Kathy Petersen’s Blog

Sugar-free (stevia sweetened) sweet and sour sauce

Posted in recipes by Kathy on July 13, 2012

For years, my family has used the same recipe for sweet and sour sauce which I really enjoy; it came from a Joyce Chen cookbook from back in the 70s, I think. Currently, I’m trying to be sugar-free and corn-free (and gluten-free and alcohol-free, fwiw), and I was making a stir-fry, and really had a hankering for that sauce, which uses quite a bit of sugar and also is thickened with cornstarch. I wondered if I could “tweak” the recipe to make it good by substituting liquid stevia instead of sugar, so I tried it. The end result is, in my opinion, delicious, especially for being sugar-free. In fact, it was close enough in flavor to the original recipe, that I didn’t miss the sugar at all.

Here is the original recipe, in case you want to make your own modifications, or just make the original yummy recipe:

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • ¼ c. ketchup
  • 1/3 c. pineapple juice or water
  • ½ c. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1 c. pineapple chunks

Whisk together the first five ingredients. Heat oil in saucepan; brown garlic and discard [actually, I never discard the garlic, but then, I like the flavor it adds and don't mind the pieces in the sauce]. Add sugar mixture and heat until mixture starts boiling. Combine cornstarch and water and add to saucepan, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and becomes translucent. Add pineapple chunks.

And here is the sugar-free version:

Sugar-free Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1/3 c. pineapple juice or water
  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • ½ c. raw apple cider vinegar
  • 17 drops liquid stevia
  • 1 c. pineapple chunks

Whisk together first three ingredients. Heat oil in saucepan and brown garlic. Add tomato mixture to the garlic, and stir until combined. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Add vinegar and stevia, and stir until thoroughly mixed. Add pineapple chunks.
Notes, explanations and details:

Since ketchup has sugar (or high-fructose corn syrup — even worse!) in it, I substituted plain tomato paste. Do check labels, since some companies add different ingredients to their tomato products — imagine my surprise when I picked up a can of “tomato sauce” to find that it had sugar, salt, herbs, and spices added to it, when I thought it would be just plain tomatoes, or at most, tomatoes and salt.

Since I didn’t need to dissolve sugar, I didn’t need to really cook this at all, but I do like the flavor of sautéed garlic, so kept that step in. You may decide to skip that step, and even skip the oil entirely, and just add fresh or powdered garlic to the sauce, and not cook it at all. If you do that, let me know how you liked it.

You can use plain apple cider vinegar (or even white vinegar if you don’t have the good stuff), but I’ve started using the raw, organic (Bragg’s) ACV as a sort of health tonic (it started when my husband had a wicked sinus infection over the weekend, and looked for home remedies, and it lessened the symptoms almost immediately and he was nearly 100% better within a day or two), so I figured I might as well use it in this recipe, since I didn’t have to cook it. Because it was raw and I wanted it not to get cooked, I let the tomato mixture cool down a bit before adding it, but if you use the conventional stuff, it doesn’t matter if it gets cooked. Also, the raw stuff tends to be a little milder and sweeter-tasting, so you may want to use more or less of the conventional vinegar, and be prepared to use more or less of the stevia as well.

I used 17 drops of stevia, and that was pretty sweet. Of course, the original recipe is quite sweet, and I wanted to replicate that; you may wish to use less, especially if you don’t have as big a sweet tooth as I do. In fact, I would recommend that you start at no more than 10 drops and taste it after each addition, just to be on the safe side.

I won’t lie and say there was no difference between the two recipes, but I will say that there was no significant difference, and the sugar-free version was just as yummy and satisfying to me as the original high-sugar-plus-cornstarch recipe.

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One Response

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  1. stevia plant said, on April 23, 2013 at 8:41 am

    I personally use stevia sweetener powder during my java every day! It positive is important not really packing high on sophisticated glucose initial thing each day. I’m incredibly thrilled to use Nunaturals vanilla flavoring stevia water in sugars pastries! Healthy lower sugar “Sugar Cookies” signal us upward :)


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