Healthy Sweet and Sour Fish Recipe - Skillful Cook
Our recipes, your inbox. Sign up

Healthy Sweet and Sour Fish

2 reviews / 5 average

How do you guys feel about fish?

You like it. I knew it.

Better question: how do you feel about Lost? As in the TV show Lost that came out 8 years ago that I just started watching last week, in 2013.

I've always said I didn't want to watch it because of the plane crash. I get weird about plane crashes. The real ones, the in-my-mind ones, the Hollywood ones, all of em. Like every time I'm in airplane, I think about that scene with Tom Hanks in Castaway that I watched in middle school. Where the plane crashes.

But yeah, for sure! Let's watch a TV show based entirely around a plane crash. This is what living in a foreign country does to my reasoning.

Sweet and sour fish in a skillet.

This is not the first time I've fallen in love with a show 15 years after the fact.

In our early married years, it was Jack Bauer and 24. We only ever watched it in the summer at the cabin, which necessitated at least 200 episodes per night.

Then there was The Office. We started at Season One and worked our way through the whole thing over the course of a year, only a decade late. I cried and felt sad for an unnaturally long time after the end of Michael's last episode. We've considered restarting the whole series and watching it all again but that's not weird, right?

I've been known to watch the Biggest Loser, alone, while skipping the gym, and I may or may not have attended Biggest Loser parties involving large amounts of deep dish chocolate chip cookies and such. I mad crushed on Prison Break for every second of Season One but then things started to get personal when Season Two was set in prisons abroad. Crush = over.

And then there was Downton Abbey. And by Downton Abbey, I mean sleeping. Honestly.

Sweet and sour fish on two plates.

This healthy sweet and sour fish is my new favorite healthy take-out kinda dinner, even though that has nothing to do with TV.

Sweet and sour fish was served at our school Christmas party this year, and I don't know if I had never tried it? or if I've just always been a little shy of fishy Asian dishes? But whoa. It was so addicting.

Is it a Filipino thing? I don't even know. Doesn't even matter.

I decided not to fry the fish, therefore making it “healthy”, but check out that first picture! THE FISH WAS AMAZING. Not deep fried, just lightly spiced with cumin and cayenne, and sauteed with some olive oil and onions. It was so soft and delicate, but still perfectly golden browned on the outside, almost like a super light and fake deep fry. Ohhhk. Yes.

Sweet and sour fish on white plates with a fork.

In the name of healthy, I also added extra veggies cause all those vitamins are good for my TV-loving body. Served over a pile of steamy brown rice and garnished with a little extra chili garlic sauce and some sesame seeds? I need healthy to taste good, and this.tastes.good.

Leftover lunches? Done and done.

Microwave broken and had to eat it cold? True story. But that won't happen to you.

Sweet and sour fish in clear containers.
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Healthy Sweet and Sour Fish

Healthy Sweet and Sour Fish


This healthy sweet and sour fish includes lots of bell peppers and pineapple with the lightly fried fish and sweet and sour sauce.


  • 2 lbs. white fish filets such as tilapia
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 red, yellow, and green peppers (each)
  • 2-3 cups fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup sweet chili garlic sauce (more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • cooked brown rice
  • sesame seeds


  1. Fish: Cut the fish into bite-sized pieces and mince 1 onion. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute for 1 minute. Add the fish and sprinkle with cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste. Cook, flipping occasionally and draining any excess liquid, for 5-10 minutes or until the pieces are golden brown on the outside and white all the way through. Set aside.
  2. Vegetables: Chop the bell peppers and 1 onion into bite-sized pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet and saute the peppers and onions for 5-10 minutes, until golden brown on the outside and tender-crisp. Chop the pineapple into bite-sized pieces and add to the pan, cooking for another few minutes. Set aside.
  3. Sauce: Combine the vinegar, ketchup, sugar, salt, pineapple juice, orange juice, and sweet chili garlic sauce in a large skillet over medium low heat. Simmer for 10 minutes. Whisk the cornstarch into a few tablespoons of water until smooth. Add to the sauce in the skillet and bring to a low boil. Cook for a few more minutes until the sauce is thickened.
  4. Combine the fish, vegetables, and sauce (you might not want all of it - just eyeball whatever looks good) in a large pan or bowl. Serve over brown rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds. I liked mine with extra sweet chili garlic sauce.


I only combined half of the veggies with the fish, and reserved the other half so I would have a few vegetarian servings left over. So the recipe, as written, will be pretty heavy on the veggies. Just make adjustments as fits your preferences - more fish, less veggies, etc. If you only used 1 pepper of each color, you'd probably come out with about 6 servings.

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Hawaiian-Inspired

Keywords: sweet and sour fish, healthy fish recipe, pineapple fish

See? I knew you guys liked fish.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star


  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    We only watched Lost last winter too so don’t feel that out of the loop. It’s crazy intense and will leave you with your head spinning! Prison Break is the new obsession but we’re not even into Season 2 yet so I had no idea about the foreign prison. I hope that means they finally get the heck out of the first one!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    I have a love/hate relationship with lost. A bit like yours with prison break. It was all love for a while, but then we were just friends and then frenemies. I would show up to Lost’s house, but only so I could stand in the corner and judge it. I love to pick up on decade old shows and marathon it though, it is one of my all time favorite lazy weekend things!!
    Also, you are right, I love fish and yes, this looks amazing!! 🙂

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    I went through a major Lost obsession also, years after it aired. Prison Break, also, yes. Right now it’s Californication. I just finished season 1 and I love it!

    This recipe looks awesome. It looks like the perfect food to have sitting on the couch watching TV to make you feel like you ordered take-out. Thanks!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    SO funny you mention Lost. My husband has already seen every episode, but we started it from the beginning on Netflix because I’ve never seen it. Had a long LOST marathon this past weekend and finished season 1. Loving it!!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I tend to buy box sets and watch an entire series in one night. I watched the entire Sopranos in 2 weeks infront of the fire over one freezing cold xmas :P. I love the fake deep fry description. Look good.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    HA! We only recently got through the box-set of Alias, only 10 years late. Made your veggie burgers last night – not gonna lie…. LIFE-CHANGING! So delicious 🙂

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    This fish looks great! We mainly eat salmon in our house, because it seems like that’s the one that we can both agree on eating. I’ll have to see if I can slide this one in sometime.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I bet that the same process could be done with tofu or tempeh for those who want to keep the dish veg*an and not eat just a bowl of veggies and rice. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I do it all the time, just last night in fact.

    I love your posts and the stories you tell, cheers up my day each time.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Om nom nom! This looks amazing.

    Btw, there’s nothing wrong with watching all 8 billion episodes of Lost in ONE MONTH, it’s such a good show! Until it gets slow… but it picks back up again.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I agree. Any diss on Downton Abbey makes me sad too ): I love that show so much! I hate to let that shadow over how much I am digging this recipe…but it kind of does. Downton Abbey is the best!

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      I was so bummed. I had really high expectations and then I watched one episode and didn’t get it. Maybe I need to try again? Give it more time?

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        No you’re right, it has it’s slow parts. I think it’s just a matter of that not being that right genre. If you don’t like Pride & Prejudice, Little Women, and other quintessential English dramas then you won’t be into it. I have been meaning to get into Lost but have been too busy getting into Breaking Bad!

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          I think you just need a few episodes to get into the scandals. I’ve never had any interest in other British dramas… only their scifi.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    YUM this looks great!! I have to try this one of these days 🙂

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    i looooooooooooove fish. love love love. just when i think i’ve tried so many different flavor possibilities with it (my boyfriend’s sisters do not eat meat and they look to cook – they ALWAYS make fish everything), you surprise me with this sweet & sour version. Saving this recipe for sure Lindsay. 🙂

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsay, thank you for your awesome blog, love it! I’m more of the stalker type and don’t usually comment but just had to say (1) I love that you called it Downtown Abbey – I thought that was the name until very recently! So disappointed that I am no longer justified in singing “Downnntownnn, things will be great when you’re…” whenever it’s mentioned (2) my husband and I are slowly working our way through Jack Bauer’s extraordinarily difficult life. We’re currently led to believe that he’s just about to die from some sort of prion disease. I suspect he will perform his own curative brain surgery and live to avert another international crisis but in the meantime we’re on the edge of our seats 😉 Can’t wait to try this recipe, also looking forward to Food Blogger Pro! Thanks again, from Sarah.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    While the last season of Lost was airing (I think it was two or three years ago), I stumbled upon all of the seasons for free on Hulu and quickly became addicted. It’s so good! I’ve always seen sweet and sour chicken dishes but not fish. I’m looking forward to trying your recipe!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    As for Lost…oh, Beautiful Lost. Eric started watching Lost while I was living in Sudan, so naturally I had to catch up when I got back. We watched approximately 3 episodes a night, usually until like 2:30 a.m., at which point, I would drive home and climb down the dark stairs to my basement apartment, sure The Others were waiting for me below. In fact, we were watching so much Lost, that I had recurring dreams that Sayid showed up to our forthcoming wedding, wearing my wedding dress.
    Consider yourself warned 🙂
    PS – I don’t love fish. I want to, but I don’t. But I’m willing to give this one a shot!

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    This looks delicious. I was just wondering if you can make the chili garlic sauce? If not where can I purchase it?

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    This recipe looks delicious! You’ve just got to love something healthy that doesn’t necessarily look healthy, right? I became obsessed with Lost in August ad blew through all 6 seasons in a few months. So be prepared to spend multiple hours watching it. And yelling in frustration at your screen (or maybe that’s just me?). What are your feelings on Kate? And Jack + Kate?

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am in a tv rut. I haven’t tried Lost yet, but everyone I know loves it. I just can’t seem to think I will totally fall in love with it. I guess I will give it a go. This recipe sounds awesome too!!!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I thought it was boring but I pushed through the first few episodes and then became mildly interested. It took me literally about 12-14 episodes to really get into it.

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    I have only seen the pilot of Lost, but I stopped watching it for the same reason as you did. I have an illogical fear of plane crashes. I totally can’t handle watching them on TV.
    You really didn’t like Downton Abbey? I’m so obsessed, but I guess it’s not for everyone. Oh, and the fish looks amazing. Bookmarking this recipe.

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am a crazy LOST fan (so much so that I feel the need to type it in all caps because it reminds me of the title sequence). I even went to Comic Con in San Diego for the show’s final panel. For the series finale, my friends and I had a party where we all dressed in black as if we were going to a funeral. I miss that show so much! I don’t feel that strongly about anything on TV right now. I guess it was just about the journey and not knowing what was happening. I love stuff like Breaking Bad, Homeland, Justified, and Sons of Anarchy now, but it’s not the same.