/pork/etc will definitely love this since both dishes pair fruit with meat.♥
Had this dish in 1972 at a take away in Uxbridge your recipe put another element to it.
Salim J Kabir says:
Hello Anita I love Malay and Indonesian and Thai food all time favorite. I love your blog and thanks for all types of food recopies you provide for us. Regards Salim Kabir .
Food to Fitness says:
Chicken and lychee...that's a rare combination. Worth a try. Thanks for the recipe.
Hi Anita, Thanks for this recipe, I made it and it was wonderful! I used fresh lychees and a can of lychee drink for the sauce. So yummy! Link and credit here: http://www.marlyzen.com/2016/02/poulet-aux-litchis-sauce-aigre-douce.html
Wow, fresh lychees! I bet it tastes really wonderful :)
Sara Welch says:
Wow, this is my kind of recipe! Unique, flavorful and easy too! Adding this to my dinner line up for the week!
WOW! what an interesting combination. I am very much interested in making it.
Erica Schwarz says:
My friend here in Florida has a lychee tree! We're going to try this recipe when she has extra lychees.
Krissy Allori says:
This looks like a fabulous dish. I love all the flavors and when I've had this dish in the past, it was always a winner.
Wow! I've never heard of something like this, but it sounds delicious! Thanks for the recipe!
This was an amazing recipe!! Love all the flavors, thank you for sharing :)
Yum! My family loved this recipe! The sweet and sour flavors were undeniable!
I've got plenty of those cans somewhere in the kitchen - I should better go find them and make this delicious meal - it does look incredibly yummy!
We had this for dinner last night and it was incredible. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!
Carrie Robinson says:
This look so good! And that sauce- yum. :)
Nart | Cooking with Nart says:
Wow, this is something totally new for me. We only eat lychee as a fruit, use it in desserts and a few types of salad. Gotta try this.
Sadia Malik says:
I love chinese food, but never had lychee in a savory dish will try it out.
This looks amazing! never tried cooking with lychees but this sauce looks delicious!
Oh this sauce sounds amazing. I will definitely be trying it this week.
Heidy M says:
I have never had Chicken and Lychee in Sweet and Sour Sauce before but It really looks like an awesome dish that I must try ASAP. The presentation looks wonderful.
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