Sweet and Sour Pompano Fish

It was a nondescript Sunday afternoon that promised to be routine as we quietly slip into the working week. Suddenly Ro-Ri San suggested that we visit the American Swedish Institute downtown as they are holding an exhibition on Nordic miniature carved figures. And since the Asian market was only a few blocks away, it made the excursion even more appealing.

During our visit at the Turnblad Mansion that houses the Institute and Swedish Consulate, we convinced ourselves that we have crossed the Atlantic to Scandinavia but that is a story for another day. A short minute’s drive away, we were at Nicolet Avenue lined with Asian restaurants and grocery stores. We went past the Malaysian restaurant, Peninsula but did not stop since it was 3:00pm and we already had lunch. We moved on to our regular grocery store.

I led the way with Ro-Ri San pushing the cart behind me. In no time our shopping cart was filled to the top with gailan, bok choy, chai sim, chives, hairy melon, lotus root, lengkuas, fresh turmeric, daun kesom, banana leaves, several varieties of tofu and noodles, mangoes, and kumquats. Also time to replenish some sauces and condiments. Alas, they ran out of pandan leaves. What a bummer! I’ll have to get it another time.

Last stop was the seafood counter. I picked up a pound of squid and a fish I have never tried before but looked very similar to my favorite pomfret. It was very reasonably priced and I gladly paid the additional quarter for it to be dressed. I was excited and can’t wait to get home.

Mom cooked this dish quite often when I was growing up. She used black pomfret as it has a stronger flavor and texture which lends itself well to being pan fried. The sweet and sour sauce helped mask the slightly “fishier” flavor. Although Pompano has a milder flavor, its texture was very similar to the black pomfret. Its flesh was mild and sweet and the dish turned out really tasty. I would definitely buy this fish again and would like to try steaming or using it in asam pedas or gulai tumis.

Sweet and Sour Pompano Fish
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 (1.5lb/675g) Pompano, dressed
  • ½ cucumber, julienned
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp Lingham’s hot sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp corn starch
  • ¼ cup (60ml) water
  1. Wash and pat dry fish. Cut two diagonal slits on each side of the fish. Lightly sprinkle salt in stomach cavity and both sides of fish.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a deep pan. Lower fish into pan and allow it to fry for 12 to 15 minutes on medium heat. Turn fish over and allow it to fry for another 12 to 15 minutes or until both sides of fish are golden brown and cooked through.
  3. Transfer fish to a plate. Sprinkle julienned cucumber over fish.
  4. Mix all sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
  5. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a small saucepan. Add onions and garlic and fry till fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in sauce and season with a little salt. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until sauce is thick and bubbly.
  6. Pour sauce over fish and serve immediately.

I am linking this to Friday Seafood Blog Hop hosted by the lovely Katherine Martinelli.

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 8)

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  1. says

    Haha! I have a bottle of Lingham’s in the fridge right now!! Never used it for sweet and sour dishes but there’s a thought 😉 I ate a lot of pomfret growing up too, usually in Chuan Chuan. I think this pompano is called golden pomfret here and it is quite pricey but lovely steamed if really fresh. Glad you enjoyed it :) I like your garnish of julienned cucumber. It gives the dish a more refined look than the usual cucumber chunks would. We should go grocery shopping together. Three carts might not suffice for the two of us LOL Oh my!

    • Biren says

      I normally used Maggi sweet chili sauce but Lingham’s was what I had on hand. I am glad I did as it turned out really well. Yes, I remember golden pomfret though it wasn’t as easily available as white or black pomfret. I regret not having bought more of this Pompano. Can’t wait to go back there to get some for steaming. I am just following Mom with the julienne cucumber but it is kinda nice as it is easily mixed with the sauce.

      My cart was piled up high. I think I will have no problems filling up another. You bet we need at least 3 carts between us and the hubbies to push them and pay up! 😀

  2. says

    For a moment, I thought this WAS pomfret you’re using here, and I was asking myself, “Not fair…how could you guys get pomfret in the States?!!! ” The pomfret is one of my favourite fish while growing up in M’sia. Love the blace pomfret (“O chio”when simply panfried and the white ones taste better when steamed. And the dish you have here is just YUM-YUM 😛

    • Biren says

      Yes, love steamed pak cheong. So tasty and delicious! I have seen frozen pomfret but they don’t look too good and so I never buy it. So glad to have found this Pompano. :)

    • Biren says

      The Swedish American Institute is awesome and so was the shopping downtown. Wonderful to have the pantry well stocked for a month or so. Love this fish and can’t wait to buy more soon.

  3. says

    Sounds like you had a great Sunday afternoon. This fish looks almost like what we call byeongeo”. I like your simple sauce preparation. Looks delicious!

    • Biren says

      Always so excited to get to try a new fish as the choices at the regular stores are pretty limited. Love this one!

  4. says

    I love Pampano and Im glad that we do have it here in STL as well. although i always had it with soy based sauce, now with your recipe it will give me a different option.

    have a good monday!

  5. says

    Pompano is a really great fish, although not one that is always in the markets. This looks like an exceptionally nice recipe – I love anything with hot sauce! And I’ll always pay the fish monger extra to dress my fish. Good post – thanks.

  6. says

    Wow, I am feeling excited just by you piling up your cart with all those Asian ingredients and vegetables! Your sweet and sour pompano is so home-fresh good too!

  7. says

    I always think that pompano is underrated because a lot of my friends who grew up in the States or Europe do not know this fish. On the other hand thank you for posting this recipe because I’ve have not done sweet and sour with pompano. I like to pan fry it like you did then cook then braise it with some chinese sour cabbage yum! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  8. says

    Nice and flavorful pompano fish with the sweet and sour sauce. Thanks for sharing this recipe as I am trying to add more fish to our table :)
    Hope you are having a great week Biren!

  9. says

    What a gorgeous presentation! I had a pompano and it wasn’t near as exciting as this one. That sauce would be perfect on many types of fish I would think. It’s all delicious!

  10. says

    It looks delicious, Biren!!! I love Pompano but have never seen it at any fish markets by us. Sounds like a great way to spend a Sunday! It is so chilly here now with lots of rain on the way, have a good evening!

  11. Jeannie says

    I seldom cook fish as it is very messy to clean up and the strong fish smell lingers. I have cooked this fish before although I don’t know the name until now lol! Looks like a great dish!Another weekend is round the corner, hope you have another good one!

  12. says

    I don’t think I’ve had Pompano fish before although I remember I saw it in the market before. I have never thought of eating sweet and sour sauce for fish! All I need a big bowl of rice. This looks really good Biren!

  13. says

    Whenever I go the seafood counter here, I see this flat fish (they call it ping yu平鱼 here) and I am always wondering how to cook it..until I came across your recipe! I love, love your website! There are so many easy recipes and I can’t wait to try them all!


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