Learn how to make a popular seafood dish from China, sweet and sour fish. This Chinese seafood is incredibly delicious and easy to make. This homestyle meal (known as Tang Cu Yu (糖醋鱼)), would be the perfect addition to your family dinner table, any weeknight, or for a gathering or fun occasion.
Sweet and sour fish is one of the most popular seafood dishes you can find in Chinese restaurants. And today, I am going to show you how to make good restaurant-style sweet and sour fish fillets at home.
Why You'll Love This Chinese Sweet and Sour Fish Fillet Stir-Fry
Here's why you'll love this Chinese sweet-and-sour fish fillet recipe:
- Better than takeout. This dish tastes similar to or even better than take-out, and is much healthier and cheaper!
- No MSG was added. This fish dish is so delicious, and when you try recipes like this and can say “wow, it tastes better without MSG”, you’ll never want to go back.
- A Balance Meal. While this recipe isn’t as healthy as a salad you’re still getting some veggies and fish, and the sauce that I use has much less sugar than most out there, which lets the other flavors shine through.
This sweet and sour fish dish consists of white fish that is smothered in a Cantonese-inspired sweet and sour sauce. Here's the list of ingredients you'll need to make this seafood stir-fry recipe.
- Fish. You can use cod fillets or any similar mild white fish of your choice, such as Haddock, Catfish, or Pollock.
- Egg, Shaoxing wine, salt, corn starch, and neutral cooking oil. I used all of these ingredients to marinade the fish.
- Pineapple juice, light brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, low-sodium soy sauce, and corn starch. I used all of these ingredients to make the sweet and sour sauce. The pineapple juice gives natural sweetness and tanginess to the dish, which also offers some health benefits. I think it's better than using all refined sugar like many restaurants do when making this sauce.
- Ginger and garlic. I used both of them to add aroma and flavor to the dish.
- Green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and yellow onion. I used all of these ingredients to add fresh colors to the dish.
How to Make Sweet and Sour Fish Fillets
The cooking process of this dish is pretty easy and quick.
Step 1. Prepare and Marinate the Fish
- Pat the fish dry with paper towels.
- Cut the fish fillets into ⅛ inch-thick slices.
- In a large bowl, place the fish fillets and add the marinade. Mix until the fish slices are fully coated.
Step 2. Deep-Fry the Fish
- Heat at least 1 cup of oil in a wok over high heat.
- Use chopsticks to drop the fish slices into the wok one by one. Deep-fry the fish slices until lightly golden. Set them aside.
Step 3. Make Sweet and Sour Sauce
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine all sweet and sour ingredients. Set aside.
- In a wok, heat 1 teaspoon of oil over high heat. Cook garlic and ginger until fragrant for about 10 seconds.
- Whisk in the sweet and sour sauce into the wok, and simmer. Stirring occasionally until the sauce is thickened and glossy for about 5 minutes
- Taste and adjust seasoning with extra sugar and/or vinegar if needed or until you reach your desired taste. Remove from the heat, and set aside.
Step 4. Cook the Vegetables and Mix Everything Together
- In a clean wok, heat about 1½ tablespoons of oil over high heat.
- Cook the diced onion, red bell pepper, and green bell pepper until tender.
- Add the fish slices back into the skillet, then pour in the sweet and sour sauce. Toss to combine. Remove from the heat and serve.
Tips for Success
- Customize it. You can use the same recipe for the sweet and sour sauce to make sweet and sour chicken or sweet and sour pork!
- Adjust it. One of the best things about this homemade sweet and sour sauce is that you can adjust the sweetness or tanginess by adding extra sugar or vinegar until you reach the desired taste.
- Crispier result. For crispier results, you can pour the sweet and sour sauce with vegetable mixture over the fish before serving.
- The Best Oil for Stir Frying. Use oil with a high smoke point, such as vegetable oil, peanut oil, canola oil, or avocado oil.
- Check Deep-Fry Oil Temp. When you deep fry, you need your oil to get really hot, about 350°F - 375°F. To check the oil temp without a thermometer, dip a chopstick into the oil. If the oil starts steadily bubbling, then the oil is hot enough for frying.
- Work in Batches. It's important to fry in small batches. This will prevent the oil temperature drops too low. Deep-frying at lower temperatures makes the food absorb more oil or greasy.
Discard any leftover that has been left out for more than 2 hours at room temperature or 1 hour when the temperature is above 90°F. You can learn more here.
- Let the sweet and sour fish cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
- Transfer the leftovers to an airtight container.
- Properly stored, the leftover can last 2-3 days in the refrigerator or up to 2 months in the freezer.
How to Reheat Leftovers
You can reheat the leftover sweet and sour fish in the oven. Here's how:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Put the leftover sweet and sour fish in a sheet pan.
- Transfer the pan to the oven and reheat for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.
Check Out More Delicious Asian Recipes
- Hunan Beef with Cumin
- Instant Pot Mongolian Beef
- Singapore Noodles
- Minced Pork Noodles
- Chinese Eggplant with Minced Pork
- Shrimp and Green Peas Stir Fry
- Sesame Noodles (Ma Jiang Mian)
I hope you'll enjoy this recipe and share it with friends! If you try it and don’t mind, please leave me a comment and/or give this recipe a rating. Be sure to subscribe to receive weekly recipes and follow me on Pinterest.
Sweet and Sour Fish
- 1 pound cod fillets or any white fish of your choice , (cut into an ⅛ inch thick slices)
- 1 egg, (lightly beaten)
- ½ tablespoon Shaoxing wine , (or use dry sherry)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup corn starch
- ½ teaspoon cooking oil , (such as vegetable, peanut, or canola oil)
Sweet and Sour Sauce:
- 1 cup 100% pineapple juice
- ¼ cup water
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon corn starch , ( mix with 1 tablespoon water to thicken the sauce)
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- ¾ cup diced green bell pepper
- ¾ cup diced red bell pepper
- ½ medium yellow onion , (diced)
- vegetable oil
- Marinate. In a bowl, add fish and mix in the wine and salt. Add the egg and flour then mix until the fish slices are fully coated. Add the oil. Set aside.
- Preheat the oil. Heat at least 1 cup of oil in a wok over high heat. Dip a chopstick into the oil. If the oil starts steadily bubbling, then the oil is hot enough for frying.
- Fry the Fish. Working in batches, use chopsticks to drop the fish slices into the wok one by one. Deep-fry the fish slices until lightly golden. Do not overcook the fish. Transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate or wire cooling tray.
- In a bowl, combine all sweet and sour ingredients. Set aside.
- In a wok, heat 1 teaspoon of oil over high heat. Cook garlic and ginger until fragrant for 10 seconds.
- Whisk in the sweet and sour sauce into the wok and simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce is thickened and glossy for 5 minutes (about 1¼ cup of sauce, just enough sauce to wrap around the crispy pieces of fish).Taste and adjust the seasoning with extra sugar and/or vinegar if needed. Remove from the heat, and set aside.
- In a clean wok, heat 1½ tablespoons of oil over high heat. Cook the onion, red bell pepper, and green bell pepper until tender.
- Add the fish back into the skillet. Pour in the sauce and toss to combine. Remove from the heat and serve. Or for a crispier result, you can pour the sweet and sour sauce with vegetable mixture over the fish before serving.