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  • Writer's pictureJo Murray

Sweet & Sour Pork

We all have that one favourite dish when we go to a Chinese Restaurant. I'll put my hand up for my family and say it's always been Sweet and Sour Pork in Batter (of course). It's like the comfort food of the Chinese cuisine especially among us westerners. Like all cultures, the Chinese adapted their foods in restaurants to suit our taste buds to make their businesses successful in the early years. Now, however, the world has changed and everyone seems to be embracing other cultures and cuisines, or at least willing to give more traditional foods or dishes a go.

So what is it about this dish? My kids love the crunchy batter on the pork pieces smothered in the famous sweet and sour sauce that everyone is familiar with. Some Sweet and Sour sauces can be too sweet or too sour which obviously spoils the meal for the consumer but not this one.  This quick homemade sauce does nothing short of elevate the delicate tender pork to a point where taste buds explode at the moment of the first mouthful.

While I too enjoy that sauce covered battered piece of pork I know that we need to make the effort to cook healthier where we can and to be honest it's not that hard to do a few swap outs here and there to adapt recipes. I didn't really have to do much to this old school recipe to reduce the oil content. All that was needed to change was the cooking technique.

This recipe doesn't have a batter as such - just marinated pork tossed in cornflour prior to deep frying. I didn't deep fry, choosing to shallow fry the pork pieces. This process or using cornflour this way created a coating rather than a batter. It's a coating that soaks up the sauce, assisting the sauce sticking to the pork, very similar to the batter used in another of our favourite dishes, Nice Chicken.

Needless to say this recipe, which comes from a family favourite cookbook, the Australian Woman's Weekly Chinese Cooking Class Cookbook, was easy and full of flavour. If you can get yourself a copy of this cookbook you would be doing yourself a favour. It's full of wonderful recipes - some old school and some are favourites from your local Chinese Restaurant's menu. My mam has a copy, I have a copy, which is covered in food stains and falling apart, and recently I found another copy in an op shop which naturally I purchased as a back up due to the current condition of my original.

Melt in the mouth pork, crunchy vegetables, sweet pineapple enveloped in lip smacking sauce I think I would be allowed to cook this every night if my family had their way.......

Sweet & Sour Pork

(recipe adapted from Australian Woman's Weekly Chinese Cooking Class Cookbook)

Serves: 6

💚 9 sp per serve

💙 9 sp per serve

💜 9 sp per serve

2 teaspoons white sugar

3 tablespoons soy sauce (can be gluten free)

1 tablespoon dry sherry

1 egg yolk

1 kilogram lean pork fillet, cut into 2.5cm cubes

1/4 cup cornflour

1/2 cup canola oil

1 large onion, sliced

1 large red capsicum, diced

1 large green capsicum, diced

1 tablespoon canola oil, extra

440 gram can pineapple pieces

1 cup water

1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour, extra

2 tablespoons tomato sauce

1/4 cup white vinegar

1 chicken stock cube or 1 teaspoon chicken stock powder

freshly ground black pepper

Combine sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, sherry and egg yolk in a large bowl. Stir well. Add pork, mix well, ensuring pork is completely coated. Cover, leave for one hour, stirring occasionally.

Drain the meat from the marinate, reserve liquid.

Toss the meat lightly in cornflour.

Heat oil in a wok or shallow frying pan, cook meat, in batches until golden brown and cooked through, for about 7 minutes. Remove and drain on absorbent paper. Repeat until all cooked.

Heat remaining oil in wok. Add all the vegetables and saute for three to five minutes, or until slightly softened.

Mix together water and extra cornflour in a small jug.

Add pineapple juice, remaining soy sauce, tomato sauce, vinegar and crumbled stock cube or stock powder to the wok. Stir quickly to combine.

Add blended cornflour to the wok, stirring until sauce boils and thickens.

Add pineapple pieces and season with pepper to taste.

Return pork to wok, stir until combine and heated through.

Serve immediately.

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