Sweet and Sour Chicken Sticks


I love sweet and sour chicken but it is always done as a stir fry. So, challenging the norm, I decided to make sweet and sour chicken skewers. Here, slices of chicken are marinated with spices then skewered with alternating chunks of pineapple, peppers and onions. Whether the chicken is then baked, grilled or barbecued on a summer’s day, you must dip it into this delicious homemade sweet and sour sauce. The recipe may look lengthy, but it’s not difficult, and you can always compromise and go for ready-made sweet and sour dipping sauce if you don’t have time to make your own.

Preparation time: 15 minutes plus marinating
Cooking time: 30 minutes


  • 14 oz skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 14 oz canned pineapple chunks, drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges

For the Marinade

  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • cup olive oil
  • cup light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

For the Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 4 teaspoons pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch blended with 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce (optional)
  • pinch of sea salt and ground white pepper
  • 8–10 bamboo skewers, soaked in water to prevent them burning


  1. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and add the chicken. Leave to marinate for as long as possible, overnight is best.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 or preheat the grill to medium-high.
  3. Thread the skewers with chicken slices and chunks of pineapple, peppers and onions.

    Place on a baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes. If grilling, allow about 10 minutes, turning frequently.

  4. Meanwhile, make the sweet and sour sauce. Heat a wok over high heat and add the sesame oil. Stir fry the garlic and ginger for less than 1 minute and then add in the rest of the ingredients down to the honey. Once the sauce starts to boil, add the blended cornstarch and bring back to the boil, stirring well, until it thickens. Add a splash of chili sauce if you wish and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place in a heatproof bowl, cover and keep warm in the oven.
  5. When the chicken is cooked, serve immediately with the sweet and sour sauce for dipping.