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Sweet and Spicy Plum Sauce Fish Recipe

Saturday, June 23, 2012 |

Today's feature is a variant of the popular Chinese style sweet and sour fish - the fish is pan-fried instead of deep-fried as is the norm in restaurants especially and plum sauce is used instead of ketchup.  By the way, I've  had comments in the past regarding the use of ketchup in 'authentic' Chinese cooking and after a bit of research, it appears that ketchup originated from China - so go figure! Anyway, this is not a post addressing the 'controversial' use of ketchup in authentic Chinese cooking so I shall proceed with the dish itself.

Chinese Sweet and Sour Fish

Pan-frying a fish requires more patience actually and if you like the battered deep-fried version, do go ahead, the sauce works equally well with both versions.  The secret to pan-frying fish is apart from making sure the wok is hot enough, fish is lightly rubbed with salt is really, patience.  The plum sauce imbues the dish with a deeper and fruitier flavour as compared to ketchup so I hope you'll give this a try when you get a chance.  

Chinese Sweet and Sour Fish

This post is part of my Yuen Chun Recipes, an ongoing project on this blog.


1/2 rock fish or fish fillet of your choice, lightly rubbed with salt (pat dry with kitchen towels first)
1 onion, sliced
4 bird's eye chili peppers (optional)

Sauce: (mix together in a bowl)

2 tablespoons plum sauce
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar or to taste (do check if the plum sauce is sweet enough on its own first)
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon water


Firstly, pan-fry the fish until crispy on both sides.  Heat your wok till almost smoking and add about 6 tablespoons of oil.  Swirl to coat.  Turn heat to low.  Gently lay the fish onto the center of the wok.  Allow the fish to cook on low heat for about 20 minutes (depending on the size of the fish so please adjust accordingly).  With a spatula and a pair of chopsticks, turn the fish over and allow to cook on the other side until golden brown as well.  Remove fish and place on serving platter.

Heat up your wok again and add 2 tablespoons of oil.  Swirl to coat.  Turn heat to low and add onions and chili peppers.  Stir fry till aromatic.  Add in the sauce and bring to a boil.  Do a taste test and add more sugar or salt if required.  Pour sauce with the onions and peppers over pan-fried fish.  Serve immediately.



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