Under normal circumstances, I’d make sweet and sour sauce the usual way — by making a syrup. No starch. But when I’m in a hurry, I take short cuts. Still no starch. Oh, yes, it is possible to make great tasting sweet and sour sauce in one minute. And I don’t mean lumpy store-bought stuff. I mean syrupy and spicy and absolutely delicious.
How? Well, it helps to have some basic ingredients that make this quintessential Chinese sauce smell and taste Chinese. Like what? Like ginger, rice wine vinegar, sesame seed oil and sesame seeds.
I used talakitok (trevally) for this recipe; you can substitute your fish of choice. Tilapia works very well.
Fried talakitok (trevally) with 1-minute sweet and sour sauce
- Score the fish. Rub with salt and pepper (see how). Dredge in starch.
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan until fine wisps of smoke appear.
- Fry the fish until golden, flipping halfway through. The actual cooking time will vary depending on the size of the fish.
- While the fish cooks, stir together all the ingredients for the sweet and sour sauce.
- Scoop the fish out of the oil (a kitchen spider is useful) and allow excess oil to drip. Arrange on a platter.
- Pour off the oil. The bottom of the pan is already wet with oil and that’s all you’ll need for the next step.
- Reheat the pan. Add the onion and bell pepper. Stir fry for about half a minute then scatter over the fish.
- Pour the sauce over the fish and vegetables. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds and cilantro. Serve the fish at once.