How to make sweet and sour fish

How to make sweet and sour fishHow to make sweet and sour fish

Who says this dish should just be reserved for holidays?

When thinking about the most classic Chinese dishes, sweet and sour fish would easily make the top ten. This crispy, savoury meal is a staple of family banquets. Though typically served during Chinese new year, you can whip this up any day, if you’re feeling like indulging, and putting in the effort, then it can truly make even regular days feel like a special occasion. Looking for a recipe for sweet and sour whole fish? Try this!

Try This Recipe for Sweet and Sour Whole Fish Today

Makes 4 to 5 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

What you'll need:

  • 1 whole fish (sea bass, cream dory, milkfish, or tilapia)
  • 2 cups of canola oil (or more, if desired)
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the sauce:

  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • a 2-inch piece of ginger, cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup (each) of diced red, green, and yellow bell peppers
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup carrots, cut into strips
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup of tomato sauce or ketchup

Here's how to make it:

1. To prepare the fish, first cut three openings about three inches apart on the body of the fish, stopping midway, when you hit the bone.

2. Next, rub salt and pepper on the body of the fish, making sure you season the inside of the fish.

3. Dip the fish into a bowl containing the beaten egg, then coat it in cornstarch.

4. Take a large wok* and drizzle with oil, place over medium high heat.

5. After a few moments, carefully slip the fish into the wok. Deep fry one side without constantly lifting, so as to keep the fish intact.

6. Once one side is golden brown, turn your fish using a spatula or a pair of tongs.

7. Remove the fish from the pan. Transfer it to a serving platter and drain excess oil.

8. Without adding more cooking oil, sauté garlic and shallots in the same wok.

9. Once fragrant, add carrots, bell peppers, sugar, and tomato sauce.

10. Add some pineapples as well as water and cornstarch to thicken up the sauce. Let it simmer.

11. Once it's ready, pour the sauce over your fried fish.*

Serve and enjoy!


  • You can also use fish fillets, instead of a whole fish. The same process applies, except that the fish fillets should be deep fried beforehand.
  • To deep fry fish fillet, coat pieces in flour, baking powder cornstarch, salt and pepper before frying it in vegetable oil.
  • You can also add rice wine and oyster sauce in the marinade.
  • For a thicker consistency, you can also add tomato paste into the sauce.
  • If you only have a smaller wok on hand, make sure to tilt it while frying your fish so the rest of the fish soaks up the oil and it cooks evenly.
  • You can also garnish your finished dish with chillies or coriander leaves or serve it on a bed of lettuce.

Did you want to try this recipe for sweet and sour whole fish? Then by all means do try to make it and let us know how you liked it in the comments below! 

Read also: The simplest Curry Laksa recipe

Written by

Bianchi Mendoza