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Kittencal’s Chinese Chicken Balls With Sweet and Sour Sauce


  • 1⁄2cup ketchup
  • 1teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1⁄3cup white vinegar
  • 1⁄2cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1cup white sugar (can reduce a 2-3 tablespoons for a less sweeter taste)
  • 3⁄4cup cold water (or can use unsweetened pineapple juice or half each, I prefer the pineapple juice)
  • 3tablespoons cornstarch (for a thinner sauce reduce to 2 tablespoons, if you want an very thick sauce use 4 tablespoons)
  • 1cup all-purpose flour
  • 1cup cornstarch
  • 2teaspoons baking powder
  • 2teaspoons baking soda
  • 1⁄2teaspoon garlic powder (garlic lovers add 1 teaspoon)
  • 2teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1⁄3cups cold water (if you are reducing to half a recipe use 1/2 cup plus 2-1/2 tablespoons water)
  • 1 -2teaspoon sesame oil (optional but good to add)
  • oil (for frying)
  • 8chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • seasoning salt (optional)


  • To make the sweet and sour sauce sauce; in a saucepan combine the first 5 ingredients until combined.
  • In a cup or bowl whisk the cold water or pineapple juice with cornstarch until smooth and well blended, then whisk vigorously into the ketchup mixture; bring to a boil stirring or whisking constantly over medium-high heat until bubbly.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue simmering and mixing until thickened (be patient the sauce takes a few minutes to thicken up) remove from heat and allow to sit at room temperature while making the chicken balls or you may cool to room temperature then refrigerate until ready to use (I prefer the sauce at room temperature).
  • To make the chicken balls: in a large bowl combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, garlic powder; add in water and sesame oil; whisk vigorously until smooth.
  • Add in chicken pieces; using clean handsand mix until well coated.
  • Heat oil in a deep-fryer or Dutch oven to 375 degrees.
  • Carefully dip the battered chicken pieces in hot oil and fry until golden brown (about 3-4 minutes).
  • Remove to a paper towel.
  • Sprinkle with seasoning salt immediately after frying if desired.
  • Serve immediately with sweet and sour sauce.
  • Delicious!


  • Circuit7 Z

    I had to add more water than the recipe called for to make the batter manageable, and it took almost twice as long to make as the recipe says, but that could be because it was my first time. This was absolutely delicious and worth the extra work.

    I Cooked three pounds of chicken breasts and there was still batter left, so I mused aloud that I should have halved it. “NOOOO!” yell the kids, as I chase them out of the kitchen with my chopsticks…

    P.S., A can of pineapple had just about the right amount of juice for the sauce; the pineapple went into the sauce with a sliced green pepper.

  • dmac085

    This is a great recipe–well, great two recipes! I’ve used the batter for onion rings and shrimp and the sauce is amazing (used pineapple juice). I made the full recipe and cut the white sugar to 1/2 c and it was perfect to my tastes–if the amount of sugar is an issue start with less and keep track of your own preference as you adjust/add more to suit your tastes.

    I know the takeout sauce is clearer but the flavor is right so I usually double it up and freeze some for when I make egg rolls and fried rice. Going to use the batter for Sweet and Sour Pork also. My friends mom used to make it and with her dish in mind I will add sliced blanched carrots, chopped green bell pepper, chopped sweet onion and pineapple tidbits to the sauce and it will be like her dish:)

    I season the chicken before battering it w/ Paula Deen’s House Seasoning (salt, pepper and garlic powder).

  • BlueGrapes

    The 4 stars is for the sauce since I didn’t have time to make the chicken balls. I felt that the sauce was going to be too sweet so I cut the white sugar down to 1/2 cup. Even then it was too sweet. Also, I used pineapple juice so that may have added to the sweetness. I will probably just use only brown sugar next time. Thanks for the recipe!

  • PardenMe247

    Amazing! I had to alter the recipe to make it grain-free, but I don’t think anyone would really be able to tell the difference.

    In the sauce I used Ketchup w/out corn syrup, cider vinegar, and orange juice because I too like juice but can’t have pineapple. Also used knox gelatin to thicken. YUM!

    For the chicken dough, I used almond flour in place of the wheat flour, coconut flour in place of the starch, and added a tablespoon of ground flax meal to make it a tad bit healthier. Also used gluten-free baking powder.

    Fried in vegetable oil (soybean) using an asparagus steamer that we got for our wedding. Worked amazingly!!

    After going about 4 years without tasting the deliciousness that is American Chinese food, I can now say that I was almost in tears from this wonderful recipe. Thank you so much KittenCal!

  • alicia.cooksey

    This was wonderful! My husband is obsessed with eating from a local chinese restaurant and even liked this better than getting takeout and that is high praise from him! The chicken stuck to the basket while I was deep frying it so I followed another reviewers suggestion and dipped it in flour before putting it in the deep fryer and that worked pretty well!

  • Crock87

    Kittencal, Another winner! I can only speak for the sauce, but this was delicious thanks! After grilling some chicken breasts cut into 1″ cubes, I added half a yellow onion, a couple green onions, half a red bell pepper (just using up some veggies I had), a dash of ginger, and a few shakes of garlic mix. After letting cook a bit, I poured the sauce over, brought to a boil, and simmered, stirring constantly. Served over rice, the end result was a sweet and sour chicken dish comparable to any American-Chinese restaurant! Delicious! Thanks!

  • Chef Lil’ Momma Jenn

    I have made this twice & loved it but I do like it better without the Sesame oil. I halved it the second time I made it because it is a huge batch.

  • sugarlovinmom

    Love it! Makes a ton, though, so I only do 1/2 batches. Also makes good onion rings and english chips!

  • Almond

    This was just as good as an Asian restaurant–a big hit with the family! It is a tad time-consuming but the process was fun & the end result was quite satisfying. To decrease prep time, I mixed up the dry batter ingredients in a bag, chopped up the chicken, and made (& refrigerated) the sauce the night before. This does make a lot! I used 4 whole chicken breasts cut in bite-sized pieces, about 20 large (precooked/thawed, frozen) shrimp, & about 10 lg onion rings. I bet the batter would be good for fish fillets & hush puppies too! Served it with white rice & “Kellys creamy cheddar pea salad” #125195. Since there are only 3 of us here, I froze portion-sizes in ziplock bags. They re-crisped up very well in a 360F oven after about 15 mins. Thanks for another fab recipe Kittencal!

  • Can_D_Cane

    Kittencal, you nailed this dish and the sweet and sour sauce is absolutely the best ever, blush, I wanted to eat the sauce solo, LOL. I only changed one tiny thing in the method. Mixing the batter in a plastic bag really helped out. I tossed the bite-sized chicken in the batter, zipped it up and put it in the refrigerator. When I was ready to fry them I poured the lot out onto a cooling rack with something underneath to catch the batter. This made preparation and clean up a breeze. I did add the garlic and onion powder you suggested to the batter to pump up the flavor. What a great recipe! Our company raved. Thank you!