Sweet and sour can be found in diverse forms in China, but the Western version builds upon the simple mixture of sugar, vinegar, and spices with the addition of fruit juice.

Pineapple and ketchup are two common ingredients used in the tangy dish, giving the sauce both its red hue and uniquely moreish flavour.

While it’s readily available to buy in jars, ready meals of fresh from a takeaway, James Martin has an easy recipe to make at home.

Sharing the recipe on his website, the chef said: “Another fakeaway classic… Sweet and Sour Chicken. Once you’ve tried this recipe you’ll always be happy making your own!”

The ingredients list isn’t the most comprehensive but everything is quick to prepare in just a few steps.

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  • 700g chicken breast fillets sliced lengthways
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 150ml cider
  • One tablespoon veg oil
  • One red pepper diced
  • One green pepper diced
  • Half a pineapple, diced
  • One onion peeled and diced

For the sauce:

  • Two tablespoons of soy sauce
  • One tablespoon honey
  • Two tablespoons cornflour mixed with equal parts water
  • 100ml tomato ketchup
  • 100ml chicken stock
  • One tablespoon sherry
  • One red chilli, sliced
  • Two cloves of garlic peeled and grated
  • 3cm ginger peeled and grated

To serve:

  • Four spring onions sliced
  • One small bunch of coriander
  • Boiled rice
  • Vegetable oil for frying

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Prepare all of the vegetables by peeling and dicing them into even chunks, then slice the chicken into lengthway strips.

Combine the flour and cider in a large bowl, then coat the chicken strips in the mixture. Prepare a large, deep non-stick frying pan with plenty of oil ready to deep fry the chicken.

Cook at 170C for two to three minutes then carefully drain the meat using a sieve or similar to lift it out of the hot oil.

Heat a separate, large non-stick pan until hot and gather the sauce ingredients. Add the soy, honey, ketchup, sherry and stock, then bring it all to a boil.

Allow the sauce to simmer for four to five minutes. This is crucial as it is where the liquid turns into a thicker, sticky glaze.

Thicken with the cornflour and mix well to ensure there are no lumps, after which the sauce is ready to be brought back to boiling point.

Mix in the vegetables and chicken to coat all over, then spoon the finished dish onto a platter. Top with spring onions and coriander along with a side of steamed rice.

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