Fish in Hot Sweet-and-Sour Sauce


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

China: A Cookbook


By Terry Tan

Published 2020

  • About

Sweet-and-sour sauce is given some fire here with the addition of the rich red chilli bean paste, called dou banjiang, which is characteristic of many Sichuan dishes and found in every kitchen in the region. The best dou banjiang is said to come from the town of Pixian, outside Chengdu, but most grocery stores sell a variety of brands. It’s salty and hot, and a little of it goes a long way – but it’s just right with crispy cod or halibut.


  • 675 g/ lb cod, halibut or monkfish fillets, or other firm-fleshed white fish, skin or membrane removed
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp potato flour or any starchy flour
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 25 g/1 oz fresh root ginger, cut into fine strips


    1. Cut the fish into slices about 1 cm/½ in thick, then pat them dry with kitchen paper. Dust the slices lightly with potato flour.

    2. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over a medium heat or in a deep-fryer, then add the fish, in batches if necessary, and deep-fry until golden brown, about 2–3 minutes per batch. Lift out and drain on kitchen paper, then set aside.

    3. In the same oil, deep-fry the ginger strips for several seconds, until light brown. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.

    4. To make the sauce, put the chilli bean paste in a small bowl and blend in the sugar, rice wine or vinegar, soy sauce and 250 ml/8 fl oz/1 cup water. Pour into a wok or frying pan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat.

    5. Add the sliced leek and cook for 1–2 minutes, or until it is tender but still crisp.
    6. Add the fish and stir gently to mix well. Garnish with the fried ginger and serve immediately.