Monday 20 July 2015

Restaurant Style Sweet and Sour Sauce 餐厅风味糖醋酱

Garnishing not included in recipe

Sweet and sour pork is ever popular in Chinese restaurants. Have you that urge to recreate it at home? Have you ever wondered why those in restaurants tasted different? Is it the use of msg (monosodium glutamate)? Well, I have with me here a restaurant-style sweet and sour sauce recipe that is absolutely to-die-for. No msg and extremely easy to make. All in one package!

Before I go further, let me credit this recipe to my hubby. He is a Chinese chef that has been working for a number of years in Chinese restaurants. This recipe is tried and tested. Of course, the ever meddling cook in me adapted this a bit to suit home cooking. I significantly reduced the quantity (in restaurants they do in big big bulk fit for a lorry load). Then I significantly reduced the use of chilli sauce in the recipe as I am feeding young toddlers. I also omitted the use of red colouring. All these makes little changes to the taste but significant improvements for home cooking. The sauce has been tested on young children and adults alike. Tested and approved. Tanpa was-was (without worry).

Garnishing not included in recipe

What I find surprising about this recipe is that it uses no monosodium glutamate (msg), even in the original recipe. However, as there are many types of sauces in making this, there is no running away from preservatives.

I know most home cooks would prefer to make sweet and sour sauce spontaneous but I just find it so convenient to scoop the ever-ready sauce whenever needed, be it cooking a dish of fish, pork or chicken. If you think the use of this sauce only ends at sweet and sour dishes, you are in for a surprise. This sauce can also be used to make chilli crab and it tasted absolutely delish!

Serving Suggestions:

Sweet and sour pork
Sweet and sour chicken
Chilli prawns

Restaurant Style Sweet and Sour Sauce 餐厅风味糖醋酱

Yields a 14 fl oz jar of sauce


1.5 kg water
750 g tomato sauce
80 g chilli sauce (optional)
150 g plum sauce (honey-coloured)
150 g vinegar
450 g sugar
1 tsp salt
150 g orange concentrate (I used Sunquick)
2 lemongrass (whites only)

Cooking Instruction

1. If you have a pot that indicates volume, use it. Weight all ingredients and dump it into the pot.

Before reduction
After reduction

2. Bring to boil while stirring until sugar dissolves. Then lower heat to simmer. Simmer until liquid is 1/3 of the original. If you have a measurement pot, just refer to the lines. If you don't you could do a rough estimate and taste the sauce to see if it is ready. It should be slightly thickened. Alternatively, you could weigh volume inside the pot and then weight again when you have removed from fire.

3. Remove sauce when it is done and set aside to cool. Once completely cooled, store in a covered container. When needed, just heat up the right amount of sauce, together with blanched vegetables (normally green pepper, big onion, tomato, chilli and pineapple), cooked meat (normally pre-fried) and a little tapioca starch and you have your favourite sweet and sour dish.

1. This sauce can be kept for a very long time without refrigeration. I have kept it for 2 to 3 months before and it is still fine. Remember to use a clean dry spoon whenever you want to scoop the sauce.

2. There are two types of plum sauce in the market. Use the one that is honey coloured (and not yellowish) in order for your sauce to taste better.

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