Sweet and Sour Rice Bowl

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Better than Takeout: Sweet and Sour Rice Bowl @ AVirtuousWoman.org ----------- this is my husband's new favorite meal!!

On our recent trip to Florida, at about 8:30 pm as we were driving through the Chattanooga, TN area, and I had this craving for the Sweet and Sour Vegetarian “Chicken” at the Imperial Garden restaurant in Collegedale, TN. I hadn’t had it in years.

We are probably the only people ever to stop at a rest area at 9:30 at night to eat Chinese takeout.

Better than Takeout: Sweet and Sour Rice Bowl @ AVirtuousWoman.org

So, when we got home, with the memory of that amazing sweet and sour still fresh in my mind, I knew I had to try and replicate it. And this is what I came up with. It’s not exact, but it’s close enough and my kids and husband actually said it tasted even better than take out!

And, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy this Sweet and Sour Rice Bowl as much as we do!

This recipe is adapted from the Sweet and Sour Sauce recipe here.

Don’t be put off by the steps needed to create this recipe. It comes together easily and it’s now one of our regular good eats!

Sweet and Sour Rice Bowl

Vegetable Mixture

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper chopped
  • 1- 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 small can mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 1 small can pineapple tidbits, juice reserved
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 2 tbsp oil {I like sesame}

In a wok or large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onions and bell peppers and cook until tender but not browned. Add remaining ingredients and cook until broccoli is tender, but still bright green. Keep warm until ready to serve.


  • 2 cans vegetarian Fri Chik {You could use chunks of real chicken if you prefer}
  • 1 cup corn starch or tapioca starch
  • 2 – 3 eggs, beaten
  • oil for frying

Heat oil in frying pan until hot over medium heat. Open the can of Fri Chick, discard broth {or save for another recipe}, and cut each piece into fourths. {About 1 inch chunks}.

Coat each chunk, one at a time, in corn or tapioca starch and then dip in egg. Add coated chunks to hot oil and fry on each side until golden brown.

Drain onto paper towels and keep warm until ready to serve.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 1/3 cup white vinegar {I used rice vinegar}
  • 1 cup reserved pineapple juice plus water {to make 1 cup of liquid}
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • dash of Salt
  • dash of Tabasco
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/8 tsp. red food coloring {optional}
  • 1 -2  tablespoons Cornstarch combined with 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vegetarian Worcestershire sauce

In a medium size sauce pot, add first five ingredients and whisk together over medium heat. Stir in cornstarch mixture and whisk together. You will want to watch this closely. Bring it up to a simmer and whisk frequently, making sure it does not boil over. {Ask me how I know}.

Cook until thickened.

Toasted Cashews

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • dash of salt

In a small skillet, add oil and cashews and sprinkle with salt. Heat over medium heat, stirring to coat with oil. Watch carefully so the cashews don’t burn, but you want to lightly brown them.

For Serving

  • Cooked rice {I like Jasmine rice}
  • Maraschino cherries without stems

To serve, add warm cooked rice to bowl and top with a heaping spoonful of the vegetable/ pineapple mixture. Add a few crispy nuggets and top with toasted cashews and a generous spoonful {or two} of sweet and sour sauce. Top with a cherry or two if desired.


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  1. This sounds wonderful,will be making this soon.I have been trying to cut meat out of my diet and been having problems finding non meat meals I would eat so this nice.