Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sweet & Sour Pork (or Chicken)

Chinese food is cheap, and my latest recipe is too. The sweet and sour sauce is just ketchup, sugar, soy sauce and vinegar; stir-fry a few veggies and mix in the pork, that's it. The hardest part is deep frying the pork, but you can just stir-fry it (without the batter), to do an even simpler, lighter, version - that tastes just as good.

While Sweet & Sour Pork is not my first choice in a Chinese restaurant buffet line - I always grab some on the second go around, though. It is a versatile dish. You can use any crunchy vegetables you have on hand, including: celery, carrot, onion, broccoli, and the usual bell pepper and canned pineapple.

I've been buying pork end-cut sirloin lately at my local Latin market for 99 cent per pound. You can also make Sweet & Sour Chicken using bone-in breast meat - it's a good deal, and easy to separate and chop (dark meat takes more work, but I've done it).

Ingredients (serves 2)
  • 1 pound of pork sirloin, chop, or country-style rib - trim off fat, and cut into one inch pieces. Okay to substitute chicken.
  • 2 whole bell peppers - any color, I used green and orange. Chopped
  • 1 small can of pineapple - if rings, then cut into cubes. Reserve juice for sauce.
  • 2-3 cups of oil for deep-frying. Sweet & Sour Sauce
  • 1/2 cup of pineapple juice - add some water if you do not have enough juice.
  • 1/4 cup of vinegar - white, rice or apple cider vinegar.
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar - for pineapple in sweet syrup, leave out sugar.
  • 2 tablespoons of ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or flour - stir and dissolve into pineapple juice and/or water.

*Batter for Pork (or chicken)
  • 3/4 cup total of cornstarch and flour, mixed together - you can use flour only.
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 1 egg - optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
While 2 cups of oil is heating in a wok, or deep frying pan, mix batter ingredients in large bowl. It should be similar to pancake batter when mixed together. Salt and pepper cubed pork. When oil is hot (about 350 degrees, over a medium/high heat), start out by adding one battered piece to make sure oil bubbles when it's added. Mix in cubed pork into batter, a few pieces at a time, coat well, and carefully add to hot oil. Don't overload wok, fry in batches, then drain on a wire rack or paper towels. Allow oil to cool, then drain out. I save the oil for French frying at another time.

While fried pork is draining, cut bell pepper into one inch pieces - make sure to remove stem, seeds and white membrane inside the bell peppers. Drain canned pineapple (reserving juice for sweet & sour sauce), and chop into cubes. You can use any crunchy veggies you have on hand for this recipe.

For the sweet & sour sauce: in a bowl, dissolve sugar and cornstarch in 1/2 cup of pineapple juice and/or water. Add rest of ingredients including: ketchup, soy sauce, and vinegar. Mix well.

Now it is time to put it all together. Over medium heat add sweet & sour sauce to wok, or a large pan. Sauce should thicken quickly, in a couple of minutes. Next add veggies and pineapple. Mix well until heated through, another couple of minutes. Finally add deep-fried pork (or chicken). Carefully mix (you don't want the batter to fall off meat) and heat through for 2 more minutes. Serve over rice or noodles.

* For this Sweet & Sour Pork recipe you can leave out battered deep-frying; just do a simple stir-fry. Skipping the batter part - add 2 tablespoons of oil to a hot wok and stir-fry meat for about 5 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned. Add the sweet and sour sauce; thicken a couple of minutes, and finish by adding the veggies and pineapple, heating through.


christian said...

Very nice. I love hitting up Mexican markets, like Numero Uno. Good produce and meat for an affordable price.

99 Cent Chef said...

Hi Christian, I just made a watermelon, mango & spinach salad - all with Latin market produce, delish. Recipe coming up!

Jamie said...

Wow this looks so delicious!

Visit my brand-new blog at http://collegekitchencooking.blogspot.com/!

Desert Dogs California said...

This would probably be good with some pan fried tofu instead of the meat. I may have to try that.

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