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Crispy Fish with Sweet-and-Sour Sauce

Most Chinese-takeout sweet-and-sour sauces are bright red, gluey and sugary. Grace Parisi’s version is light as well as a little spicy, which allows the fresh, briny flavor of the crispy fish to come through.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

  • 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing (Chinese cooking wine) or sherry

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon Chinese chile-garlic sauce

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger

  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced

  • Four 4- to 5-ounce branzino, striped bass or trout fillets

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias

  • Steamed rice, for serving


  1. In a small bowl, whisk the broth, soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, wine, cornstarch and chile sauce. In a small saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the ginger and garlic and cook over high heat, stirring, just until fragrant, 1 minute. Whisk the sauce ingredients, then add them to the pan. Simmer until the sauce is thickened and glossy, 5 minutes. Keep warm over low heat.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the fish, skin side down, and press lightly with a spatula to sear the skin for 10 seconds for each fillet. Cook undisturbed over high heat until the fillets are browned and crispy at the edges and just barely opaque on top, about 5 minutes. Flip the fish and cook just until cooked through, about 1 minute longer. Transfer the fish skin side up to plates. Spoon the sauce on top, garnish with the scallions and serve with rice.

Make Ahead

The sweet-and-sour sauce can be refrigerated overnight.


If using striped bass fillets, cook the fish for slightly longer.

Suggested Pairing

Lively, citrusy German Riesling.

Contributed By Photo © Johnny Miller Published February 2013

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