Sweet and Sour Fish

One thing that frustrates me in this whole food blogging is the photo-taking process. If cooking is all that is involved in food blogging, I would have far more recipes on the site already. The thing is, I have only recently learned about composition, aperture, white balance and all that techie photography mumbo jumbo and a huge chunk of my old recipe photos, uhmmm, for a lack of better word, suck. As I slowly improve my craft, I have been re-shooting these photos to make them look palatable at best. This effort takes me away from posting fresh content on a more regular basis and has been costly in both time and money. I have twenty more recipes I need to re-shoot to my satisfaction and in the meantime, I have to work smarter and plan my task list well to minimize waste. Case in point: I made sweet and sour sauce a few days ago. I used some of the sauce as props for my cheese sticks pictures and the whole lot for my how to make sweet and sour sauce post the following day. This afternoon, I re-did photos of my tilapia with black bean garlic sauce using only two fish fillets from the pack of six and prepared the remaining four as sweet and sour fish so I can use up the sauce. Cool.

Filipino sweet and sour traditionally uses whole fried fish and is much like the escabecheng lapu-lapu we have in the archive. I, however, have grown to love the Chinese take out versions here in the U.S. wherein bite-sized fish fillets are battered, fried and then doused with sauce. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Sweet and Sour Sauce Fish
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 5 mins
Author: Lalaine Manalo
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4 4 ounces each tilapia fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg well beaten
1/2 small yellow bell pepper cut into cubes
1/2 small red bell pepper cut into cubes
1 small onion peeled and sliced thinly
1 cup pineapple juice
½ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup ketchup
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
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In a bowl, combine fish and soy sauce. Marinate for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Drain well.
In a bowl, place egg. In another bowl, combine flour and salt and pepper to taste. Individually dredge fish in flour, dip in the beaten egg and then dredge again with flour to fully coat.
In a pan over medium heat, heat about 1-inch deep of oil. Add battered fish fillets and cook, turning once or twice, until golden and cooked through. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
In a bowl, combine pineapple juice, vinegar, ketchup, sugar and salt. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add cornstarch and stir until well dispersed. Set aside.
In a pan over medium heat, heat about 1 tablespoon oil. Add bell peppers and onions and cook, stirring regularly, until half cooked. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the pan, add liquid mixture and bring to a boil, whisking regularly, for about 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened.
Add bell peppers and onions and cook for about 1 minute or until tender yet crisp. Add fried fish fillets and cook, tossing gently, for about 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through and coated with sauce. Serve hot.

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