Sweet and sour fish
  |  First Published: March 2012

Sweet and sour was the first ‘exotic’ flavour that I can ever remember tasting, and remains one of my favourite. Add fish into the equation as the ‘main meat’ and you have a delicious partnership.

I usually start with the Lee Kum Keen sweet and sour sauce as a base and add a few ingredients to enhance it; in particularly, rice wine vinegar as the sour element and sugar as the sweet kick. However, pineapple pieces and shredded carrot can be substituted to give the traditional sweet and sour appearance.

The batter is a light batter that is very easy to make. Then it’s only a matter of dipping your fish in a couple of bowls and then frying.

All of the following Asian ingredients are available in the larger supermarkets or Asian grocery stores.


750g fish fillets, bones removed

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1-2 cups plain flour

Salt and white pepper, pinch

Vegetable oil, for frying the fish

1 tbsp vegetable oil, for the sauce

2 cloves garlic, finely grated

2cm piece ginger, peeled and finely grated

2 green shallots, finely sliced

3 tbsp Obento rice wine vinegar

1/2cup chicken or fish stock

3tbsp sugar

2tbsp Chinese cooking wine

2tbsp ABC soy sauce

1 bottle Lee Kum Kee sweet and sour sauce

1tsp Yeos sesame oil

2tsp cornflour


1. Ensure all the bones have been removed from the fish fillets and cut into pieces. The size of the pieces is up to you; whether you prefer bite size morsels or something a bit more substantial.

2. Place the lightly beaten eggs in one bowl and place the flour into another bowl. Add a little salt and pepper to the flour to season.

3. Heat vegetable oil (about 2-3cm deep) in a heavy-based frypan over a medium heat. Test the temperature of the oil by dropping in a cube of bread. The bread should turn golden brown in ten seconds.

4. It is an assembly line process to cook the fish: coat the fish in the seasoned flour, remove the pieces one at a time and dip it the beaten egg. Then place into the hot oil and cook both sides until the fish is golden brown. Cooking time will be dependant on the thickness of the fish. When the fish is cooked, remove from the pan and drain on some paper towel. Place to one side while you prepare the sauce.

5. Pour the oil out of the frypan and discard. Wipe the pan out with some paper towel. Reheat the pan over a medium high heat. Add the additional tablespoon of oil and heat until hot. Add the garlic, ginger, green shallots and carrot (if using) to the pan and stir-fry for about 30 seconds.

6. Add the rice wine vinegar, stock, sugar, soy sauce, cooking wine, the bottle of Lee Kum Kee sweet and sour sauce as well as the sesame oil. Stir well to combine all of the ingredients.

7. Mix the cornflour with a little water to form a paste and add a little at a time to the sauce until you have the consistency that you prefer.

8. Return the fish to the pan and the pineapple pieces (if using) for a minute to heat through.

Steamed Rice

This method of cooking rice will give you beautifully fluffy grains of rice. You will need either a bamboo steamer or a saucepan style steamer.

1. Put 200g of long grain rice in a bowl and, using your fingers, rinse the rice under cold running water and drain thoroughly.

2. Place a layer of greaseproof style paper in your steamer. Punch a multitude of holes in the paper to allow the steam to come through. Spread your rice over the top of the paper, cover with a lid and steam over boiling water for about 40 minutes or until the rice is tender. Fluff the rice with a fork.

Serve the Sweet and Sour Fish with steamed rice. This dish serves four people.

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