Help!! Sweet & Sour sauce

Joined Apr 14, 2004
Does anyone know a good scratch recipe for sweet & sour sauce for Asian food? I have tried a ketchup based recipe, one that calls for grenadine, all variations taste nasty! Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance!
Joined Apr 28, 2003
There was a really neat one I found that wasn't ketchup based but honey based with vinager, some lemon, sugar, and ginger. A sort of base recipe where you can add ketchup to it to make red s&s sauce or chilli paste to make a spicey red s&s sauce.

I'll see if I can find it for you.
Joined Jun 26, 2004
when i was a commis 10 years ago i was thought this one,
1cup sugar
1cup vinegar
1cup tomato sauce
2cup water
cornflour to thicken

disolve the sugar in water and bring to the boil, add the vinegar and tomato bring back to the boil and simmer for 10 mins, thicken with cornflour/arrowroot,
it's a nice sweet/sour sauce
it can also be a base sauce, add ginger, fish sauce, pineapplle juice to make it oriental,
play around with it,
keep the faith :cool:
Joined Jun 11, 2004
For Asian food, I would use rice wine vinegar, water, ginger and a little sugar with corn starch to thicken, but the 'type' of sweet would vary depending on the meat used in the dish. Try applesauce if it is a pork plate. Mandarine oranges, or even just plain OJ works great with chicken and duck. Ground plums is good with beef (prune juice works in a pinch). Exact measurements will vary depending upon taste and the quality of ingredients. Good Luck.
Joined Apr 14, 2004
Thanks everyone-I am still trying. I am thinking about using orange marmalade as a base. the honey suggestion also sounds interesting- I am looking for that really thick, almost jelly like texture (that's why I will try marmalade)
Joined Aug 29, 2000
Arrowroot powder will give you a jelly-like thickening plus a glossy finish. You don't have to use a lot of it either. It gives a lighter texture than cornstarch, IMHO.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
this one gets raves....I can make homemade potstickers or wontons but the sauce gets the compliments, go figure.
Apricot jam, soy sauce and dijon or spicy can add grated fresh ginger, garlic, garlic chili sauce.
Joined Jan 24, 2003
Rapidly reduce cider or wine vinegar with sugar & a glass of red wine by half,
add a ltlle ketchup,honey,orange juice, worscestesire sauce .Reduce & thicen, adjust acidity n sweetness. Some people add quickly fried onions,peppers n pineapple...its up to you but adds colour n texture. You can play around endlessly with this sauce & use variations of the vinegars n juices for some unusual results juice n jelly, Essentially the sweet n sour is much like a french orange sauce for duck.
Joined Jul 6, 2004

2 tbsps Dry Sherry or Rice Wine
1 Cup Pineapple Juice
3 Tbsps Rice Wine Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce ( increase to suit)
2 Tbsps Soft Brown Sugar
2 Tbsps Ketchup (and the Chinese use it too!!)
1 Tbsps Cornstarch or Arrowroot

Combine all except starch. Stir constantly over low heat until sugar dissolved. Bring to boil, add any vegetables ( see below) . Mix starch with a little cold water until lump free, stir into mix off heat. Return to heat and simmer 2 minutes.

Depending on what I need this sauce for, I add a little minced ginger, minced chilli,chinese cut onion wedges, bell pepper strips, par cooked carrot rings, pineapple cubes, spring onions ( and use the green part), par cooked broccoli/cauliflower florets and zucchini rings. I personally dont like garlic in this sauce. :lips:
Joined Aug 25, 2001
Tamarind is sweet and sour. It makes a wonderful base for a sweet and sour dish especially with whole fried fish - Thai style.
Joined Jul 27, 2004
I bet that sauce is great, shroomgirl.

I make a dipping sauce for shrimp and scallops with an orange marmalade as a base and it's great. I usually spice it up with chili flakes, etc.

Chefmeow, how's the experiment coming? :)
Joined Jun 29, 2004
Not sure if this is Asian style enough, but here goes:

Tomato Paste
Lemon Juice/White wine vinegar/rice wine vinegar (or any combo of these)
Honey (I don't like using sugar)

For an even simpler version just use Lemonade concentrate + Tomato paste (Lemonade gives you the Sweet + Sour components, Tomato paste gives you the base).

You can also add Sweet chili sauce (I love that stuff).

A very small can of tomato paste, lots of the acid component, and honey to taste. To thicken reduce it in a pan/wok (I don't like the taste that comes when you use corn starch or flour to thicken...)

It kind of tastes like Chinese restaurant sweet and sour sauce... (and is better than most of the 'scratch' recipes I've come across... very simple too)
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