Making It Yourself – Sweet & Sour Sauce

This is part of a semi-regular series of posts tackling how to make some of the things that we often end up buying pre-made.  Things that we think of as basic ingredients, that aren’t ‘ingredients’ at all but are actually processed in some way for us.  Things like bread, jam, butter, ketchup, baked beans and pickled ginger. Not everything is cheaper to make than buy, yet when you make it yourself, you know what’s in it.

sweet and sour 2

I swithered about whether to include this in the ‘Making It Yourself’ series as I made the sweet and sour sauce the easy way, using ketchup – I’ve been meaning to try making it totally from scratch but decided to make it on an impulse when I was a bit rushed.  I know using ready made ketchup kind of violates the spirit of this series but I wanted to show just how easy it is to make your own stirfry sauces in minutes.

So I hope you’ll forgive me for cheating – the sauce is tasty and really easy to mix up, so hopefully that counts for something?!  I promise I’ll try making it without the ketchup and will report back when done.

I used the sauce with stirfried tofu, veg and noodles, but you could use chicken, cashew nuts or whatever you want.  As a side note, I used the half a block of tofu I’d stuck in the freezer a couple of weeks ago, and it turns out that freezing then defrosting really improves the texture of tofu, making it much ‘meatier’ and chewier.  It also seemed to soak up the sauce really well.  Definitely recommended.

sweet and sour

Sweet and Sour Sauce (serves 2)

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp vinegar (I used cider vinegar, but most kinds will work fine)
  • 6 tbsp ketchup
  • 1/3 tin pineapple chunks, drained
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1-2 tsp soy sauce, to taste

This could not be easier.  Mix all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, heat gently and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes, until well combined.  Taste and adjust depending on what you like (e.g. if it’s too sweet, add more vinegar; not salty enough, add more soy).

Cook your stirfry ingredients as usual (adding meat, nuts, tofu, veg, noodles or rice as preferred – I used 1/2 block tofu, bag of value stir fry mix and fine egg noodles) and dress with the sauce.


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