DIY Sweet ‘n’ Sour Sauce in under 5 minutes

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Chinese Cooking Basics

diy sweet and sour sauce

Sweet and sour sauce is a traditional sauce dating back a few hundred years in China, but the sauce we all know and love today isn’t the same as the original.

Chinese immigrants trying their luck in striking gold in America had to change the ingredients to what was available. 

And that meant replacing fish sauce with ketchup and vinegar. 

Fast forward to the boom of Chinese takeaway restaurants, and you find the sauce changes again to include syrup and red food coloring. 

Today, we’re going to skip the corn syrup and food colouring, and make a super easy sweet and sour sauce you can whip up in under 5 minutes. Pop it on your chicken, pork, fish, prawns, use it as a dip for your fries. Honestly one of the most appetising and versatile sauces to have in your cooking repertoire.

Sweet and Sour Sauce



  • 3 tablespoons of ketchup of tomato sauce (find a brand that’s more tangy than sweet)
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons of rice vinegar OR white vinegar if you dont have rice vinegar at home
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 2-3 tablespoons of water


1. Grab a bowl and add EVERYTHING BUT the corn starch and water. Mix it up and set aside.

2. Grab another bowl and mix your corn starch and water until you have a thickish mixture. We’ll be using that to thicken the sauce up later. 

3. Grab your wok or pan and heat up a little oil on high heat- just enough so the sugar in the sauce doesn’t instantly burn and stick. 

4. Pour your sauce mix into the wok and keep it moving. Then add in your corn starch slurry once you see small bubbles appearing. Mix well.

5. At this point, you would want to add in your already cooked meat or vegetables and give it a good toss and stir fry before plating up. However if you’re using it as a dipping sauce then you can pour it directly into your dipping bowl once your sauce is mixed well and thickens slightly.

Janice Fung

Janice Fung

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