Fish Slices with Tomatoes

This is a tweak of an old recipe for fish slices in a tomato sauce – the original recipe tastes a bit like sweet and sour fish and involves ketchup. With summer tomatoes filling the market stands, though, I thought the recipe deserved an upgrade and an update! I dislike the tendency in Chinese recipes to shallow-fry fish before adding it to a sauce, so I prefer to gently simmer it in the sauce and thereby cut down on a large amount of fat.

The recipe calls for sole or flounder – the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch recommends we try to find wild-caught Pacific versions of these fish. If you want to substitute tilapia, try to find US-farmed, not Asian-farmed for this variety. You can also substitute shrimp – wild-caught pink shrimp from Oregon is your best choice for sustainability.


  • 12 oz sole, flounder, or tilapia fillets
  • 1/3-1/2 lb tomatoes
  • 1 T oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/4 c green peas, fresh or thawed frozen
  • salt to taste



  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/4 c rice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c water or broth
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 T cornstarch

garnish (optional):

  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • chopped cilantro


  1. Gently rinse fish and pat dry, then cut along the midline lengthwise and into 1.5″ sections crosswise.
  2. Combine the marinade ingredients and mix gently with fish slices.
  3. If you prefer, you can peel the tomatoes by cutting an X in the non-stem end with a sharp knife, plunging into boiling water for approximately 15 seconds, then allowing them to cool before peeling. This step is optional, and I usually omit it.
  4. Cut the tomato in 1/2 crosswise, gently squeeze or scoop the seeds out with your fingers, then cut into 1/2″ dice.
  5. Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  6. Heat the oil in the wok over high heat until it shimmers, then add the diced onion and peas, stirfrying for approximately 1 m.
  7. Give the sauce ingredients a stir, then pour into the wok and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 1 m.
  8. Add the fish slices and tomatoes and turn gently until they are coated with sauce. Simmer just until the fish is cooked through – less than 5 m is usually plenty to cook the fish and cook out the starchy taste of the sauce.
  9. Adjust seasoning, garnish and serve.


  • You can substitute shrimp for the fish – they should be peeled and deveined. If they are large, you can cut them in 1/2 lengthwise or into small sections crosswise.
  • You can add 1 T dried wood ears (a type of fungus) to the onions and peas – the wood ears should be soaked for 10 m in hot water, rinsed well (they tend to be sandy), the tough parts removed, and the fungus cut into small pieces.

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