Main Navigation Bar

Tag Archives | sweet and sour

Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs (Suon Xao Chua Ngot)

Tender Pork Spare Ribs in a Sweet and Sour Sauce--this dish is amazingly good and so simple to make!

This dish of pork spare ribs cooked with a zesty sweet and sour sauce, bell peppers and sweet onions is a wonderfully comforting and satisfying.  It’s easy to make and you can serve this delicious stir-fry over rice for a simple meal or pair with a hearty soup for a truly belly-warming Vietnamese meal.  Enjoy!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

The best type of ribs for this recipe is the pork rib tips–meaty sections attached to the lower end of the spare ribs.  These ribs are more cartilage than bone and the meat is nice and tender.  If you can only get the spare ribs, these are fine too.

Purchase ribs that are cross cut or ask your butcher to cut for you.  If all you can find is a rack of ribs, just chop them into smaller sections using a meat cleaver.

I am pretty thorough about preparing the ribs and wash them with salt and then parboil to remove the blood and marrow.  These steps help to reduce the smell that is common with pork bones.  If you don’t mind the porky “aroma” or looking to save some time, you can skip these steps.

If you would like more of a sauce for dipping or drizzling over rice, skip the corn starch and add 1/2 cup water to the sweet and sour sauce.

Watch the video below for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Asian-Style Beef Short Ribs (Suon Nuong) and Beef Shank and Pickled Mustard Greens Soup (Canh Dua Cai Chua Bap Bo).


1 1/2 lb pork rib tips or spare ribs
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 tsp thick soy sauce
1 1/2 cups coconut water
1/2 medium sweet onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 yellow bell pepper
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp tomato paste
6 oz pineapple orange juice
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 Tbsp corn starch
1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
1/8 tsp ground black pepper


Place the ribs into a large bowl and sprinkle with 2 tsp salt.  Rub the salt onto the meat.  Rinse the ribs with cool water washing off the salt.

Trim off any visible fat and then cut the ribs into 2-inch sections.  Place the meat into a large pot along with 1 tsp salt.  Fill the pot with water covering the ribs completely.

Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil over High Heat.  Reduce the heat to Low.  Skim off the foam and discard.  Cook on Low for 5 minutes.

Transfer the ribs into a colander and rinse with cool water.  Return the ribs to a clean pot.  Add the thick soy sauce and mix well.  Add the coconut water and just enough water to cover the ribs.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil over High Heat.  Reduce the heat to Low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the meat is tender.

Mince the garlic.  Cut the bell peppers and onions into chunks.

In a measuring cup, combine the pineapple orange juice, rice vinegar, sugar, and corn starch.

Heat a large wok over Medium High heat and add 1 tsp vegetable oil.  Add half of the minced garlic and stir-fry for 10 seconds.  Add the vegetables and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes or until they just start to soften.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside for now.

Adjust the heat to Medium.  Add 1 tsp vegetable oil, the remaining minced garlic and the tomato paste.  Stir-fry for 15 seconds.  Stir the juice mixture and pour into the wok.  Mix together.  Add the ribs and toss with the sauce, cooking for 2 minutes.  Add the vegetables and fish sauce and stir-fry for another 2 minutes.  Top with freshly ground black pepper.

Garnish with chopped green onions and toasted sesame seeds.  Serve while hot!

Yields:  4 servings

Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

Sweet and Sour Pork Spare Ribs | recipe from

*This post contains affiliate links.*

Continue Reading

Sweet and Sour Tofu Stir-Fry (Dau Hu Xao Sot Chua Ngot)

Most of my favorite dishes are sans meat and given the choice, I will pick a meat-free dish the majority of the time.  And so, I am always looking for delicious and easy to make vegetarian dishes.  My love of veggies and stir-frying makes this Sweet and Sour Tofu Stir-Fry one of my go-to dishes.

I had to think long and hard about this recipe because every time I make this dish it’s different.  I vary the veggies based on what I have in my refrigerator and when I stir fry, anything and everything goes!  This dish is probably more aptly named ‘Clean Out the Fridge Stir-Fry’…lol.  So, feel free to use whatever veggies you like.  If you want to save on the prep time, use frozen veggies or the packaged vegetable medleys.

The sweet and sour sauce is what pulls this dish together.  We use pineapple chunks and the juice to make it deliciously sweet.  You may be thinking adding pineapples to a stir-fry is “different”.   Well, I can’t wait until you try it! 🙂  Enjoy!

Watch the video below for instructions.


12 oz extra-firm tofu
2 stalks celery
1 small red bell pepper
1 small green bell pepper
1 carrot
1/4 sweet onion
1/4 lb cremini mushrooms
8 oz can pineapple chunks
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

for the Sweet and Sour Sauce:
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp vegetarian stir fry sauce
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp sugar


Cut tofu into small pieces approximately 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick.  (Don’t cut it too small or it will fall apart when stir frying.)

Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil.  Gently drop in tofu, a few pieces at a time.  Allow the water to come to a boil again.  Transfer tofu to colander and allow to drain.

Cut celery, bell peppers, carrots, onions and mushrooms to a similar size and thickness.

Drain pineapple juice into a measuring cup.  Add in all ingredients for sweet and sour sauce and stir until smooth and well combined.

Heat a wok over high heat until hot.  Add vegetable oil and minced garlic.  Stir fry quickly for a few seconds.  Reduce heat to Medium.  Add carrots.  Add 2 Tbsp of water and stir fry for 3 minutes.  Add celery and stir fry for 1 minute.  Add both kinds of peppers and onions and toss together.  Add 2-3 Tbsp of water to help soften the vegetables.  Stir fry for another 2-3 minutes.  Add mushrooms and stir fry for another minute.  Add tofu and pineapple chunks and gently toss together.  Season with black and red pepper.  Spread tofu and veggies evenly in wok making a thin layer.  Drizzle sweet and sour sauce on tofu coating it well then pour the remaining marinade into the stir fry.  Gently toss together.  Cook until sauce thickens, approximately 3-4 more minutes.

Serve hot over white or brown rice or as a side dish.

Yields: 2-4 servings

Continue Reading

Sweet and Sour Sauce (Sot Chua Ngot)

This dipping sauce seems to be everyone’s favorite–at least in my circle of family and friends.  I have some family members who will not eat egg rolls without this delectable sauce and I serve it almost as frequently as my Fish Sauce Dipping Sauce.  This recipe is really easy and fast to make.  My secret ingredient (well, not so secret anymore) is the use of pineapple orange juice.  It’s the perfect combination of citrus flavors and sugar which is why I don’t add any additional sweeteners to this recipe.  Enjoy!

Watch the video below for instructions.


2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 – 6 oz cans pineapple orange juice
1/8 tsp black pepper


Combine cornstarch with water and stir until smooth.

In a medium saucepan, add all remaining ingredients.  Heat mixture over low heat, stirring until tomato paste is dissolved.  When sauce starts to bubble, turn off the heat.  Stir cornstarch and water mixture again before pouring into the sauce.  Stir sauce for 1-2 minutes and it should start to thicken.  Allow the sauce to cool for another 2-3 minutes.  The sauce thickens further as it cools.

Pour into dipping bowls and serve with your favorite dishes.  Enjoy this sauce with the Shrimp and Yam Toast.

Yields: 1 1/2 cups

Continue Reading

Shrimp and Yam Toast (Banh Mi Chien Tom)

I love deep-fried foods just as much as everyone else but I resist making most dishes at home mainly for health reasons.  And so, I am always altering recipes that require deep frying for healthier cooking options.  I’ve found that pan-cooking works in most cases and this dish is a great recipe redo.  The traditional Vietnamese fritters recipe does not have French bread but my Mom made it this way and I really loved it.  To minimize oil absorption when pan-cooking, she would dry out the bread by toasting it lightly in the oven.   This made it even crispier, so give this a try if you have a bit more time and desire a toast with extra crunch.  Enjoy!

Watch the video below for instructions.


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
2/3 cup water

3 green onion tops
1/2 loaf French bread
1 small yam (approx. 4 oz)
24  – size 31/40 shrimp, peeled and deveined
vegetable oil for pan cooking


Combine flour, cornstarch, sugar, salt, baking powder, turmeric powder and water.  Whisk until batter is smooth.  Let batter rest for at least 30 minutes.

Thinly dice green onion tops.  Cut 12 slices of French bread, approximately 1/2-inch thick.  Peel yam and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices.  Cut into thin strips.

Add green onions, yam strips and shrimp to batter and mix well making sure everything is coated with batter.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil.  Use a brush to evenly distribute the oil in the pan.  Take a slice of French bread and place 2 shrimp on top of the bread.  Place a generous amount of yam sticks on top of the shrimp.   Place the toast face-side down in the skillet.  (Tip:  It may be easiser to prep all pieces of toast first and then cook them all at once.)   Turn the heat down to medium low and cook on the first side for approximtely 5 minutes.  Brush the side facing up with a bit of vegetable oil.  Flip the toast over and cook in the other side for 2-3 minutes.

Serve toast with green leaf lettuce, fresh herbs and Sweet and Sour Sauce.

Yields: 12 pieces

Continue Reading