Panda Express Sweet Fire Chicken Copycat

Panda Express Sweet Fire Chicken Copycat is a delicious medley of sweet, tangy. and spicy that tastes just like the original, if not better. It’s so easy to make and cheaper than eating out!

One of the things I find so much fun about food blogging as a living is the challenge of recreating restaurant favorites at home. Although often involving a series of trial and error, it’s very rewarding to come up with a homemade version that’s pretty close to, if not better, than the original.

If I may, ahem, say so myself, I’ve had a number of successes with copycatting recipes. Below are a few of my favorites if you’d like to check them out.

  • Salt and Pepper Pork Chops-tender meat, crisp coating, full flavor, these fried pork chops are just like what you’d get from a Chinese restaurant!
  • Baked Cheese Shrimp-these shrimps are what I beeline for every time I go to the all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurant, Hokkaido, in Long Beach and I am glad I no longer have to make the trip to enjoy their cheesy, gooey awesomeness.
  • Fried Chicken a la Max’s Restaurant-although it takes a bit of work, this delicious-to-the-bone fried chicken gives the iconic Filipino restaurant a run for its money.
  • Ginataang Gulay-the Magic Wok restaurant which inspired this recipe is just a hole-in-a-wall type of place in Cerritos but, in my humble opinion, serves the best Filipino food that side of California so I was pretty stoked that I was able to re-create one of the most popular dishes on their menu at home.
  • Panda Express Firecracker Chicken Copycat-this popular Chinese restaurant chain was one of our favorite take-out places before G and I decided to be more sensible with our cents and refrain from eating out. I am glad I can now enjoy the big, bold flavors of their firecracker chicken for less.
  • Green Bean Chicken and Black Pepper Chicken-ever wonder why the meat in Chinese stir-fries always comes out super moist and tender? The secret is out and it’s velveting!

And now, the latest on the list, Panda Express sweet fire chicken copycat!

How do I even begin to describe this delectable dish?  First, there’s the sauce. It has the delicious flavors of your classic sweet and sour, but with a kick of heat from the addition of sweet chili sauce.  Sweet, tangy,  slightly spicy. and soo good, you can eat it with a spoon!

Sauce ingredients

  • pineapple juice-for fruity and tangy tastes
  • sweet chili sauce-adds sweetness and spice
  • cornstarch-thickens the consistency
  • And then there’s the tender-crisp bell peppers and onions, juicy pineapples, and crunchy chicken morsels.  Smothered in the sweet fire sauce, they’re pure heaven piled high on steamed rice!
  • Battered chicken for stir-fry

  • The cornstarch and egg white batter does two things. It gives the chicken a crispy yet light coating as well as keeps it moist and tender through the velveting process.
  • The recipe calls for chicken breast, but boneless dark Cut the chicken in uniform, bite-size pieces to ensure even and fast cooking.
  • For best results, use enough and the right kind of oil for deep-frying such as safflower, peanut, grapeseed, or canola oil.
  • Maintain the optimal temperature of 350 F to 375 F when deep-frying. Do not overcrowd the pan and cook in batches as needed to allow enough space to move the chicken freely and to keep the oil temperature from plummeting.
  • How to serve

  • Serve with fried rice and chow mein noodles for a full Chinese takeout experience!
  • To store leftovers, allow to cool completely and transfer to an airtight container. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  • Reheat in the microwave at 2 to 3-min intervals until completely heated through, stirring well between intervals.
  • For make-ahead meals, store the sauce and the meat and veggies in separate containers. When ready to serve, combine everything together in a wide pan and cook to an internal temperature of 165 F.

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