Fukien Crispy Sweet and Sour Fish (Paleo, Gluten Free)

Fukien Crispy Sweet and Sour Fish (Paleo, Gluten Free)

EDIT: I had a laugh when a reader remarked that “Fukien” may come out sounding rude so in case you are interested and didn’t know, it’s pronounced “Foo-Key-Anne” 🙂

My Sweet and Sour Chicken is always a hit with the family from my husband down to the pickiest of kids. The main components of that sauce are ketchup, white vinegar and honey. It is typical of what you would find in a Cantonese restaurant or home kitchen.

The Cantonese were not the only people to make sweet and sour sauce in China and the following recipe takes a foundation from the Fukien province. It does not require ketchup but instead uses a combination of honey, vinegar and coconut aminos to get that sweet and tangy winning combo.

Sweet and Sour Fish

We start slices of white fish and sprinkle with a bit of salt. I used tilapia but this will work just as well with something like snapper.

fish slices

Prepare the fish batter with an egg, a bit of water and some tapioca flour.

Fish batter

Coat your fish in the batter.

Fish in batter

Then in olive oil or expeller-pressed coconut oil, fry the fish for 2 minutes, turning once.

Fry your fish

Drain your fish pieces over paper towels. You will then want to return them to the pan to fry again quickly for 1 minute.

fried fish

While the fish is frying, you can mix together the sweet and sour sauce in a separate bowl.

sweet and sour

Drain all the oil from the pan except for 2 TBSP and fry up some ginger and garlic.

ginger and garlic

Add the sauce and stir until it is nice and thick.

sauce cooking

Return the fish to the pan and stir until all the pieces are coated in sauce. Serve and enjoy!

Fish in pan

You’ll Need:

  • 1 lb of white fish meat like tilapia or snapper – cut into slices
  • 1/2 TBSP garlic, minced
  • 1/2 TBSP ginger, minced
  • enough oil to cover bottom of pan (olive oil or expeller-pressed coconut oil)
  • Batter: 3 TBSP cold water, 1 egg, 8 TBSP tapioca flour


  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 TBSP vinegar
  • 5 TBSP water
  • 1 TBSP coconut aminos
  • 1 TBSP sherry
  • 1 tsp tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Sprinkle a bit of salt on the fish pieces and set aside
  2. Combine sauce ingredients and set aside
  3. Whisk together batter ingredients until it is a thin paste like pancake batter
  4. Mix fish pieces into the batter until well coated
  5. Heat oil in a large pan and fry fish pieces in the pan for 2 minutes, turning once
  6. Drain fish over paper towels and return them to the pan to fry again for 1 minute
  7. Remove fish from pan and drain oil except for 2 TBSP
  8. Fry ginger and garlic quickly. Add the sauce and heat until it is thick and bubbly
  9. Return fish to the pan and stir until all the pieces are coated in sauce



  1. Dan MacDuff says

    Wonderful site! However, I chased links all over trying to find the actual recipe for sugar-free sweet and sour sauce, for chicken etc. I am diabetic, so “sugar-free” is a green flag for me. Also, did you know that, unless a person actually has celiac disease, their sensitivity to gluten depends entirely on whether or not they know that their food contains gluten. Many, many (rather sneaky) experiments have demonstrated this consistently. Oh well. It’s always an adventure going through life with a human brain in a world filled with urban legends. Any way, I would love to know how to make a Chinese sweet and sour sauce. Anyone? Thanks, Dan MacDuff