hot and sour cod 019_edited-1

Cod, Sugar Snap Peas, and Water Chestnut with a Hot and Sour Ginger Sauce (recipe by “Oishii”)

You’re probably familiar with sweet and sour sauce, but have you tried hot and sour sauce? This recipe is a long title for a delicious stir fry, inspired by a recent trip to Big Bowl restaurant with my friend David, who was visiting from Palm Springs. There was a time when perusing Big Bowl’s restaurant’s menu was a complete mystery, but thankfully I now find myself able to cook my way through much of it.  I was delighted to find a recipe for their tasty sauce in their wonderful cookbook Big Bowl Noodles and Rice: Fresh Asian Cooking from the Renowned Restaurant, which I referenced for my new dish. My original intention was to use haddock, but the cod at Trader Joe’s was ridiculously cheap, only $3.99/pound, so I opted to use that instead. Try this recipe with shrimp and scallops too.

Cod prep note:  If you use frozen seafood like me, I find that it is a good idea to weigh it after thawing. Inevitably you will lose a few ounces.  For this recipe I start with a pound of frozen cod. Make sure to dry the fish with a clean kitchen towel before adding the sesame oil and cornstarch.  This will reduce spattering of the oil and allow your fish to fry nicely, rather than steam.


  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 13 ounces cod, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil, plus more for before serving
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
  • 5-6 dried chiles
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 8 ounce can sliced water chestnuts, rinsed and drained
  • 1  1/4 cups (4.5 ounces) sugar snap peas, strung
  • 1/2 cup scallions, sliced (white and green parts)
  • kosher salt to taste
  • garnish: chopped cilantro (optional)
  • steamed Japanese rice (Kokuho Rose, Botan, or Nishiki brands)


Make the sauce. In a small bowl whisk together the red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, light soy sauce, and sugar, and set aside.

Thoroughly dry the cod out with a kitchen flour sack towel and add to a medium sized bowl. Lightly toss the cod with the cornstarch and sesame oil, and set aside. Heat a large wok (or non-stick frying pan) over high heat and swirl in 1 tablespoon of peanut oil to coat pan. Lightly brown fish, sprinkle with some kosher salt, and remove from wok. Return to a medium sized bowl and set aside.

Wipe the wok clean. Heat the second tablespoon of peanut oil in wok over high heat. Add the dried chiles and fry until they darken. Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry about 30 seconds, being careful not to burn the garlic. Mix in the water chestnuts and sugar snap peas, and cook until the pea pods are nearly crisp tender. Gently fold in the cod. Add the sauce, bring to a rapid boil, and remove from heat. Sprinkle with kosher salt to taste. Add scallions. Garnish with cilantro and extra sesame oil if desired. Serve with steamed rice.

What’s oishii? “Oishii” (pronounced “oy she”) is the Japanese word for delicious. I love sharing great recipes I discover from popular restaurants, cookbooks, food magazines (Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, etc.), tv shows, friends, family, and other blogs. I also develop my own. Please contact me if there is a recipe you would like the test kitchen to consider:

Now it’s your turn. Have you ever tried hot and sour sauce? If you enjoyed this post, we would love to hear from you! Please leave some feedback in the comments section below. -Michael

Join “Oishii!” on Facebook