Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and sour dishes are extremely popular at Chinese restaurants and seem to be on every menu. This at-home version can be made any night of the week!

I like my sweet and sour sauce to be balanced. At most restaurants, the sauce comes out way too sweet for my taste buds, so I use tomato paste to make the sauce. If you like it on the sweeter side, substitute ketchup for the tomato paste in this recipe and add chunks of pineapple.

This recipe could have just as easily been make with chicken, so use whichever one you prefer. I wanted to try the pork version and had a few thin chops left over from making Hot and Sour soup the other day. The pork had a great flavor and was a nice change from using chicken for most recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces lean pork (you can use chicken breast as well)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • vegetable or peanut oil, for deep-frying
  • Cooked rice

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 scallion, cut into short sections
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and cut into a large dice
  • 1/2 can bamboo shoots, drained
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch strips (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup water

Instructions:

1. Cut the pork into small, bite-sized pieces and place in a shallow dish. Add salt, pepper and rice wine and marinate for 15-20 minutes.

2. Add oil to a wok or Dutch oven and heat to 350 degrees.

3. Dredge the pork in flour. Shake off the excess flour and dip pork in the beaten egg. Return pork to flour to coat. Deep fry the pork for 3 minutes, stirring to separate the pieces. Remove and drain.

4. When the oil has returned to temperature, return the pork to the pan and fry for another 1-2 minutes until pork is golden. Remove and drain well.

5. To make the sauce, heat the vegetable oil in a saute pan and add garlic, scallions, bell pepper, bamboo shoots and jalapeno pepper. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, then add the soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, tomato paste and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer 3-4 minutes until smooth. Add the pork and bamboo shoots and stir to mix. Serve immediately over rice. You do not want the pork to sit in the sauce too long prior to serving or it will begin to soak up the sauce.

 

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