Sweet and Sour Shrimp is a restaurant-quality Chinese dish that's ready in minutes--literally! The recipe is quick, easy and healthier than some take-out versions, which often include preservatives and MSG. Tasty shrimp, stir-fried with bell peppers and water chestnuts, then tossed in a sweet and tangy sauce, served over a fluffy bed of rice. When you're craving an Asian-inspired dish, Sweet and Sour Shrimp is a go-to meal!
Ordering Chinese take-out is an easy, but often costly option. A restaurant order for two could easily cost $25 or more, but this homemade restaurant-quality version feeds 4 people for much less!
Do I need a wok for Sweet and Sour Shrimp?
A wok is nice, but certainly not required. Woks are generally used for high heat dishes, however, this dish does not require such a high heat, so any non-stick skillet works great.
- Make the cornstarch slurry first and set it aside
- Peel, clean and devein the shrimp
- Chop the vegetables
- Combine sauce ingredients in saucepan on low
- Make the rice
- Cook the vegetables and shrimp
- Pour the sauce into the veggie/shrimp skillet
- Add cornstarch slurry to the skillet and cook until the sweet and sour sauce thickens
- Plate rice, top with shrimp/veggie combination and sauce; garnish with green onions and/or toasted sesame seeds
What size shrimp do I use?
Shrimp size is determined by the number of shrimp per pound. You may see numbers like 16/20 or 20/24 on the package--this means there are about 16-20 shrimp per pound in the package.
Shrimp in the 16/20 category work great in this recipe because the shrimp are large enough (about two bites per shrimp), yet they still cook quickly (in about 3 minutes.) You can use larger shrimp, just keep in mind they will take a bit longer to cook.
Salad, or canned shrimp are not recommended because they cook too fast and have a tendency to be "rubbery" in texture.
What type of rice should I use?
Both Basmati and Jasmine rice taste delicious in the Sweet and Sour Chicken. Basmati rice has a nice nutty flavor where Jasmine has a more floral flavor. It's really a matter of preference. Plain white or brown rice works equally well, too.
If you love shrimp, you might like Harissa Shrimp with Black Rice!
Sweet and Sour Shrimp
Sweet and Sour Sauce
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce use tamari sauce for gluten-free
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ⅔ cup pineapple juice see notes
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ⅓ cup water
Stir Fry Ingredients
- 3 cups prepared rice Basmati, Jasmine, White or Brown
- 1 cup red bell pepper chopped
- 1 cup green bell pepper chopped
- 1 can water chestnuts chopped
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- green onions for garnish
- sesame seeds for garnish
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Make the slurry: in a measuring cup, combine cornstarch and water; set aside
- Peel, rinse and devein shrimp; season with salt and pepper; set aside
- Chop vegetables; set aside
- Prepare rice according to directions
Sweet and Sour Sauce Instructions
- In a medium saucepan, add all sauce ingredients, bring to boil; turn heat to simmer and set aside
Stir Fry Instructions
- Add sesame oil to a large, non-stick skillet on medium high heat
- Add bell peppers and water chestnuts; cook for 3 minutes
- Next, add shrimp to skillet; cook 3 minutes until shrimp begin to turn pink
- Pour sauce into skillet; combine well
- Pour cornstarch slurry into skillet; reduce heat and cook until sauce begins to thicken
- Plate rice, then add shrimp and sauce; garnish with green onions and sesame seeds
- Do NOT use fresh pineapple juice; use canned. Fresh pineapple contains the enzyme Bromelain, which keeps the sauce from thickening after you've added the cornstarch slurry.
- Feel free to add other vegetables to the stir fry:
- bamboo shoots
- bok choy
- bean sprouts