Tender bites of battered pork, fried crispy golden, then tossed in saucy, sweet and tangy goodness. Yum-O!
As far back as I can remember, right from childhood, up to present day, no matter which home was home at the time, when Chinese food delivery gets ordered, someone, always, almost instantly, pipes up, "Sweet & Sour Pork, please!"
I bet Forest Grump even knows what number Sweet & Sour Pork is, on that take-out menu, that is the stand-by, for ordering in, when we go to his Dad's house, for dinner.
Now, I've been a part of the Stowell family sooooo long, that I'm not sure anymore, if this is as common in every household, but I have the sneaking suspicion that it might just be. Which makes me think that Sweet & Sour Pork is indeed one of the most definitive Chinese favorites, in our part of the world. Right?
So every once in awhile, with end goal being many happy man-smiles (oh yes, in this family, I'm smack dab in the middle of a lot of um, potent, boy-power!) I fiddle faddle up a good batch of S&S.
I use pork tenderloin, instead of shoulder/butt, 'cuz I think it holds it's own better, and cooks up crispy, tender. For the sauce, I always use fresh pineapple, sweet onion and lately those cute little, baby, yellow, orange and red sweet bell peppers. It all comes together pretty quick and easy. Then I throw some sticky rice in the rice cooker, and and hot and happy #14, is ready to roll.
SWEET & SOUR PORK ~ Serves 4-6
1 1/4 - 1 1/3 lbs. pork tenderloin, cut into irregular 1" dice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying
Sweet & Sour Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup Walla Walla, Vidalia, Maui, or other sweet onion, chopped roughly
1 cup mini sweet bell peppers, about 1-inch dice
1 plump garlic clove, minced
1 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup vinegar
Scant 1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 - 2 teaspoons dried chili flakes (Optional, if you'd rather no kicky heat)
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons pineapple juice
1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, peeled, core removed, chopped (pineapple style)
Put pork pieces in medium bowl, add soy sauce and garlic powder. Massage, massage, massage, those flavours into the pork. Cover and refrigerate 2-6 hours.
Meanwhile, you can make the sauce. In medium pot, over medium-high heat, pour in olive oil, add chopped onion, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes. Lower heat a bit, add chopped peppers, stir. After 1 minute add minced garlic, stir, stir. Cook about 1 minute more, then add pineapple juice, vinegar, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, chili flakes (if using). Stir to evenly combine. While gently whisking mixture, pour in cornstarch-pineapple juice slurry. Stirring frequently, cook until bubbles just break the surface of the liquid and the mixture is clear and thickened - about 5 - 7 minutes. Lower heat, add pineapple, stir to combine. Set aside.
Combine flour and cornstarch in a pie plate, or other shallow dish. Season generously with salt and pepper. In another pie plate, add eggs and whisk, whisk.
Batter each piece of pork, by coating in the flour mixture, then the whisked eggs, then the flour mixture again. Oh yeah mama, flour - egg - flour = damn good pork batter.
Heat oil in deep fryer, deep pan, or wok to about 350F. Once the oil is hot enough, do 2 to 3 batches, adding just enough battered pork, not too crowd, and frying until golden and cooked through, 5 - 7 minutes, turning over and scooting a bit, with a chopstick, as you fry. Drain on newspaper or paper towels and fry the next batch.
While frying, re-heat your sauce. Put cooked pork in a large-ish bowl, pour in warmed sauce, toss, toss and serve, with rice on the side, and a Happy #14 Smile.
Well just 'til next time.