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Vanessa’s sweet and sour sauce

Sadly the only sweet and sour I have really experienced is the Chinese takeaway variety, you know the one, the bright orange one served with spring rolls and deep fried fish or chicken. The times I have made it myself I have used sweet chilli sauce, pineapple juice and soy sauce. I have never used cornflour to thicken, preferring to reduce it to get the right consistency. I  just add a bit of this, taste and add a bit of that and have been pretty happy with the results. The great thing about this recipe  though is you will have everything in your cupboards already – there are no exotic or even Asian ingredients in it! My son loves dumplings. I always have the frozen ones on hand. I try to cook them in the pan to get the crispy bottoms (pot stickers) but they always stick too much and fall apart. I think the problem is not having a non-stick pan – well that’s what I am telling myself anyway! I either boil/steam them or oven bake them – both work, boiling and steaming gives a soft wet dumpling whilst the oven gives a crispy one. One day, when I have heaps of time, I will try making my own – it will probably be when the kids leave home!!!

Vanessa’s Sweet n Sour
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: 1 cup

What you need
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 clove grushed garlic
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons cornflour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¾ cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • salt and pepper

How to make
  1. Heat oil in the saucepan.
  2. Add garlic and onion.
  3. Cook until onion is clear.
  4. Combine the tomato sauce with the cornflour.
  5. Stir into the onion mixture.
  6. Add sugar and gradually stir int he stock.
  7. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly.
  8. Remove from the heat.
  9. Add vinegar.
  10. Season with salt and pepper.

Notes + adaptations

Taste, taste, taste – I thought it needed more vinegar to get the sour taste so I doubled the amount AND added a squeeze of lime juice. I also added fish sauce rather than salt firstly because I love the depth and taste of the stuff and secondly I wanted it to taste more authentic. I used brown sugar, red onions and cider vinegar because thats what I had at home! Kids can be fussy with the bits in sauces like onions. You could always strain the sauce for fussy munchkins or husbands!

Comments (2)


2 Responses

  1. Genie says:

    Nice recipe! I’ve never considered making sweet and sour sauce at home, but I make dumplings at home all the time, with store bought wrappers. A Non-stick pan helps for sure, as does hot oil.

    I heat oil in a pan until it is hot and then put all the dumplings down on their bums in a single layer. Fry until the bottoms are golden and then add 1/2 cup of water and cover for about 5 minutes until all the water has been absorbed by the dumplings. Remove lid and continue frying until dumplings are dry and crisp. Give the pan a shake and flip onto a serving dish. Best thing is, you can start eating the first batch while the second batch is cooking 🙂

  2. Hi Genie, its an interesting sauce – the best bit being you will have all the things in your pantry! Like I said in the notes, I played around getting the balance of flavours so its how I like it but its totally passable and pretty easy to make! I should really make my own dumplings, I am not 100% sure what flavour enhancers are in the ones I buy but the funny thing is, often My oldest son doesnt even eat the insides!!! Maybe I could get away with just the wrappers LOL Vanessa

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