Sweet and Sour Fish

I have, of late, been trying to include a bit more fish in my diet, even though fresh fish is not easily available in these parts much of the time. Today, however, I came across some nice cod fillets in my local store. Normally, with cod, I like the basic battered ‘English Style’ fish and chips, but starchy carbs are something I am trying to avoid and so I opted for a much simpler and lighter Chinese style dish…

The Ingredients

  • 1/2lb Cod, or other white fish fillet, cut into 6 or 8 pieces;
  • 4 Tbsp. Rice Wine (or dry sherry);
  • ¼ tsp. each, Ginger and Garlic Pastes;
  • ½ cup water;
  • 1 tsp. Cornstarch;
  • 1 Tbsp. Chinkiang Vinegar (or use Balsamic, or even white vinegar);
  • 1 Tbsp. Tomato Ketchup;
  • 1 tsp. Sugar;
  • 1 Egg White;
  • ¼ cup Flour (or more Cornstarch).

By the way, the use of Ketchup in a Chinese dish may strike some as odd but, the truth is, in many of my Chinese cookery books (including those actually published in China), ketchup is used quite often. Though it may be a humdrum, even overused condiment here, I rather think that, in China (as with, say, Oyster Sauce here), it has rather a touch of the exotic about it.


Mix together the rice wine, ginger and garlic in a suitable dish and marinate the fish pieces for a couple of house, turning them once or twice in the process.


After marinating, dip the slices in egg-white and coat with the flour. It’s not critical, but here I like to chill the floured pieces in the fridge for a while. It helps the coating to be absorbed a little and you don’t tend to get loose flour in the oil when you fry.


Before actually starting to cook, mix the cornstarch with a little bit of the water to make a paste, then stir in the rest of the water along with the vinegar, sugar and ketchup.


Fry your fish pieces in a generous amount of oil until nicely browned on both sides and remove to a plate.


Now, drain off excess oil from your pan and add the sauce mix. After a few seconds, it will thicken and clarify. Reduce it a little and then add back the fish pieces for just long enough to coat them with a ‘glaze’ and warm through again. Transfer the pieces to a serving platter and drizzle the remaining sauce over the top.




  1. Yummy! Looks simple but very tasty. I love fish with some tomato.

  2. I have this picture in my head of you living by the (albeit arctic) sea, so I’m surprised

  3. I have this picture in my head of you living by the (albeit arctic) sea, so I’m surprised fish is hard to come by. Like this preparation!

    1. I can actually see the sea from my back deck… Unfortunately, the only fish commercially caught here are Arctic Char (very like salmon) and Turbot (which I really dislike). Char is great… but out whitefish choices are mostly limited to frozen imports 🙁

      1. Turbot here is prized (and pricey). If it is actually the same (as fish names are confused all over the world), I wonder how you prepare it to not like it.

      2. I like neither the soft consistency nor the very bland taste. I first purchased it on northern Baffin Island at a really cheap price many years ago. After I cooked it,, I thought maybe it was just a poor quality catch for that day but, since then, I have had it served to me in several different hotels, cooked in a number of different ways… same reaction, I presume it is the same as your type… a large flatfish with blackish-brownish skin?

Leave a Reply