Dec 20, 2017

No Ketchup Needed Sweet and Sour Snapper

Frankly speaking, I'm not a fan of the taste and texture of farm raised snapper. It can be bland and a little too tough for my preference. However, these characteristics made it an ideal ingredient for heavy seasoning dishes, such as Chinese sweet and sour sauce.

No ketchup needed sweet and sour snapper -


  • 2 medium sized snapper fillets
  • 1/2 onion
  • Some olive oil
  • Some corn starch
  • Some salt
  • Some chopped cilantro

Marinade -

  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice cooking wine
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated ginger
  • Tiny pinch salt

Sauce -

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon black vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


Cut the fish fillet into large bite size pieces. Mix all the ingredients under the "marinade" section and transfer the fish over. Marinate for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and slice the onion. Grate the ginger and chop some cilantro.

After marinating the fish, pour some corn starch onto a plate and coat the snapper piece by piece with it. Gently shake the fish to remove excess corn starch.

Drizzle some olive oil to the pan, the amount used should be more than simply coat the bottom, about 4 to 5 tablespoons. Turn to high heat and wait till the oil gets hot. Carefully add in the fish one by one and sear till slightly golden. 

Line a dish with kitchen towel and transfer the fried fish over. The kitchen towel will absorb extra oil dripping.

Scoop out some oil and just save about 1 to two tablespoons in the same pan. Add in the onion along with a tiny pinch of salt. Sear till the onion turns translucent.

Mix all the "sauce" ingredients and pour to the pan. Bring to a boil then lower the heat just a bit, continue to cook for 30 seconds or so. 

Transfer the fried snapper back to the pan and cook for another 30 seconds or so.

Mix some corn starch with small amount of water as thickening agent. Pour this corn starch water to the pan and gently stirring the sauce at the same time to prevent lumps. Cook till the sauce turns gooey. You might want to add just a little bit of corn starch water mixture at a time in case the whole thing turns to one lumpy mess. Gradually add the thickening agent till the sauce reaches desired texture.

The corn starch dusted on the fish earlier and the corn starch added to the sauce in the end should bind together nicely. Slightly crunch on the edges, but mostly help binding with gooey seasonings. In the end, the sweet and sour snapper should all be coated with thick and flavorful sauce, neither watery nor soupy. Garnish with chopped cilantro right before serving. 

Even though I'm not a fan of such fish, but with no ketchup used sweet and sour sauce, that I can do.

Some other fish related recipes:

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