Friday, 15 August 2014

Something Sweet, Something Sour - that’s Dinner... and Life!

I was a very talkative child (which you’ve probably guessed by now) in my china doll haircut, and given the chance I would be so full of cute little questions!

A typical conversation goes like this:

Scene: Coffeeshop zhi char* stall

Uncle: (smiling broadly)... and our best dish is the FISH! Very Good – Must Try!

My mom: ok. One.

me: Why?

Uncle: Because it’s VERY good!

me: Why is it good?

Uncle: (still smiling, but less)... you see so many customers eating the fish, so must be good, right?

me: (pointing accusingly) Why are they not smiling?

Uncle: You don’t like fish?

me: (louder) Why... not... SMILING!??

My mom: sssshhh! Quiet... they will smile later!

me: (protesting)... but... but lousy fish, ma... don’t buy the fish, Don’t buy the FISHHHH!!!

We kinda did ta pau** from this stall forever after that...

So this brings us to my featured dish for today – Sweet & Sour Garoupa! (Yay! she finally got to it!).

See the raw ingredients – fish looks like it’s chuckling, doesn’t it?

See the finished dish - fish looks like a... piggy? dang! camera angle...

Yup! this is one dish that is sure to make you Smile!

  *zhi char – cooked to order restaurant style dishes
**ta pau – takeaway, takeout

Sweet & Sour Fish (Garoupa)


1 Garoupa, medium
1 egg yolk
1 to 2 tbsp cornstarch
Cornstarch, to coat fish before frying


2 potatoes, medium, peeled
½ cucumber, remove soft centre
1 tomato
1 green pepper
4 big shallots, peeled
Red chillies, sliced
Cilantro, for garnish


I don't really measure the sauce ingredients. Just taste & adjust to your liking (as I do).
Make this in advance to save time.

400 ml of water
Tomato ketchup
Rice vinegar
Sesame oil
Salt, if needed

Method - I have arranged the sequence of steps so that the potatoes are fried last.

Make a paste with the egg yolk and cornstarch.

Gut, rinse & butterfly the fish.

Salt the fish, then coat inside and out, with the yolk paste.

Marinate for 30 mins. in the fridge.

While the fish is marinating:
•    cut up the veggies into bite-sized pieces.
•    make the sauce - mix everything in a saucepan. Bring to a boil on low heat. Set aside.

Heat up 2 tbsp of oil in a wok.

Stir fry* all the vegetables (except the tomatoes) for about 3 mins

Add the tomatoes & gently stir fry 1 minute. Set aside.

Add & Heat up enough oil for shallow frying.

Coat the fish in cornstarch. Shallow fry till cooked & crispy (turn over carefully).

Place the fish in the middle of a large serving plate.

Deep-fry the potatoes (add & Heat up more oil before frying, if necessary)

While the potatoes are frying, warm & thicken the sauce with cornstarch.

Drain the fried potatoes**.

Arrange the fried vegetables & potatoes around the fish.

Pour the hot sauce onto the veg & potatoes.

Drizzle some sauce over the fish.

Garnish with sprigs of cilantro. Serve Immediately.

Great with white rice!

  *till cucumbers are just a little soft on the outside, but still crunchy.

**you can serve the fried potatoes separately to make it a complete meal (increase the amount of potatoes accordingly).

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