Thursday, January 08, 2009

Sweet & Sour Sauce

Over the past year, I have discovered that the passion for cooking that runs in the veins of most of my family, surprisingly flows in mine too. I find the whole process extremely enjoyable, especially when it involves dishes off the typical home-cooking menu.

I follow in the footsteps of my mother, who believes that once you get the hang of cooking, you should feel free to experiment. She's the type of cook who feels that rigidly sticking to recipes and measurements takes all the fun out of cooking. Of course, if you're not careful, what should've been delicious can easily turn disastrous (as we've both found out!)

But nonetheless, experimenting with food is still real fun, and what I like best are dishes that are simple, scrumptious and can be tweaked to suit individual tastes. I had posted one such recipe earlier, and here's another one:

Sweet & Sour Sauce
Inspired by Kylie Kwong.

1/2 inch piece of ginger
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 piece of jaggery (or a tablespoon of brown sugar, white will also do)
1 chilli - deseeded if you don't want it too hot (red chillies are better visually)
2 tbsp chopped spring onions (regular ones could work too)
1 tbsp chopped coriander
1 tbsp soy sauces (either dark or light or ideally a mix of both: dark for colour & light for flavour) 1 tbsp vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp oil (olive, peanut or sesame preferably)
Dash of any other related sauces that you may have at home: eg - fish sauce, oyster sauce, Worcestershire sauce.
Stock (veg or non-veg) to increase quantity.
(I don't use salt because the soy and other sauces are salty enough; however this depends on your taste)

1. Mince the ginger, garlic, chilli and jaggery finely.
2. Mix all the ingredients together, except the oil.
3. Heat the oil separately and when hot (smoking hot according to Kylie Kwong, but not really necessary), pour over the sauce ..... it'll sizzle and crackle deliciously!

You can serve this sauce with steamed white meat or fish (chicken in the picture), or with momos or with pretty much anything you fancy. For a vegetarian version, simply omit the fish and oyster sauces.

What I love about this sauce is that you can't really go wrong making it. Just keep tasting as you go along till you get it the way you like. Also, these measurements aren't written in stone; you can easily add more or less of the ingredients according to your taste. You don't even need every one of them: the essentials are jaggery for the sweetness and soy for the saltiness, and ginger and garlic. The rest of what goes in is limited only by your imagination!


  1. I agree on the experiments...will try the recipe this weekend. The recipe reminds me...I went to the market today and forgot to get jaggery :(

    Will try and let you know. :)

  2. ooooo..yum yum yum..and what perfect timing. I am going to steal this recipe for a late new year dinner at my place. You're invited :).

    PS: I was clicking on your past when the update still showed '1 week' and by the time the page loaded it was 'few mins' :). what timing eh! :D

  3. yummm....sounds good...will try it out soon and let you know the results!

  4. Anonymous9:53 PM

    I just LOVE sweet & sour sauce. I usually buy it at the ethnic section of the local supermarket but now I am going to try your recipe.

    I was in Bangalore for a few days and got some serious shopping done on Brigadier road :-))) My goodness, what a busy and lively city! And the new airport is great.

  5. love your cooking streak, so rare today:)

  6. Smriti - you can substitute sugar for jaggery. Try it out both ways to see which you like better :)

    A - thank you!!! I accept the invite, now all I have to do is get my visa for the US ;D

    Deeplydip - definitely let me know!

    Agnes - yes plz do try making it instead of using the store-bought one. I made it for some guests and they were bowled over.....said its exactly like a sauce they had a restaurant!

    Renu - thank you!!! But I don't think its all that rare coz look at the comments here! Also, I think most girls today only start thinking about cooking when they're on their own (which is what I did too! :D) And the interest in cooking comes in slowly once you get the hang of it.

  7. Sounds good & I almost can smell it;-o.
    Brings back memories of my experiments in the first couple of yrs after its mostly chor, more, thoran, traditional red fish curry, etc.
    For more fancy food we go out....but I do experiment a bit when it comes to baking.
    If u have any good cake recipes, give it to me.

  8. hello Shalom! where r u? cant see u here nether on mine, nor here?
    busy somewhere?

  9. I came here to find out where u r & Renu's asked the same question???? Where do u keep disappearing off to:-S????....... atleast keep us posted:-P.

  10. hey shalom where are you? haven't seen a new post for a while now...

  11. Anonymous8:37 AM

    I will, for sure ;-)

    When you buy it in a bottle, you're just never sure what's in it.... and how old it really is, LOL

    P.S.: I have moved my site. I am now at

  12. wow, looks yumm and more importanty doable:) must try on my net experimenting sesion and tell u how it turned out to be, thanks for sharing!

  13. havent seen you around in a long time.....hope all's fine, shalom!

  14. Reflections - red fish curry! That's one thing I have not yet gotten the hang of. And I love to bake too, so will surely try & share some recipes :)

    Renu, Reflections & DD - thank you so much for asking about me, that was really sweet. So I'm sorry that it took so long to put up a post, just didn't get the time in between.

    Agnes - yeah, we check the salt content in the bottled stuff too, coz most of those things have loads of chemicals that are really bad for you. Will check out the new site asap :)

    ISH - yup, its definitely doable, and in minutes!!!

    Moi - thanks for asking girl, and yes, all is well with me :)