30-Minute Sweet & Sour Chick’n (Vegan, Plant Paradox-friendly, Sugar-Free & Grain-Free)

Hello friends!

What was your favorite thing to scoop up onto a plate at a Chinese buffet as a kid?

Sesame Chicken? Egg Rolls? Crab Ragoons?



Oh, woah, sorry. I don’t know what came over me. But he’s right after all, sweet & sour chicken is the bee’s knees of the Chinese buffet. No interjections allowed.

Light & crispy batter caresses juicy, white chicken meat and then it’s doused in a sauce whose base ingredients are pineapple and ketchup, yet it’s as addicting as candy. Younger me would literally only order Sweet & Sour Chicken – extra extra sauce – and pork fried rice as a kid.

I know – how cultured.


To my elation, the quality of Sweet & Sour dishes has remained the same since going vegan. In fact, I live in San Gabriel, CA – LA’s true Chinatown – so you can imagine it’s full of some of the country’s best Chinese eats. Kim & I’s favorite is an all vegan, family-style restaurant called Vege Paradise, and while I always order something different nowadays, their Sweet & Sour Chicken, made from white button mushrooms tossed in sticky sweet and sour sauce along with pineapples & bell peppers, is a dish that blasts my heart into the past.

Oh. My bad, this is starting to sound like one savory love story, but when you live within a four mile radius of three all vegetarian Chinese restaurants, the little boy in you turns into a hoot and a holler.


Let’s dive into the recipe, shall we? You can expect crispy, battered tempeh tossed in… ahh, whatever, you know what to expect, you’ve had sweet & sour chicken before. This is like that, except vegan and all those other fancy terms you know our blog for.

Go Forth & Devour,
Kim & Ryan


30-Minute Sweet & Sour Chick'n (Vegan, Plant Paradox-friendly, Sugar-Free & Grain-Free)

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Crispy, tender tempeh meets sticky sweet & sour sauce. Love at first bite.



  • 3 oz (1/4 c + 1 tbsp) water
  • 3 oz (1/4 c + 1 tbsp) rice vinegar
  • 2 oz ketchup (homemade is best)
  • 120 g (1/2 c + 2 tbsp) erythritol
  • 7 g (2 tsp) arrowroot or tapioca starch


  • 8 oz tempeh, cut into thin squares
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp tamari
  • 5 tbsp arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 5 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp flax meal
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper, ground
  • 3/4 c refined coconut oil


  1. Place tempeh in a large (11-12 in) saute pan and add just enough water to barely cover the tempeh pieces. Stir in tamari and vinegar and place over high heat.
  2. Bring to a boil and cook until all the water has evaporated. Kill the heat and transfer tempeh to a plate. Clean out saute pan for use in later steps.
  3. In an airtight container, combine all of the sauce ingredients and shake vigorously to combine.
  4. Transfer into a small pot and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often. Once a boil is achieved, kill the heat and set aside.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together starch, water, flax, baking powder, salt, and white pepper until smooth. Allow to sit for two minutes.
  6. Place coconut oil in cleaned out saute pan and place over medium heat.
  7. While oil heats, toss steamed tempeh pieces in batter until thoroughly coated.
  8. Once oil is hot (after 4-5 minutes), add in half of the tempeh pieces, ensuring that each has its own space. Cook until golden brown, flip, and cook again; about 3 minutes per side.
  9. Transfer tempeh to a cooling rack inverted onto an upside down cookie sheet with a layer of paper towels in between. The paper towels wick away excess grease without holding it against the tempeh.
  10. Repeat steps 8 & 9 for second batch. Reheat sauce over medium-low heat while second batch cooks.
  11. Serve chick’n piping hot with loads of sweet & sour sauce and a side of jasmine rice. Enjoy!