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Sweet and Sour Fish Recipe (Black Pomfret) 甜酸熏鲳鱼

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 | Labels: , |

Although the name of this dish is simply 'sweet and sour' - the dimension of taste far exceeds just sweet and sour, the essential chilli peppers give the dish some heat (spiciness) while a little bit of soy blends in some saltiness.  I suppose the flavour missing in the traditional five flavours is bitterness! This is a family favourite of mine and apart from being absolutely delicious, the dish is also very colourful (red actually!) and hence auspicious looking. Check out my sweet and spicy prawns recipe for another auspicious looking and sounding dish.  This recipe differs from most sweet and sour fishes offered by restaurants as the latter usually serve up battered fishes in sweet and sour sauces.  Pan-frying requires a bit more patience and in my opinion is tastier as it soaks up the sauce better and will not have the sogginess factor.  This sauce is delicious with other seafood as well like squid, crabs (add an egg) and shrimp, just to name a few.  I believe that most of the sweet and sour Chinese dishes originated from the province of Guangdong as Cantonese cuisine has always been famous for its' sweet and sour recipes, amongst others.


Note however that this dish differs from another popular variety of sweet and sour fish which is usually cooked with carp in China (糖醋鱼) which literally translates to 'sugar vinegar fish'.  As for the fish of choice today, I used black pomfret for this dish as this fish is highly suitable for pan-frying as the skin does not come off easily - the black pomfret or 熏鲳鱼 is a highly sought after fish for many dishes due to its' firm flesh and relatively non-fishy flavour.  Its' more expensive cousin, the silver or white pomfret is more suitable for steaming mainly due to the 'sweeter' flavour of its' flesh.



1 black pomfret, scaled and cleaned
3-4 tomatoes, quartered
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 red chilli peppers (seeded if you prefer less spicy), sliced
2 stalks green onions, chopped

For the sauce:

6 tbsps of ketchup (add more depending on the size of your fish)
2 tbsps of chilli sauce
1 tbsp of white vinegar
2-3 tbsps of sugar (do a taste test, add more according to your preferences)
1 tbsp of light soy sauce



First, use a knife and slighly make a cut across the body of the fish, next lightly rub both sides with a small amount of salt, this is to minimise the sticking of the fish to the pan while pan-frying.  Pan-fry with low heat to ensure that the flesh of the fish is cooked as well, this may take some time depending on the size of your fish.  Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by mixing the ingredients above, it is important to do a taste test and you can play around with the ingredients listed above depending on your taste preferences. 

Once the fish is cooked, remove and place on a serving dish.  Now, saute the garlic, chilli peppers and green onions till fragrant.  Next, add the tomatoes and stir-fry for awhile before adding the previously prepared sauce.  Bring to a boil and pour over the fish earlier.  Garnish with some green onions if you wish.


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noobcook said...

I've always love sweet and sour sauce ... and it goes well with your pan fried fish. Thanks for telling the diff between the black and white pomfret :)

pigpigscorner said...

Love anything sweet and sour, it's just so appetising! Your tomatoes look extremely juicy!

Jen said...

Wiffy - I'm glad u find the info useful! it was my parents who gave me the tip :)

PPC - thanks!

tigerfish said...

This fish dish must be so delicious.

Xiao Yen Recipes said...

I haven't seen red chili peppers that long for a long time! I love sweet, sour and spicy foods. This is a dish I know I would enjoy.

lishapisa said...

our family and loves fried fish with tomato and ginger. one of our dish mom loves to make for us. I like you version with a kick of heat*
and this is so perfect with a hot bowl of rice :)
Thank you,
CookNg Sisters

TasteHongKong said...

Who would say no to this sweet and sour sauce? You have made it more homey with such generous amount of tomatoes.

Jen said...

thanks everyone! yup, this is my mom's famous recipe and my brothers absolutely love this dish.

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