Offering a classic combination of flavours, sweet and sour fish is one of the best known dishes coming from East Asia. When the fried fish is dipped in this sauce, it gets a savoury, crispy and yet slightly soggy texture. The perfect balance of flavours, the source is caramelized, with bell pepper, onions and fresh pineapple adding the final touch.
Made with simple ingredients that most people keep in their kitchen, the sauce can also be used with fried shrimp, pork or chicken.
For the fish
— Any whole, firm fish — I used pomfret
— 3 tablespoons of cornstarch
— 1 cup of onions, diced in medium square sizes
— 2 cups of mixed red, green and yellow bell pepper diced into medium-sized squares
— 1 cup fresh pineapple diced into medium-sized squares
— 5 minced cloves of garlic
— 1 inch ginger, finely chopped.
— 3 tablespoons of oil for frying fish, alternately you can choose to deep fry as well
— 2 whole dried red chillis ( optional)
For the sauce
— 4 tablespoons tomato ketchup
— ½ cup pineapple juice, canned or fresh
— 2 cups fish or vegetable stock
— ½ teaspoon white pepper powder
— 2 tablespoons sugar
— 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
— 1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce
— 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
— Salt to taste
1) Take the whole pomfret, clean it, wash and then pat dry with a cloth. Next cut three big slits on the belly — this will allow sauce to penetrate inside the fish. Rub half a teaspoon of salt and three tablespoons of cornstarch evenly over the fish. Put aside for 10 minutes.
2) Mix the tomato ketchup, pineapple juice and soy sauce in a bowl and stir well. Add one cup of vegetable stock.
3) Put half a tablespoon of oil in a pan and heat it, add garlic followed by ginger and whole chilli. Sautee for one minute. Next add the onions and cook them until they are transparent. Add the sauce you have just mixed together and bring the contents to a simmering boil. Add the sugar and then the bell peppers.
4) Add the remaining vegetable stock to the sauce together with the diced pineapple. To thicken, take two tablespoons of cornstarch and mix it with cold water to make a paste. Then add it to the sauce and allow to cook for two minutes. When this is done, add the rice vinegar and turn off the flame.
5) To pan fry the fish, take a grilling pan with a heavy bottom, add three tablespoons of oil and heat. Then place the fish on the pan and let it shallow fry on both sides on a low light. Do not cover with a lid.
6) Once the fish is crisp and cooked, pour over the hot sauce and serve with garnish and steamed rice.