Sweet and Sour
By Eileen Goltz
The sweet and sour taste combination was probably
Cantonese in origin. Sweet and sour recipes have become so popular that
they’ve transcended the ethnic food barrier and can be found in kitchens
all over the world. In fact, sweet and sour sauces are so versatile that
they compliment vegetarian, chicken and beef dishes equally well.
The "sweet" in sweet and sour sauce comes from either white or brown
sugar. As for the "sour," that taste is usually achieved by adding vinegar
or wine. The most authentic recipes usually call for either rice wine or
rice vinegar. Rice vinegar has a very subtle flavor and is made from
fermented rice and is sweeter than regular wine vinegar.
The following recipes are all variations on a theme and can be tweaked
with hot sauce or chili peppers to suit individual tastes. There is
absolutely nothing wrong with varying the quantities of sugar and/or
vinegar in any of your recipe to either increase or reduce the sweetness
of the sauce.
SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE #1 (pareve)
|1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 heaping tablespoons cornstarch
|2 tablespoons water
1 green pepper, cut into small squares
2 tablespoons canned pineapple chunks
In a saucepan combine the ketchup, sugar, water and
vinegar. Mix to combine and bring to a boil. Combine the water and corn
starch and then combine with the ketchup mixture. Stir constantly until
thickened. Add the green pepper and pineapple to the sauce. Stir to
combine and serve with chicken, beef or vegetables.
SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE #2 (pareve)
A quick and easy recipe that can be poured over a dish or used as a
|1/3 cup rice wine
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon ketchup
|1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 4 teaspoons water
In a small sauce pan mix together the vinegar, brown
sugar, ketchup, and soy sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil. In a small
bowl mix together the cornstarch and water, add to the other ingredients
and stir to thicken. Makes 2/3 cup. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.
RED LEAF LETTUCE WITH SWEET AND SOUR DRESSING (dairy)
A Note about
Cleaning Red Leaf Lettuce
Cut off lettuce base; soak lettuce in
cold water with several drops of concentrated non-scented liquid
detergent or vegetable wash; agitate leaves use a heavy stream of
water to remove all foreign matter and soap from leaf surface or use
a vegetable brush on both sides of the leaf; check several leaves
from different areas under direct light.
|1 bunch red leaf
1 cup frozen peas, thawed;
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
|1/2 cup toasted
1 cup white tuna, drained
In a bowl combine the lettuce, peas, cheese, almonds
and tuna. Toss with the Sweet-and-Sour Dressing just before serving.
Sweet-and-Sour Salad Dressing
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon diced onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Place the sugar, vinegar, onion, salts and pepper in a blender and pulse 2
to 3 times or until smooth. With the blender running, pour the oil through
food chute in a slow, steady stream and process until smooth.
SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN WITH RICE (meat)
|2 lbs. chicken,
skinned, boned & cut into pieces (cubes)
Garlic salt to taste
2 c. canned pineapple chunks, no sugar added, drained, reserve juice
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup catsup
1/2 teaspoon salt
|2 tablespoon brown
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 medium green pepper, cut into 1/4" strips
1 medium tomato, cut into wedges
2 cup cooked rice
In preheated non stick skillet or wok, brown chicken
and season with garlic salt. Remove chicken and set aside. In same skillet
combine reserved juice, vinegar, catsup, brown sugar, soy sauce, salt,
cornstarch and ginger. Cook over low heat until thicken, 10 to 15 minutes.
Add chicken, pepper, tomato and pineapple chunks. Continue to cook until
vegetables are tender crisp and heated through. Serve over hot rice. 4
EZ SWEET AND SOUR VEGETABLES (pareve)
|2 1/4 cups
(approximately) frozen Oriental vegetables
1/4 cup pineapple chunks (reserve the juice)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Mix together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
Heat the wok and add oil. When oil is ready, add the frozen vegetables.
Stir-fry until tender but not overcooked. Add pineapple chunks and sauce,
giving sauce a quick re-stir. Cook until thickened and serve hot. Serves 3
SWEET AND SOUR WONTONS (meat or pareve)
If you’re looking for a vegetarian version, you could just deep-fry the
wonton skins with out the meat filling.
|1/2 pound ground
chicken or turkey
1 package won ton wrappers
oil for frying
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
|3 tablespoons rice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Ketchup
4 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cornstarch (mix with 3 tablespoons water)
Place 1/2 teaspoon of ground chicken in each
wrapper, and scrunch together the edge to make it a fan shape. Deep fry
the wontons for a minutes of so until they're golden and crisp.
Drain the oil from the wontons. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok to
medium-high. Then add sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, and water. Mix
in the corn starch water to thicken the sauce. Serve the hot sauce with
the wontons. Make 36 wontons.
CREAMY SWEET AND SOUR DIP WITH VEGETABLES (dairy)
|1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon oriental sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
|1 tablespoon rice
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Assorted cut-up vegetables (such as carrots, red
bell peppers, sugar snap peas, and cucumbers)
Combine all dip ingredients in a glass bowl and whisk to blend. Season to
taste with salt and pepper. (This dip can be prepared 1 day ahead of time
and covered and refrigerated). Place the bowl with dip in center of
platter. Surround the dip with assorted vegetables and serve. Makes 1 cup.
This recipe can be doubled or tripled
SWEET AND SOUR RED PEPPER SAUCE (pareve)
A Note about
1. Soak herbs in cold water.
2. Add several drops of concentrated non-scented liquid detergent or
3. Agitate the herbs in the soapy water, in order to loosen the
sticking excretion of the bugs.
4. Using a heavy stream of water, thoroughly wash off the soap and
other foreign matter from the herbs.
5. Check both sides of each leaf under direct light.
6. If one or two insects are found, rewash the herbs.
7. If any insects are found after repeating the agitation process
twice, the entire bunch must be discarded.
Please note: To prepare herbs for use in soups, such as dill or
parsley, wash them thoroughly and place them in a cooking bag.
|2 roasted red bell
peppers, peeled and seeded (use fresh or jarred variety)
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
|2 tablespoons lemon
1/2 cup oil
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Hot sauce to taste, if desired
Place the roasted pepper, parsley garlic sugar and
lemon juice in a food processor or blender and process until blended. Keep
the processor blender going and slowly drizzle in the oil and mix until
well blended. Generously season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add hot
sauce to taste if desired. Mix well. Makes 2/3 cup. This recipe can be
doubled or tripled.
Eileen Goltz, a
professional chef and caterer, is the author of the new cookbook,
© Eileen Goltz 2004