Sweet-and-sour sauce is a primary staple when it comes to Chinese dishes. This sauce is exactly as its name states; delectably sweet with a kick of sour. Sweet-and-sour sauce is typically used as a dipping sauce for everything from wontons, egg rolls and even the more Americanized fast food chicken nuggets. However, Sweet-and-sour sauce is so much more than a mere dipping sauce. Sweet and sour sauce can be used for a variety of things like stir-frying vegetables in a wok, as well as a delicious coating to make sweet and sour beef, chicken, pork and other classic Chinese dishes.
Now, as you may already know, Chinese takeout is not the healthiest option when it comes to a quick meal unless you stick to the steamed vegetables with no seasoning or dipping sauce (no thank you).
On the other hand, it’s so darn good and hard to resist. As long as you’re not living off take out day in and day out, you should be alright. There are ways of avoiding take out. If you are kitchen savvy you may be able to whip up some Chinese dishes at home and the next time you do, don’t forget to try one of these 3 Chinese sweet and sour sauce recipes to complete the meal:
Traditional Sweet and Sour Sauce
This traditional sweet and sour sauce recipe will taste just like the restaurant version and doesn’t involve placing an order. Use it to coat fried meat like pork, shrimp, beef or chicken to create an amazing sweet and sour dish. Or dip some homemade egg rolls in and enjoy! This recipe makes about one cup of sauce and can easily be doubled or tripled. Keep the sauce refrigerated, in an airtight container, for up to seven days (if you have any leftovers, that is).
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar (light or dark will work)
- 2/3 cup pineapple juice
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- In a small bowl, make a cornstarch slurry by whisking the water and cornstarch together. Set aside.
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, mix together the pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and ketchup. Bring this mixture to a boil. Make sure you set your stove to medium heat. Any less and it won’t boil; anymore and you may scorch it.
- Once the mixture begins to boil, add in the cornstarch slurry that you set aside earlier. Stir constantly for about one to two minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
- Remove from heat and use according to your recipe or for dipping.
Healthy Sweet and Sour Sauce
Just because it’s associated with Chinese takeout, this healthy sweet and sour sauce recipe will fit into your diet without adding points (or guilt) and uses natural ingredients.
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons organic cane sugar or coconut sugar
- 1/4 of a large pineapple (chopped into chunks)
- 2 teaspoons arrowroot
- 1/3 cup natural tomato ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Tamari (soy sauce will also work)
- 1 small clove of fresh garlic
- 3 tablespoons water
- Place all the above ingredients in your blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat over medium heat, until warm. Make sure to continuously stir in order to avoid scorching the sauce.
- Remove from heat and serve immediately as a dipping sauce or toss some battered, fried chicken in for a healthy version of sweet and sour chicken.
Paleo Approved Sweet and Sour Sauce
If the previous recipe wasn’t healthy enough for you or you are on a strict Paleo diet, this recipe is the one you are looking for! In under thirty minutes, you will have a Paleo approved dipping sauce that will go great with any meal. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week.
- 1 large onion (finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon diced coconut oil
- 3 cloves of diced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple in juice
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 dates
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos (a liquid made from coconut blossoms)
- In a medium saucepan, add coconut oil and onion. Cook for about five minutes, or until onion is tender.
- Add the salt, garlic, pepper, pineapple, tomato paste, coconut aminos, water, and dates. Allow the mixture to cook for about ten minutes, making sure to incorporate all the ingredients fully.
- Once your mixture has cooked, remove it from the heat. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until you reach the desired consistency. If you like a thicker, chunky sauce don’t over blend it. However, if you need to add more water, do so to create a thinner sauce.
- Once the correct consistency is reached, place the sauce back on the heat for another five or six minutes. Make sure to stir constantly, so the sauce won’t scorch or stick. Keep your sweet and sour sauce in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to a week.