whole fish on a plate with text overlay "Pan Fried Sweet and Sour Fish"

Sweet and Sour Whole Fish

Pan Fried Sweet and Sour Whole Fish is a simple way to prepare white fish such as tilapia, sea bass or cod. Perfect for Chinese New Year, Meatless Monday or Lenten Fridays.


Fish Ingredients:

  • 1 whole fish dressed (tilapia, sea bass or rock code)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch approximately
  • Vegetable oil

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water


  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 or 3 carrots cut in 1/4 inch slivers
  • 2 green onions cut in 1 inch pieces


  1. Make 3-4 cuts on each side of the fish, about an inch a part. Make sure to reach the bone. Rub the fish all over and into the cuts with rice vinegar and salt. Now, dip the fish into the beaten eggs and then rub with cornstarch to cover. Let stand for a few minutes.
  2. Heat a large frying pan with a few tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Make sure the pan is wide enough to fit your fish. Once it’s heated, cook fish for about 6 minutes per side, ensuring it’s cooked all the way through.

  3. While the fish is cooking, combine all of the sauce ingredients, except cornstarch mixture, in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once it comes to a boil, add the cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened. Remove from heat.

  4. Remove the fish and set on a serving plate once it’s done. 

  5. Stir fry the ginger, carrots and onion for about a minute or so, until tender. Top the fish with sauce and vegetables and serve.