Throw out that old menu from Panda Express: Paleo is here to reclaim the sweet’n’sour chicken throne. Crispy chunks of pan-fried chicken and juicy bites of pineapple are all coated in a tangy-sweet sauce – and all without a trace of flour or vegetable oil. It’s delicious on its own merits, but if daydreams of takeout keep butting into your well-intentioned meal plans, this is definitely a Paleo alternative to try.
To get that perfect crackle on the chicken, it’s coated in a blend of almond flour and tapioca starch before frying. Both are Paleo-friendly flour replacements: almond flour is very familiar, and tapioca starch is just a ground-up and dehydrated form of the cassava root. But if you don’t like using flour substitutes (and you don’t mind sacrificing a little texture), you can just pan-fry the chicken without any coating.
If the sauce isn’t quite thickening up the way you like it, you can also add a little tapioca starch to it as well. Serve your masterpiece over riced cauliflower, steamed vegetables, or a big pile of Brussels sprouts: it beats the food court hands down for nutrition, and it even tastes better, to boot!
Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe
- 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes;
- 1 cup tapioca starch;
- ½ cup almond flour;
- 3 eggs, beaten;
- 1 cup pineapple, cut into chunks;
- ½ cup fresh pineapple juice;
- 1 cup bell pepper, chopped;
- 1 cup onion, chopped;
- 3 tbsp. honey; (optional)
- 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar;
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced;
- ¼ cup chicken stock;
- ½ cup coconut oil;
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper;
- In a bowl, combine the almond flour, the tapioca starch, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Dip each chicken cube in the beaten eggs; then coat with the tapioca mixture.
- Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet placed over a medium-high heat.
- Cook the chicken until browned on all sides (you might want to work in batches).
- Set the chicken aside and clean the skillet.
- Heat some coconut oil again over a medium heat, add the bell pepper and onion, and cook for 2 minutes.
- Stir in the pineapple chunks, pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar, chicken stock, honey (if using), and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens.
- Return the chicken to the skillet. Mix everything well and let it all heat up for about 5 minutes.
- Serve warm with green onions sprinkled on top.