Tuesday, November 20, 2012

(Traditional) Sweet & Sour Pork

The Lowdown:

Firstly, I don't really have the right to call this traditional sweet & sour pork. I don't have a clue what traditional Chinese food entails. I'm not going to lie, I was not there hundreds of years ago to deem this dish as traditional. Also, I do not know what traditional ingredients are. I only know what is produced there now, in the import/export economy. However, I do know the Americanized version you get for take-out (when you order by number and not dish name), and this recipe is much different. In fact, the only reason I called it "traditional" is because Chef Martin Yan, from The Yan Can Cook Book (1981), asserted that this was the traditional Cantonese style of sweet & sour. I also felt that 1981, being lightyears ago, was before the large influx of American-Chinese food restaurants that have taken over.

I don't normally make this style of cuisine, because I'm not a huge fan of deep frying. Really, all it is is a potential explosion waiting to happen. But really, when you have a pineapple and a pork roast that have to be used what else is there to do? It was only natural that I make this dish. Almost as though the stars aligned perfectly for this to happen. Or, in reality, I made a few silly shopping errors and ended up with pork and pineapple that sat in the fridge. Potato potato (that really doesn't get the point across when it is typed out).

The Playlist:

Sweet & Sour Sauce
1 cup Rice wine vinegar
3/4 cup Sugar
1 1/3 cups Water
1 tbsp Canola oil
2 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp Ginger, finely minced
3 tbsp Corn starch
1 Tomato, blended until smooth (optional)

Pork Marinade
2 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp White wine
0.5 kg Pork, cut into 2 cm cubes

1/4 cup Cornstarch
1/4 cup Rice flour

2 Carrots, sliced thin
1 Onion, sliced thin
1/2 Pineapple, 1 cm cubes

Oil for frying

The Skinny:

  1. Marinade pork in a shallow dish for 30 minutes, then dredge with flour (I reuse produce bags from the grocery for this step as you can shake the pork and flour vigorously ensuring all is coated).
  2. In medium pot: combined all ingredients and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat and allow to simmer while the rest of the meal cooks. If the sauce is too thin add more corn starch.
  3. In large wok: heat oil to frying temperature then cook pork for 5 minutes, or until golden brown on the outsides. Once cooked, remove pork and allow oil to cool.
  4. Once oil has cooled put it in a glass jar for safe keeping (or disposal) then clean the wok. Add 1 tbsp of oil to the wok and turn heat to medium-high. Cook your vegetables, mixing often so that they do not burn.
  5. Mix the vegetables and pork and generously glaze with the sweet & sour sauce.

Featured on: Premeditated Leftovers, 33 Shades of Green, Chef in Training, Simple Living

Stay Rad -h


  1. You crack me up! I always feel the need for a disclaimer whenever I cook any ethnic dish.

    Your sweet and sour pork looks great!

  2. Even though I always do my research into the dish and its tradition, I always feel a bit worried that there will be some backlash. Either way, this was my favourite sweet and sour Ive had.