Have you ever wondered why, when you take leftover sweet and sour pork from the fridge, the sauce is all lumpy and has the appearance of too-soft gelatin? It’s because of the starch added to the sweet and sour sauce. Good quality sweet and sour sauce should stay syrupy even after refrigeration albeit thicker than when hot or at room temperature. And it should be clear — never cloudy.
The truth is, I used to think that adding starch to sweet and sour sauce was the proper way to thicken it. But it really isn’t.
- 1 cup vinegar plus water I use equal amounts; adjust the ratio according to your taste
- 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups white sugar again, use the amount that suits your preference
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon paprika or 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
Dump the sugar into a thick-bottomed pan.
Pour in the liquid.
Boil over high heat, uncovered, until the sugar dissolves.
Add the rest of the ingredients.
Lower the heat to medium and continue boiling, uncovered and without stirring (stirring causes crystallization, for some reason), until the mixture is almost syrupy. Ten to twelve minutes. DO NOT wait for it to turn too thick as the sauce will thicken some more as it cools.
Cool the sweet and sour sauce. Transfer to a jar or a bottle and keep in the fridge. It’ll stay good for weeks.
You might also want to check out my sweet chili sauce.