Monday, 10 September 2012

Back-to-Basics : Post #3 - Easy Sweet and Sour Fish and Stir Fry Spinach with Goji Berries

Good morning! It's the start of a new week.  I had a good restful weekend and am looking forward to testing some new recipes this week :).  I hope you have had an enjoyable weekend too.  

Today's double recipe post comprised of an easy Sweet and Sour Fish Fillet dish, and a nutritious Stir Fry Spinach with Goji Berries.

Now i doubt if there are many of us who doesn't like the popular Sweet and Sour Pork dish that is commonly available at many Chinese restaurants.  This perennial favourite unfortunately, uses lard as a base oil and the meat is deep fried.  If the dish is cooked properly, you get a lovely serving of appetizing sweet and sour flavours, with generous chunks of meat coated in a light batter.

However, i have had on many occassions tasted half cooked, puny pieces of pork encased in a heavy, gummy, rubbery batter.  Urgh!

This home-cooked version is more healthy, using fish fillet.  I also did away with the deep frying, instead tossing it in a light cornflour coating. 

Stir Fry Spinach with Goji Berries is a favourite in my family.  It is easy to cook, cheap!, yummy and packed with nutrition - spinach being rich in iron and folate, whilst goji berries is one of the superfoods for maintaining healthy eyes.  In one of my previous post, I cooked this as a broth - see here . 

Sweet and Sour Fish Fillet
  • 1 piece of fish fillet, about 300g
  • 2 medium size tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium size onion, sliced
  • 2 pip garlic, chopped
  • 5 slices of ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp cornflour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tspn sesame oil
  • 1 tbspn oil

For the Sauce
  • 2 tbspn tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbspn water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar
  • Dash of soy sauce and pepper


1. Rinse the fish fillet and pat dry.  Cut into bite size pieces.  Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl.

2. Marinade the fish pieces with the cornflour, salt, pepper and sesame oil. Set aside for 10 min.

3. Heat the oil and fry the ginger slices until fragrant.  Add the fish pieces and toss on high heat until just cooked.  Remove and set aside.

4. Heat up some oil and fry the onion and garlic for about 2 minutes.  While the onion is still crunchy, add in the tomatoes and the sauce.  Stir and bring the gravy to a boil.  Add in the fish pieces and coat evenly.  Serve with steam rice. 

Stir Fry Spinach with Goji Berries

  • 250g of fresh baby spinach, cut into 3 inch length, rinsed and discard any wilted leaves
  • 1/2 tblsp goji berries, rinsed
  • 2 pips of garlic, minced
  • 2 slices of garlic, slivered
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp chicken stock powder
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

1.  Heat both the oil and fry the garlic and ginger until fragrant.

2.  Toss in the spinach and fry on high heat until just wilted.

3.  If the veg is dry, add about 1 tblsp of water, and add the chicken stock powder.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Add the goji berries and toss for another 2-3 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Tip : If you have never try stir frying your veg with goji berries, i encourage you to try with this dish. The mellowness of the spinach (the greeny taste is not as strong) goes well with the slight sweetness of the goji berries.  However, take care not to overcook the berries.  Just add into the stir fry and toss for no more than 3 minutes and serve.  Goji berries will turn sour and tart if overcooked. 


  1. Esther, my stomach is growling right now, looking at your gorgeous photos!

  2. Very nice, Esther. I like it that the fish isn't deep fried. Agree with you that most of the time the sweet and sour pork is not worth ordering. I also like to put goji berries into soups. Will try with stir fried spinach soon. I did not know that goji berries become sour when overcooked. Thanks for the info.

  3. My kids would love you for these dishes...yum.

    1. Thanks Jen, i make it a point to cook kid friendly dishes so that my son can also eat. It is nice to eat the same food as a family :)

  4. I need to get on the goji berry train!

  5. hi esther, who doesnt love sweet and sour..hmm..not me! i also add gojiberries to my spinach at times but usually i soak them in water for about few minutes prior to cook. Good back to basics dishes, yum!

  6. Replies
    1. Most white fish would be fine, eg. threadfin, snapper, whiting, dory, cod. But not the stronger fish such as salmon.

  7. both these dishes just remind me of home. I'm finally back home in sg for the summer and am spoilt silly by my mum's cooking. Have to go request this sweet and sour fish now!!

    1. Hi Shu Han, thanks for dropping by. Yeah, homey dishes are precisely that, we grew up eating them :) btw, i checked out your bog, love it! The photos are beautiful, full of nuances and moody lighting, very befitting an art student :)

  8. My kids actually love to eat goji berries as a snack... jus pop them in their mouth.. better than sweets, I say! Hehe.

    1. Wow, that's great! Not easy to get kids to eat healthy snacks these days, wat more superfoods heehee. They won't be four eye kids then! If only i can get my son to eat that...sigh. :p

  9. Hi Esther, thanks for dropping by my blog. Love yr dishes :) Very colorful and looks appetizing..

  10. yummy looking dishes! sweet sour fish sure does make a better and healthier substitute to the deep fried better loaded sweet sour pork :P

  11. Hi,

    Can use ang ko li fish ?

    Or u have any good recipe for ang ko li ?

    Thanks & best regards

    1. Hi Ling, ang ko li is sea bream, which is a white fish. So yes you can use it for this recipe. Another recipe to try using sea bream is here

  12. Hi great! Tried your blackpromfret recipe. Everyone likes it. Thanks ya.


  13. Hi Ling, that's great, so glad to hear that. Thanks for giving me feedback on that. It encourages me to keep trying new recipes and posting about them. Hope you get the chance to try many other recipes here.

  14. Hi,

    I tried sweet n sour fish as well... turns out great too!

    As I'm a working mum... I have been trying to search for a simple and yet easy recipe to serve my family a fulfilling dinner, who doesnt like "tapao" food.

    Thanks for all your fuss free recipes...


  15. Great, glad your family liked it! Really appreciate you getting back to me about how the recipes have turned out and asking for clarification on certain things. Pease don't hesitate to let me know if there are any recipes that did not work out so we can troubleshoot and see where things might have gone wrong. Thanks and have a great weekend :)


Feel free to leave your comments here. If you are not a blogger, just select profile and choose "Name/URL", fill in your name and leave the URL blank. Thanks and hope you enjoy the postings here, or better still, get to try some new recipes from here. Cheers!