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Ming-Cheau Lin's sweet-and-sour fish

This article first appeared in City Press.

03 Sep 2017

Based in Cape Town, freelance copywriter and food blogger Ming-Cheau Lin was born in one of the world’s street-food capitals – Taiwan. Her popular blog,, provides awesome Taiwanese recipes that use local ingredients. Check out Lin's great recipe for sweet-and-sour fish.


1 whole fish of your choice*

1 egg white

1 cup of cornstarch

Enough cooking oil to reach 1/3 of the fish height in the pan

1 green and 1 yellow pepper

Sweet-and-sour sauce:

2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp tomato sauce

1 cup water

1 tbsp cornstarch

Salt and sugar to taste


1 Clean a whole fish, choose one with a versatile flavour. I got a beautiful soldier fish from Fish4Africa, which complies with Sassi (sustainable fishing) regulations.

2 I portioned my fish into three pieces to fit a regular frying pan (head, body and tail – this is what happens when you only really cook for two).

3 Dry the fish as much as possible with paper towels, brush with egg white and dust with cornstarch.

4 Heat the pan. Once the pan is hot, pour the cooking oil in and reduce to a medium heat.

5 Once the oil is hot, place the fish into the oil (watch out, it will splatter, arm yourself with the pan’s lid). Leave it for four minutes and turn the fish to fry the other side for another four minutes.

6 Place the fish over a wire rack over paper towels to remove excess oil.

7 In a wide saucepan, pan-fry the onions and peppers, then add rice vinegar, tomato sauce and ½ cup of water, stir till even.

8 Mix cornstarch with the rest of the water and add to saucepan once the vinegary sauce is simmering.

9 Add salt and sugar to taste.

10 Place fish on a plate, drizzle sauce, peppers and onions over it and garnish with fresh coriander.

*You can get this from a seafood and fish shop or any good grocer. Soldier fish, kingklip or hake will do

Read more on: fish  |  seafood  |  recipes

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