Sweet and sour sauce - three original recipes.

sweet and sour sauce
Sweet and sour sauce is linked to Chinese cuisine and can be found in a number of popular dishes in various forms.

The sauce can be used as a glaze to give extra flavour to meat and poultry, as a thin pouring sauce to accompany stir-fried vegetables or as a thick bright coloured dipping sauce for deep-fried chicken, pork or seafood, which is probably how we know it best.

Typical dishes incorporating sweet and sour sauces are sweet and sour pork or chicken balls, sweet and sour prawns or sweet and sour stir-fried vegetables.
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Many people find combining sweet and savoury foods together a little strange for their palettes, however, the sweet and sour dishes are possibly the most popular when visiting a Chinese restaurant.

All recipes for sweet and sour sauce include sugar, which obviously gives the sweet taste to the sauce, whilst the "sour" is achieved by adding vinegar, and in the more authentic recipes, rice vinegar is used.

Other ingredients include soy sauce, ketchup for the bright red colour and cornstarch mixed with water to give the sauce a thicker texture.

The sauce is extremely simple to make and basically involves mixing all of the ingredients together in a pan, bringing the mixture to the boil, thickening with the cornstarch and then serving with your favourite Chinese dish.

Below are a number of recipes for you to try out.

Easy sweet and sour sauce

Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup of rice vinegar
  • 4 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp of tomato ketchup
  • 2 tsp of cornstarch mixed with 4 tsp of water
  • 1 tsp of soy sauce
Method
  1. Combine the cornstarch with the water, making sure that the cornstarch fully dissolves into the water and set aside.
  2. Place the rice vinegar, brown sugar, tomato ketchup and soy sauce into a small saucepan, mix together and bring to the boil.
  3. Add the cornstarch and water mixture and stir all of the ingredients together until the sauce has thickened to the desired consistency.
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Pineapple sweet and sour sauce

Ingredients
  • Juice from a 4 oz can of pineapple chunks or rings
  • ¼ cup of tomato ketchup
  • ¼ cup of distilled white vinegar
  • ¼ cup of brown sugar
  • 1½ tbsp of cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp of garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp of mustard powder
  • ½ tsp of ground ginger
Method
  1. Place all of the above ingredients together in a saucepan.
  2. Mix together and cook over a medium-high heat, stirring continuously, until the sauce comes together and thickens.

Thick sweet and sour sauce for dipping

Ingredients
  • ½ cup of chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp of white vinegar
  • 4 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbsp of cornstarch mixed with 3 tbsp of water
Method
  1. Mix the cornstarch together with the water until fully dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Place the remaining ingredients into a saucepan.
  3. Mix together and heat over a medium flame. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly.
  4. Once the sauce begins to boil, reduce the heat and add the cornstarch mixture whilst stirring continuously.
  5. Continue to simmer for several minutes until the sauce thickens.
  6. Serve with deep-fried prawns, chicken or pork balls in batter.



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