Charred pineapple chicken in sweetened black rice vinegar

Charred pineapple chicken in sweetened black rice vinegar

Chinese Unchopped
60 mins
Cooking time
15 mins
Martin Poole

This alternative sweet-and-sour dish always brings back happy memories, as the first time I cooked it was for my very own wedding. Believe it or not, the School of Wok staff, my sisters and I prepped up enough food for 200 guests the day before the big event. If my wife wasn’t tipped off beforehand that she was marrying a slightly crazy man, this certainly did the trick! The first thing we had to do to prepare this dish was dry-roast the pineapple – a process that gives the dish its unique flavour.


Quantity Ingredient
200g fresh pineapple or drained canned pineapple
300g boned, skinless chicken thighs
200g cornflour, seasoned with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 onion
1 green pepper
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
vegetable oil, for frying

The marinade

Quantity Ingredient
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon chinese five-spice
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 egg

The sauce

Quantity Ingredient
4 tablespoons chinkiang black rice vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
200ml chicken stock


  1. Preheat the oven to 230°C.
  2. Cut the pineapple into large chunks, peeling it and reserving the peelings if using fresh pineapple as you go. Put the pineapple chunks on a roasting tray and cook in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until charred around the edges. Set aside.
  3. Lay your chicken thighs flat and slice them at an angle into thin pieces roughly 5cm wide. Put the meat in a mixing bowl, add the marinade ingredients and mix together well, then add the seasoned cornflour and, using your hands, massage it into the meat until each piece of meat separates.
  4. Put all the sauce ingredients in a saucepan, adding your discarded pineapple pieces if using fresh pineapple, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, then increase the heat to a boil and cook for a further 5 minutes until the flavours have melded and infused and the sauce has reduced by half. Remove the pineapple pieces and pour into a small bowl.
  5. Chop the onion and pepper into large chunks. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry wok for 2–3 minutes until fragrant and golden brown, then set aside.
  6. BUILD YOUR WOK CLOCK: place your marinated chicken slices at 12 o’clock, then arrange the onion, pepper, charred pineapple chunks, reduced sauce and toasted sesame seeds clockwise around your plate.
  7. Half-fill a large pot, wok or deep-fryer with vegetable oil and heat to 170°C, or until the tip of a wooden chopstick or skewer starts to fizz after a few seconds in the oil. Carefully add the marinated chicken and deep-fry until golden brown, about 4–5 minutes. Remove the pieces carefully with a slotted spoon and drain well on a plate covered with kitchen paper.
  8. In a separate wok, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over a high heat until smoking-hot. Add the onion and pepper and stir-fry for 1 minute until nicely charred. Add the pineapple chunks, pour over the sauce and bring to a vigorous boil, then add the chicken pieces and toss through two to three times to mix everything together. Spoon into a serving bowl, scatter over the toasted sesame seeds and serve.
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