Chinese Sweet And Sour Chicken

With fermented black beans for an umami laden twist.

I think the Chinese sweet and sour chicken we know is as Chinese as chicken tikka masala is Indian: not at all! Despite its lack of authenticity, it’s still a delicious dish. I added a special ingredient to make things more interesting and nudge it a little more back to China.

This recipe originated from my latest cut early in 2019, when I was deep into a calorie deficit at only 1400kcal, training five times a week and walking 15000 steps daily. Therefore this recipe is very low in calories and easy to prepare (a.k.a. zombie-mode-proof).

Somehow it doesn’t bother me watching cooking television even while deep in a cut, sometimes driving Chantal nuts when she is also dieting, because for some reason, she is more susceptible to the visiual cues of cooking TV. Therefore she detracts herself with knitting.

Anyways, I was watching Jamie Oliver’s “Clever Cooking” show and he recreated the typical sweet and sour chicken we all know from our local chinese take away. I was immediately hooked and thought: “hey, I can make this cut-friendly!” So, here we are.

The humble chicken together with low calorie veggies makes a super cut-friendly base but we have to work a lot on the flavours to also make it delicious. That’s why I added the fermented black beans. You can get them from your friendly Chinese supermarket and trust me, they are awesome! A distinct flavour most of us know from “mapo tofu” and a huge load of umami take this dish to the next level. If you look at a package of fermented black beans, it tells you to wash them before use because they are quite salty. I usually skip this step (remember: zombie-mode is on) and just add less, if any salt to season later.


  • 2,3kg Chicken breast
  • 1,2kg Chinese cabbage
  • 210g Celery stalks
  • 500g Spring onions
  • 70g Fresh ginger
  • 510g Carrots
  • 35g Garlic
  • 175g Fresh coriander
  • 250g Fermented black beans
  • 30g Flour or corn/potato starch
  • 40g Olive oil
  • 2 Lemons
  • Lots of chinese five spices, salt (if even necessary) and a little fish sauce (optional, but recommended)


  1. Cut the chicken breasts into medium sized chunks. Meanwhile heat a large roasting pan over high heat, then add the oil and sear the chicken until golden at one side. Resist the urge to hurry this step, you want a golden crust!
  2. While the chicken ist frying, chop the vegetables into fine slices. Start with the garlic and immediately add it to the chicken. Carrots are next, as they need a little longer then the rest. Add celery stalks, ginger and the chinese cabbage last, season with chinese five spices, fish sauce, sweetener of your choice and stir well.
  3. Add the fermented black beans and juice and zest of two lemons. Thicken with flour if needed. Let cook until all the vegetables are tender.
  4. Meanwhile cut the spring onions into small bits, add to the roasting pan, finely chop the coriander and add it at the very last as you turn off the heat. Stir well, taste and season again.


100g of the sweet and sour chicken have the following macros:

  • 72kcal
  • 10,5g Protein
  • 2,7g Carbs
  • 1,5g Fat

Quite an easy recipe: just fry some chicken and add tons of delicious veggies! Feel free to customize to your taste and needs, but make sure to give me an update how it went down in the comment section.

3 thoughts on “Chinese Sweet And Sour Chicken”

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