Sweet and Sour Sauce: Ever Versatile! July 14, 2009


Like many dishes, sweet and sour sauce is one of those things that taste better the next day…and the next.  I like to make it 24 hours in advance.  This ensures that the vinegar and spices have “settled”.  Maybe a better word is “seeped in.”  It would probably hold for about three days in the fridge, but I don’t know what it would taste like after that.  I have this mild aversion to cooked meals that have been languishing in the fridge for more than three days!

Why do I say this sweet and sour sauce is versatile?  Simple:  it’s a sauce that  complements fried or baked fish, grilled pork chops or chicken.  I like it with fish, but last week I had a craving for meatballs.  Now, it’s rare I make meatballs because the thought of “balling” beef with my bare hands is a turn off.  But some hormones were definitely raging that day and I felt like having deep- fried meatballs with this sauce.

I am aware of what the health experts say about deep frying, but once in awhile I like to disobey the rules and  indulge myself.  I wouldn’t fry everyday, but once a week is fine by me.  Fish, for instance, is good when smoked and baked, but deep fried fish – hmmm…irresistible! 

Notice the meatballs in my picture.  They’re dark.  That’s because I like my beef overdone.   Chefs will label me barbaric, but to each his taste.  My friends used to laugh when I’d order steak and tell the waiter “very well done, please…almost burned.”  They ask me where I learned to eat.

The recipe’s here.

Prepare the meatballs and sweet and sour sauce 1 day ahead:


1 pack of minced meat (about 2 pounds)

5 cloves of garlic, minced

half of a small onion, minced

7 tbsp bread crumbs

1 large egg, beaten

salt, pepper

dash of tabasco

few drops of soy sauce

2-3 tbsp of steak spice (or any spice you have)

Mix above ingredients very well.  Cover with plastic wrap and let it stay in the fridge overnight.

Sweet and Sour Sauce:

4 tbsp canola oil

2 cups tomato juice (or the canned tomato sauce with whole or diced tomatoes.  You can throw in the tomatoes if you wish)

10 tbsp vinegar

2/3 cup sugar

1-1/2 cups of carrots, cut into strips

1/4 of red pepper, sliced into strips (when I say 1/4 I mean cut the ball pepper in half.  Take one half and slice into half again, slicing in thin strips)

1/4 of green pepper (do the same as the red pepper)

3 tbsp of very finely sliced ginger

1 small onion, also cut into thin strips

salt to taste

1/4 cup soy sauce


Saute your garlic, onions and ginger.  Add the red and green pepper strips.  Continue to saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add the carrots.  Saute 1 minute.  Pour your tomato sauce, soy sauce, and vinegar.  Reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Add sugar and salt.  This is where you should start tasting the sauce  until you get the desired sweet/sour taste.  Keep adding what you think is missing (vinegar, sugar or soy sauce).  Sauce should be ready in 30 minutes.  Set aside and let cool.  When cool, store in refrigerator, covered.

You may wish to add a bit of cornstarch mixed in water to thicken the sauce.  I find that this step isn’t necessary if you intend to serve the dish the next day.  The sauce thickens anyway.

If you need to serve it on the same day, do the cornstarch solution.

The next day, heat your sweet and sour sauce.  When it boils, add your meatballs.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Serve over white steamed rice.  It might also go well with couscous.






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