you're reading...

Chinese fish and seafood

55. Chinese sweet and sour fish (northeast style)

How to cook simple sweet and sour fish at home with simple Chinese recipe
Sweet and sour fish

I know I have mentioned the “sweet and sour taste” many times, but I am not very much used to the real Cantonese style “sweet and sour” sauce — a bit too sweet for me. (Well, not much of a surprise, I don’t even like to have sugar in my black coffee). And if you have come across my previous post, you probably already know what I mean by difference between northern and southern sweet and sour sauces.

Sweet and sour fish in Northern China

So this northeast “sugar and vinegar fish” dish is equivalent to the Cantonese style “sweet and sour” fish, I think, but the name is “tang cu yu”. If you translate the name literally, in Mandarin, it would be “Sugar and vinegar fish”. However, although the taste of the two dishes might be very similar, the sauce and the actual type of fish used are rather different, so is the presentation. :)

For the fish, in the North East of China we use “Carp” very often for home cooking, which also carries some symbolic meaning. The pronunciation of “carp” in Chinese is “Li yu/鲤鱼”, in which, “li”(3)鲤 shares almost the same pronunciation with the character “利” (4)(“profit / benefit”. Hence, it has been very popular to use the image of “carp” to symbolize good life, for example, in the typical Chinese new year posters, a boy riding on a ‘big’ fish is one of the most popular posters representing better and better life in the coming year.

Well, not much to do with the actual food, but if you order the original “sugar and vinegar fish” in northern China, the fish (carp) is normally presented as if it was going to jump, very similar to the poster. (As mentioned in another post, in northeast cuisine, fish is kept as a whole with head and tail when presented on the table.) And the sauce, which is made up with sugar and vinegar and tomato sauce, is poured on the top of the fish.

But, in this post… as mentioned before, I will use boneless fish instead — there will be no fish ‘jumping’ on the plate :)), but still good for a fish treat. :)

Here you go.

The recipe: Chinese sweet and sour fish


Fish (I used boneless white fish)

Sugar, vinegar, egg, flour, corn flour, salt, oil, onion, ginger.


1)Chop the fish into smaller pieces, and coated with egg, flour and water mix. (Exactly same as I have done many times before.)

sweet and sour fish northeast Chinese style-chopping the fish into piecessweet and sour fish northeast Chinese style-coating the fish with flour mix for frying

2)Peel and chop 1 onion and a good piece of ginger into thin strips.

3)Mix a full teaspoon of corn flour with water, for thickening the sauce later.


1)In a heated wok, pour around 3 cups of oil. (At least enough to cover the fish pieces when frying).

2)When the oil is hot enough, put coated fish pieces into the oil one by one for frying.

northeast Chinese recipe-sweet and sour fish-oil frying the fish first

3)When the surface of the fish pieces turns ‘brown’, and is crispy, remove them from the oil.

northeast Chinese style-sweet and sour fish-frying fish first

4) Remove oil from the wok, but remain around 2 tablespoons in it.

5) Add chopped onion and ginger into the wok, along with around 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce or ketchup.

Chinese recipe-northeast style sweet and sour fish-frying with onion and ginger

6) When the onion gets soft a little bit, and the smell of onion and ginger comes out, add 1 tablespoon of cooking wine, 1 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar into the wok.

northeast Chinese style sweet and sour sauce

7)And the corn flour mix into the wok, and stir everything together well.

8)When the sauce in the wok is getting thicker ( you will see some bubbling), add pre-fried fish in.

northeast Chinese recipe-sweet and sour fish

9)Once the sauce generally coated on the fish pieces, turn off the fire and remove the fish to the plate quickly.

Chinese recipe-fish-northeast style with sweet and sour sauce
Chinese sweet and sour fish

—– Here you go, done!

Prepare it for a romantic dinner, you will not get complain. :)
I like to have it with boiled rice, but with beer for summer is also not bad choice. :)

Related posts:

9. Chinese stir fried Aubergine and seafood
47. Chinese seafood dumpling fillings
70. Simple stir fried prawns
134. Chinese soft fried shrimps


No comments yet.

Post a Comment

Slider by webdesign