(THE NEW PAPER) - The origins of sweet and sour dishes have been subjected to debate by food writers, as noted by author Frederick J. Simoons in his book Food In China: A Cultural And Historical Inquiry. Some say the dish originated from Beijing, yet others argue it was derived from Hunan or Shandong.
The Cantonese version of sweet and sour pork is possibly the most well known.
This is my spicy take on the dish using fish. I have chosen to use angoli (gold band snapper) as recommended by my fishmonger.
I omitted the final step of a quick stir-fry of the fried fish in the sauce so that the delicate flavour of the fish is not overwhelmed by it. I also left out vinegar as I find the tomato ketchup and Worcestershire sauce add sufficient acidity.
Write to me if you want to know the brand of ketchup I use.
350g angoli, deboned and cut into thick slices
2 Tbs Shaoxing wine
1 tsp baking powder
Dash of ground white pepper
½ tsp salt
INGREDIENTS B (FOR SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE)
150ml tomato ketchup
3 Tbs extra hot chilli sauce
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs oyster sauce
1 tsp light soya sauce
1¹/₂ tsp sugar
400ml cooking oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large red onion (150g), sectioned
1 red bell pepper (100g), sliced into triangles
30g frozen peas, thawed
120g pineapple chunks
1. In a bowl, place fish slices. Add Shaoxing wine and gently mix well.
2. Add cornflour, water and baking powder. Mix well.
3. Season with ground white pepper and salt. Mix well.
4. Cover bowl with clingwrap and place in refrigerator to marinate for at least an hour. Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before frying.
5. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and set aside.
7. In a wok, heat cooking oil on medium heat. Fry the fish, four slices at a time, for two minutes each or until golden brown.
8. Place fried fish on kitchen paper to drain excess oil.
9. After frying the fish, heat the oil in the wok on high heat.
10. Once small bubbles start rising to the surface, place all the fried fish into the oil and deep-fry briefly for 45 seconds.
11. Remove from oil and place fish on kitchen paper to drain excess oil.
12. Arrange fish on serving dish. Set aside.
13. Reserve 30ml of the oil.
14. To finish off the sauce, heat the oil in a clean wok over medium heat.
15. Fry garlic for 30 seconds until fragrant.
16. Add onion and fry for 45 seconds.
17. Add red bell pepper and fry for a minute.
18. Add in the sauce mixture.
19. Turn heat down to medium low.
20. Bring to a simmer and add pineapple and peas.
21. Once the mixture returns to a simmer, turn off the heat.
22. Spoon the mixture over the fried fish on the serving dish. Serve immediately.