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Greg's sweet and sour fish
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I've been making this dish since my student days. In those days, it was one of the most complicated dishes I made, but it no longer cause quite the stress that it did in those days, at least partially because I have simplified the recipe (made easier by the availability of microwave ovens). The most recent iteration is described here.

The biggest issue with this dish is the balance between sweet and sour in the sauce. In particular, the strength of commercially available vinegar can vary considerably. In case of doubt (some vinegar, notably that from ALDI, doesn't specify the strength), assume between 4% and 5%. A further issue is that the sauce isn't stable: the vinegar hydrolyzes the sugar, converting it to less-sweet glucose and fructose, so the vinegar should be added just before serving.

The recipe originally came from “Chinese Food”, by Kenneth Lo, who specified carp, and that it should be deep-fried.

Ingredients

Preparation time:       60 minutes
quantity       ingredient       step
10 g       dried tree fungus (mushrooms)       1
300 g       fish fillet       2
5 g       salt       2
      oil for frying       2
20 g       spring onion, chopped       3
100 g       sweet red capsicum       3
50 g       bamboo shoots       3
80 g       peas       3
150 ml       water       4
20 ml       soya sauce       4
40 ml       dry sherry or rice wine       4
4 g       chicken stock powder       4
5 g       salt       4
25 g       tomato purée       4
25 g       sugar       4
10 g       cornflour       4
72 ml       vinegar, 5% (3.6 g acetic acid)       5
      sesame oil       5
      coriander leaf, chopped       5

Preparation

  1. Soak the fungus in water for about 20 minutes to soften it. Cut into fine strips.

  2. Cut the fish into about 12 pieces. Rub it with salt and leave for a few minutes. Fry in a pan with little oil.

  3. When the fish is cooked, remove and place into a serving dish. Fry the onion and capsicum in the same pan. When a little softened, add the bamboo shoots, peas and drained mushrooms.

  4. Add the sauce ingredients and bring back to the boil. Add the cornflour mixture and stir until thickened.

  5. About a minute before serving, heat the fish in a microwave oven. Add vinegar to the sauce and mix well. Pour over the fish and garnish with coriander leaf. Serve.


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