I always think about sweet and sour pork. I was introduced to this dish when I was about 4 or 5 years old. Since then, it never leave my mind and my heart. It has a very very VERY special place in my heart, same position as my torn noodle. Like I said, I always think about it. I always have cravings for it. If I eat it today, I will think about it and crave for it 2 days later. The cycle goes on and on.
My standard on a good sweet and sour pork:
“When you look at sweet & sour pork, there is the golden brown fried pork coated with light red sticky sauce and the bright color combination of cucumber, capsicum, onion and pineapple on the plate just want to get you dig in quickly. You will never want pork that swim in a pool of sauce on the plate. The ideal sweet and sour pork for me is that you must have a balance of taste between sweetness and sourness. A balanced combination of sugar for sweetness, vinegar, ketchup and lemon juice for the sourness is a must for a good dish. The pork is coated lightly with sauce makes the crunchy coating soaks up the sauce a little and you get the half saucy half crunchy texture. Then you eat along with the vegetables that gives you different taste and texture. I especially love the pineapple, the tropical feeling when you put both meat and pineapple in the mouth is amazing.”
The NO NOs:
- Over battered pork is a NO NO – You got to taste the meat not the flour!
- Over coloring of red sauce is a NO NO – scary red sauce climbing all over the plate, imagine that…
- Raw or undercooked vegetables is a NO NO – slightly cooked vegetables will draw out sweetness from them giving a really nice taste and texture.
This is my version of sweet and sour pork after researching some recipes and videos.
Sweet & Sour Pork (serves 2 person with steamed rice)
Adapted from this sifu’s video.
- 400g of pork shoulder
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 teaspoon of cornstarch + 2 teaspoon of water
- ½ cup of cornstarch
- ¼ of a red capsicum, cut into 1cm strips
- 1 small cucumber, cut into 1cm strips
- ½ of a onion, cut into 1cm strips
- 1 can of cut pineapple
- ¼ cup of water
- 2 tablespoon of crystal sugar
- Juice from ½ lemon
- 1 tablespoon of vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of tomato ketchup
- ½ teaspoon of cornstarch + 1 teaspoon of water
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- Enough oil for deep frying the pork
- ½ tablespoon of oil for pan frying
- Cut the pork into pork chop style, about 1cm thickness. Then, use the back of a big knife, knock on the pork just like the below photo.
- Slice the pork to 1.5cm strips. Put the pork strips in a bowl. Add in sugar and massage the sugar onto the pork strips evenly.
- Add in the egg yolk and massage evenly onto the pork strips. Egg yolk will bring nice color to the pork when you fry.
- Now it’s time to put batter to the pork. Add in the cornstarch and water mixture and again massage onto the pork strips evenly.
- Place ½ cup of cornstarch in a plate, grab one piece of pork using each hand’s fingers and dip onto the cornstarch in the plate. Roll the pork strips around the cornstarch so that the cornstarch sticks onto the pork strips.
- Here I heat up my pot for deep frying the pot. That’s how I usually do it. You can use any other equipments that you usually use for deep frying.
- Pour in the oil and wait for the oil to heat up. Dip a wooden spoon or wooden chopstick into the oil. If you see bubbles around the spoon or chopstick, you are ready for frying.
- Drop some pork pieces into the oil for frying. Remember not to crowd the pot with too much of pork as you will drop the temperature of the oil tremendously and affect the process of frying.
- After all the pork is fried, drop the pork back into the oil for second round of frying. This is to make the pork extra crispy. Once that’s done, set aside.
- Blanch the capsicum in hot water and set aside.
- In a sauce pot, combine everything plus half of the lemon juice under the sauce section except the cornstarch and water mixture into the pot and heat up. Once the sugar is melted, add in the cornstarch and water mixture. Stir until you feel the sauce is thicken.
- Heat up the wok in high heat. Put in oil. When the oil is hot, add in capsicum, cucumber, onion and pineapple and fry. For about 30 seconds. Add in the sauce and the pork. Add in the balance of the lemon juice. Give it a quick stir and that’s done!