Sweet and Sour Pork

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Another dish that I should have prepared for my Year of the Dragon Chinese Banquet was Sweet and Sour Pork. I say should because I didn’t actually end up making it on the night, but made it the next day. Cooked correctly, you need to coat the pork in batter and deep fry it, and I just was running out of time to do this. When I did cook it though, I stir fried the pork and skipped the deep frying, this may have made a difference to texture, but to taste I don’t think so… but it would save a bundle of calories!

This sweet and sour pork recipe is by Ken Hom from his book, Complete Chinese Cookery. I’ve never tried an authentic sweet and sour dish before – the ones you get from the take aways in the UK are so sickly sweet and sticky and this wasn’t like that at all. It was a beautifully coloured dish and I think one of the nicest dishes to look at! My husband loved this!

As I said, I didn’t batter and deep fry the pork, but in the method that I’ll put at the end of this post, I’ll include those steps.

I bought pork that was already cubed as that was how it had to be prepared in the recipe, but I ended up slicing it a little thinner to stir fry. I marinated the meat with rice wine, light soy sauce, sesame oil and salt and left to one side – the recipe says 20 minutes, mine ended up being over night!

I cut a red and a yellow bell pepper into chunks – the recipe asks for green bell pepper, but I really can’t stand the taste of them!

I then cut up some carrots into chunks, par-boiled them for a few minutes then drained and set aside.

I also cut up spring onions into 1 inch lengths. I cut them on the diagonal so they’d look pretty in the dish.

In this recipe you can use canned lychees or fresh orange segments. I went with the lychees.

I also had to make the sauce using chicken stock, light and dark soy sauce, sesame oil, Chinese white rice vinegar, sugar, ketchup, salt and pepper.

With everything prepared, it was wok heating time, until the oil was smoking. I started by stir frying the pork until it was cooked. I then then added the vegetables and stir fried for a few minutes before adding the sauce.

To thicken the sauce I used some cornflour mixed with a little water first and then that mixture was poured in and brought back to the boil – it’s amazing how it thickens the sauce! Turning it down to a simmer, I then added the lychees and mixed everything together well.

We ate it with rice and the other dishes that I cooked the day after the banquet! When I try this again, I will do the deep frying battered pork to see how different it is.

You’ll notice my steps are completely different to Ken Hom’s recipe, but I’ll share his as I had intended to follow that, but it just didn’t work out that way!

Sweet and Sour Pork

Serves 4
Ingredients

  • 450g lean pork
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsps sesame oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100g green bell peppers (about 1)
  • 100g red bell peppers (about 1)
  • 100g carrots
  • 50g spring onions
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsps cornflour, plus extra for dusting
  • 450ml groundnut (peanut) oil or vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 75g tinned lychees, drained, or fresh orange segments

For the sauce

  • 150ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1½ tbsps Chinese white rice vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsps tomato purée or ketchup
  • ½ tsp salt and 1 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tsps cornflour

Method

  1. Cut the pork into 1 inch cubes.
  2. Put them in a bowl with the rice wine, light soy sauce, sesame oil and 1 teaspoon salt and leave to marinate for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Cut the bell peppers into 1 inch squares.
  4. Cut the spring onions into 1 inch pieces.
  5. Peel the carrots and cut them into 1 inch pieces. Place in a pan of boiling water and cook for 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  6. Mix the egg and cornflour in a bowl until they are well blended into a batter.
  7. Lift the pork out of the marinade and place into the batter, coating each piece well.
  8. Heat the oil in a large wok, deep pan or deep fat fryer and fry until cooked. Drain on paper towels.
  9. Make the sauce, combine the chicken stock, soy sauces, sesame oil, vinegar, sugar and tomato purée with ½ teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of white pepper. Place in a pan and bring to the boil.
  10. Add the vegetables and stir well.
  11. In a small bowl, blend the 2 teaspoons of cornflour with 1 tablespoon of water. Stir this mixture into the sauce and bring back to the boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer.
  12. Add the lychees or oranges and the pork.
  13. Mix well then turn onto a deep serving platter and serve at once.

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