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 at Chinese restaurants. Today I am going to show you how to make good restaurant-style sweet and sour fish fillets. This dish tastes similar or even better than take-out, and is much healthier and cheaper!
Sweet and Sour Fish Contents:
This dish consists of white fish that is smothered in a Cantonese-inspired sweet and sour sauce. To add fresh colors to the dish I added in some diced red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and yellow onions. Some people opt to add pineapple into this dish. I sometimes do, but other times I like the dish to have a little less sweet of a taste.
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Cooking White Fish in this Sweet and Sour Fish Recipe:
In this recipe, I used cod fillets that I marinated with a classic Chinese marinade sauce. I also added lightly beaten eggs and corn starch flour in the wok prior to adding the deep-fried the fillets, which I then cooked until golden browned in color.
Haddock, catfish, pollock, or similar mild white fish can also be used to make this recipe.
Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce:
This homemade sweet and sour sauce is absolutely amazing and customizable. It has the perfect balance of sweetness and tanginess from pineapple juice, vinegar, and sugar. It’s also garlicky and gingery. You can even use the same recipe for the sweet and sour sauce to make sweet and sour chicken or sweet and sour pork!
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.
This sauce uses 100% pineapple juice as one of the main ingredients. 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.
How to Make Sweet and Sour Fish:
The cooking process of this dish is pretty easy and quick.
- First, marinate the fish, then mix in the eggs and flour.
- Second, deep fry the fish until golden brown. This process runs pretty quickly, just be ready for some oil splatter 🙂
- Next, make the homemade sweet and sour sauce.
- Lastly, you will need to cook the other ingredients, then add fish and sauce.
A Healthy Sweet and Sour Fish Recipe:
When planning a recipe like this I think of different ways to make the dish healthier, which oftentimes actually makes it taste better too. I eat much less deep-fried foods than I used to and also stay away from MSG, and now really don’t enjoy the taste of those like I used to. It’s scary how bad MSG is for you, and when you try recipes like this and can say “wow, it tastes better without it”, you’ll never want to go back. 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.
Sweet and Sour Fish
- 1 pound cod fillets or any white fish of your choice
- 1 egg (lightly beaten)
- ½ tbsp Shaoxing wine (or use dry sherry)
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup corn starch
- ½ tsp cooking oil (such as vegetable, peanut, or canola oil)
Sweet and Sour Sauce:
- 1 cup 100% pineapple juice
- ¼ cup water
- 3 tbsp light brown sugar
- 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp corn starch (+ 1 tbsp water to thicken the sauce)
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- ¾ cup diced green bell pepper
- ¾ cup diced red bell pepper
- ½ medium yellow onion (diced)
- vegetable oil
- Cut the fish fillets into slices about ⅛ inch thick.
Quick Marinate the Fish:
- Place the fish in a bowl, add the Shaoxing wine and salt, mix well. Mix in the egg and flour until the fish slices are fully coated. Add the oil. Set aside.
Deep-Fry the Fish:
- 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.
- Working in batches, use chopsticks or tongs to drop the fish slices into the wok one by one. Deep-fry the fish slices until lightly golden. Do not overcook the fish. Spread thick paper towels on a plate. Remove the cooked fish from the pan, and transfer to a plate. Set aside.
Make the Sweet and Sour Sauce:
- In a medium-size bowl, combine the pineapple juice, water, light brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, low sodium soy sauce, and the cornstarch-water mixture. Mix well and set aside.
- In a wok or non-stick pan, heat 1 teaspoon of oil over high heat, cook garlic and ginger until fragrant for about 10 seconds.
- Whisk in the other sweet and sauce ingredients into the wok. Simmer and stirring occasionally until the sauce is thickened and glossy for about 5 minutes (or until have just enough sauce to wrap around the crispy pieces of fish, about 1¼ cup of sauce). Adjust seasoning with extra sugar and/or vinegar if needed or until you reach your desired taste. Remove from the heat, set aside.
Stir Fry the Vegetables:
- Heat about 1½ tbsp 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. Or for a crispier result, you can pour the sweet and sour sauce with vegetable mixture over the fish before serving.