Tasty Take-Out Classic: Sweet and Sour Pork

October 11, 2012

Instead of ordering take out from your favorite Chinese restaurant, try making this delicious recipe for sweet and sour pork at home.  Pieces of pork tenderloin are marinated in  Shaoxing wine (a Chinese cooking wine) which tenderizes the meat.  Before the pork is deep fried, it is tossed in a flour mixture that creates a crispy exterior.  You can also do this recipe with chicken.  Serve your pork with white rice to soak up that wonderful sweet and sour sauce.  

Sweet and Sour Pork

Ingredients:

For the Pork:
700 grams pork tenderloin (use the best quality you can get, it makes a difference)
1/2 cucumber
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 large onion
1 can of pineapple chunks (435g), drained
4 cloves minced garlic
 
For the Marinade:
1/2 cup Shaoxing Huatiao wine (or ¼ cup wine + ¼ cup water)
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup corn flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 egg (beaten)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon or a pinch of salt
 
For the Sauce:
5 tablespoons ketchup
4 tablespoons Shaoxing Huatiao wine
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon of Maggi Seasonings or Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
6 cups to 8 of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch in 2 tablespoons water (optional)
 
Directions:
 
Clean the pork and cut into small bite sized pieces.
 
Measure out 1/2 cup of Shaoxing Huatiao wine.  The alcohol would evaporate when the pork is deep fried, but if you would prefer not to use so much wine in the marinade, do use 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup wine.  The wine tenderizes the meat. So the pork is ultra tender when marinated in wine for 4 hours or more. 
 
Add all the marinade ingredients together and mix thoroughly with the pork.
 
Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside.

Lightly peel 1/2 a cucumber.  Scoop out the seeds out with a spoon.  Cut the cucumber into pieces.

Cut the red and green bell pepper into small pieces.

 
Drain a can of pineapple chunks. Set the pineapple aside with the rest of the vegetables.
 
Cut a large onion into large chunks.
 
Now prepare the sauce.
 
In a bowl, add 5 tablespoons of ketchup, 3 tablespoons of oyster sauce, 4 tablespoons of Shaoxing Huatiao wine, and 2 tablespoons sugar.
 
Add 1 tablespoon of chutney. I used a mango and peach chutney. It can also be substituted with plum sauce.
 
Add chilli powder (it lifts the flavors of the dish.)
 
Add 1 teaspoon of Maggie seasonings or Worcestershire sauce.
 
Mix the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
 
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot and wait. The oil MUST be hot, else the pork will stick together and become soggy. Test if the oil is ready by sticking a clean, dry wooden chopstick into the oil. If fierce bubbles gather around the chopsticks, it means the oil is ready to deep fry the food.
 
Shake off as much marinade as you can, and slide each piece of meat into the oil.
 
Deep fry till the pork is golden brown. Sometimes the pot may be overcrowded, you would then need to deep fry the pork in two batches. Do NOT overcrowd the pot of oil, else the pork won’t brown.  Stir the pork in the oil with a slotted spoon. When they are done, remove the pork from the oil and set aside in a hot place.
 
Heat a large saucepan and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
 
When the saucepan and oil are hot, add the onions and stir fry for a couple of minutes till they become fragrant and brown slightly.
 
Add about 1 tablespoon of minced garlic. Stir fry for a minute.
 
Add the rest of the vegetables and stir fry for a minute.
 
Pour the sauce in. Stir fry for a minute or two more. The sauce should thicken up.
 
If the sauce is wet, add a mixture of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch + 2 tablespoons water. The sauce must be thick and sticky. If it’s watery wet, it will soak through the pork and make it soggy later. At this point, TASTE the sauce. Every brand of oyster sauce and ketchup taste different. If the sauce is too sour, add more sugar. If it’s not salty enough, add more oyster sauce.
 
When the sauce is ready, stir in the pork.  Ensure that the meat is lightly tossed with some sauce. The meat should not be swimming in the sauce.

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