Sweet and Sour Halibut

28 Jan

Sweet & Sour FishI’ve had this recipe in my collection for almost 40 years, and finally — finally! — had a the time to make it and all the ingredients on hand, sort of.

I didn’t have halibut, so I used mahi-mahi, which worked fine. I didn’t have apricot nectar so I used pineapple juice. In fact, you will get about the right amount of juice by draining a can of pineapple chunks.

My dad is the one who gave me this recipe. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he made several business trips abroad. On one United Airlines flight, maybe to Japan, he was served this dish, and they distributed the recipe to the passengers, printed on a sheet of nice, heavy paper. Those sure were the good old days of air travel – I bet he wasn’t even in Business Class!

The dish is kind of a bother to make, so I waited until I had company — my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter were visiting. (Of course my granddaughter’s immediate 3-year-old reaction, before even tasting it, was “I don’t like it!”) The dish was a hit! My daughter said it tasted like the sweet-and-sour fish we used to order in Chinese restaurants when she was a child.

A couple of hints: This recipe makes an enormous amount of sauce. You can easily halve it, or make it and save half the sauce to use another time, which is what I did. And I don’t have a deep-fryer, so I used a wok to cook the fish. I fried it in small batches, drained the fried cubes on paper towel and kept them warm till I was ready to serve.

Ingredients:

1 cup white vinegar
1 cup apricot nectar or pineapple juice
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ cup ketchup
2 tsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 tsp. water
2 cups pineapple chunks (1 can), drained
1 cup green or red pepper, cut in 1-inch pieces
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and cut into eighths
1½ lb. halibut (or other firm, white fish), cut into ¾-inch cubes
3 Tbs. cornstarch
3 Tbs. water
1 Tbs. soy sauce
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying

Directions:

Prepare the sauce by combining the vinegar, apricot nectar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup in a medium saucepan. Simmer 30 minutes. Thicken with 2 tsp. cornstarch blended with 1 tsp. water. Add the pineapple, pepper and tomatoes. Keep warm.

Mix 3 Tbs. cornstarch, 3 Tbs. water and the soy sauce to a paste. Dip the halibut cubes into this batter to coat lightly and deep fry in a wok or saucepan. Drain and place in a serving dish. Pour the sauce over.

Serve with rice.

Serves 6

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