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Sweet & Sour Pork

Living abroad made me realise the comfort zone I lived in and the things I took for granted living in Singapore (where everything is so easily accessible and within a stone throw away). One of the things I miss most is my mom's cooking and Singapore food. Craving for home food is what drove me to the kitchen and do the dishes I miss... sweet & sour pork happens to be one of them.:-)

Sweet & sour pork
Ingredients
  • 250 to 300 g lean pork (cut to bite-size cubes)
  • 2 tsp brandy or whiskey
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 1 small carrot (diced)
  • ½ small green bell pepper (cored, seeded and diced)
  • some vegetable oil for deep frying
  • salt & pepper

Sauce

  • 1 tbsp light soya sauce
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree (paste)
  • 3 or 4 tbsp Chinese stock or water
  • 1 tbsp cornflour or cornstarch (to make into paste)

Cornflour or cornstarch paste

Mix 1 part cornflour with about 1.5 parts of cold water. Stir until smooth.

Directions
  1. To make the sauce, combine all the sauce ingredients (except the cornflour) in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Marinate the pork with the brandy or whiskey, salt and pepper and leave it for 20 minutes.
  3. Coat the marinated pork with the beaten egg.
  4. Sprinkle the flour on the pork pieces and turn them till they are well coated.
  5. Heat oil in wok or deep fryer. When oil is hot, deep fry the pork for about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring gently to separate the pieces. Do it in a few batches.
  6. Remove the pieces with a slotted spoon and drain them using a paper towel.
  7. Reheat oil until hot, return all the pork pieces to wok for about a minute or until golden brown. Remove it with slotted spoon and drain them again on a paper towel.
  8. Drain off the oil, and wipe out the wok. Heat some oil in wok, stir-fry the vegetables for a minute or two.
  9. Pour in the prepared sauce and bring it to boil. Thicken it with corn flour paste.
  10. Add the pork to the sauce and make sure the pork pieces are well coated with the sauce.
  11. Serve hot with rice.
sweet & sour pork ingredientssweet & sour porksweet & sour pork
Conclusion

Sweet and sour pork is one of the most popular Chinese dish all over the world. I have made this dish several times for my friends and my in-laws and like the szechuan prawns, it never fails me. It's also one of Pierre's favourite Asian dish.

I love the taste of sweet and sour (at the same time), and in this dish the sauce doesn't overwhelm the flavour of fried pork and vegetables which is nice. In fact, all the ingredients of the dish blend in very well yet retaining their individual taste.

This dish is simple and easy to make (for Asian food...). The only part that takes a little effort is preparing the meat for deep frying.:-)

Note

Regarding the preparation, I use rice-wine vinegar and red bell pepper instead of the green one. I usually prepare the sauce first before preparing the meat, and then go on to get the veggies done.

I tried this dish once with chicken. Sadly, it didn't turn out as tasty as the pork version and tasted too sweet using the default quantity of sugar. You can normally also use prawns or fish, this is something I might try sometimes:-)

There are variations on the way this dish is being cooked. Some recipe uses tomato ketchup instead of tomato puree paste and pieces of pineapples as part of the vegetable ingredient and add pineapple juice in the sauce.

sweet & sour pork
24 comments.
#1, by Katiez (07/23/2007)

I love this version, and pork is so much better than chicken!
I won't eat the marschino cherry and pineapple version found in the U.S. - it's soooo sweet, no sour at all!
Lovely photos!

#2, by Kelly Mahoney (07/23/2007)

The color on this is spectacular, I can't imagine how yummy they must be.

#3, by Judy (07/23/2007)

Looks great. My daughter's favourite.

It's so well coated even though you just dip them in flour and not batter.

Thanks for sharing.

#4, by Lyrical Lemongrass (07/24/2007)

Used to be a popular dish many many years ago. To me, whenever I eat this dish, it's like somewhat travelling back in time...dunno why! hehe. Definitely comfort food.

#5, by Fénix (07/24/2007)

Hey, my favorite Ninja! I was going to make the Crevettes à l'antillaise Saturday night but I had run out of crème fraîche so I made it tonight (no limes, though:-( - I used a lemon instead). Here's the picture to prove it:-). My husband loved it, I liked it too. Next week I'll try your sweet and sour pork. Thank you, Pamela.

#6, by tigerfish (07/24/2007)

Much that I love sweet and sour pork, it's the preparation of the meat for deep-frying and the deep-frying that puts me off. Have not found a good US eatery that serves up-to-standard sweet and sour pork It's usually too much batter (almost like eating batter in sweet and sour sauce) :O

#7, by Lynn (07/24/2007)

Yumm - this looks wonderful! I'll definitely save this recipe to try.

#8, by carol (07/24/2007)

Hey Ninja, Sweet and Sour Pork is one of my family favorites too, and I haven't cooked it in a long time. Thanks for reminding me! ;o)

#9, by valentina (07/24/2007)

Hmmm, I love sweet & sour fish especially when the sauce is spicy! What a lovely dish you've whipped out!

#10, by ashley (07/24/2007)

I wonder if this would work with tofu? When you say "3 or 4 Chinese stock or water" do you mean cups, tablespoons..? I feel like that's a really stupid question, but just want to clarify.

#11, by eastmeetswestkitchen (07/24/2007)

I love this dish and make it often. I too miss the convenience and availability of great food in Singapore. Lovely vivid red color on your sweet and sour pork!

#12, by The Cooking Ninja (07/24/2007)

It's funny how when I was back home, I never thought much or craved for this but being abroad does that to me.:-) I guess it must be the unavailability of it. hehehe

@Fénix: I'm glad you and your husband like the crevettes à l'antillaise.:-)

@tigerfish: I only use just enough oil to fry the whole batch. Frying the pork smells better than frying fish in the house.

@valentina: I will definitely try the fish version next time and add chilli to it to spice it up.:-)

@ashley: Not a silly question at all. It's 3 or 4 tablespoon. My fault - I missed out on the measure. Corrected it:-)

#13, by Pamela (07/24/2007)

@Fénix: wow! It's really beautiful! So yummy looking and the prawns - so big !:-) Did you get to try out the tourte aux pommes de terre?

#14, by Janet (07/24/2007)

This look delicious. I think I could just eat the big plate of pork, all by itself!

#15, by Little Corner of Mine (07/24/2007)

I'm like Tigerfish but not because of the smell, but I'm just too lazy to do the extra step of deep-frying the pork first. So as you guess I have not make this dish before. :P

#16, by IronEaters (07/24/2007)

yea,its popular among the Chinese! esp "sweet n sour sauce",quite a convenient sauce to be used on chicken or fish fillet as well =)

#17, by Fénix (07/24/2007)

I haven't, Pamela, but I will. I keep forgetting to buy a piece of bacon (I have sliced bacon in the freezer but I'd rather use a slab, like you did.)

The prawns I used are "jumbo" size (about 15 prawns per half kilo). The cooked prawns you buy in France are a lot nicer than what I can get here, that's why I always use frozen raw prawns.

#18, by Steamy Kitchen (07/24/2007)

I'm Chinese and I've never made sweet and sour pork! I didn't know there was brandy in it.

#19, by simcooks (07/25/2007)

I love sweet and sour pork! Yours look like the "version" I like. In the US, sometimes restaurants serve sweet and sour pork in a very starchy and red version that is not so palatable.
I usually buy take-out for sweet and sour pork as I am too lazy to do any deep frying.

#20, by Wandering Chopsticks (07/25/2007)

Yum! Your version looks so good. I love sweet and and sour pork. And I agree, for some reason it's so much better than sweet and sour chicken.

#21, by keropokman (07/25/2007)

who does not love sweet and sour pork?!
It's many people's comfort food.

But some versions have it too sour, which I dont really like.
But I think yours is the version that I like:-)

#22, by Jaded (07/25/2007)

Wow! I can't believe you made this. The only thing stopping me from making this, is I don't like deep frying inside the house. I really need to get my kitchen remodeled and fitted with a new hood vent. It looks great TCN:-)

#23, by gulali manis (07/27/2007)

I love sweet and sour pork, I used to buy in a restaurant, thank you for the recipes so I can make it at home.

#24, by The Cooking Ninja (07/29/2007)

@Janet: hehehe...so does my significant other.;-)

@Little Corner of Mine: For exactly the same reason you mentioned, I only cook this occasionally.:-D

@Fénix: The frozen cooked prawns we bought were from Picard which is well known for having high quality food. We got them during a sale as usual.:-)

@Steamy Kitchen: Me too till I craved for it.

@simcooks: I haven't tried the sweet and sour pork in local "Chinese" restaurant. I wonder is it the same as in US.

@keropokman: Thanks

@Jaded: Mine kitchen is an American style kitchen and our hood vent isn't that powerful to suck up all the smoke. So whenever I deep fry anything in the house, I close the kitchen door, leave windows or the back kitchen door open to let in fresh air (if there is any).

@Gulali manis: Hope you like it.