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Sweet and Sour Pork takes your taste buds on a tasty adventure, enveloped in a crispy golden embrace! Featuring perfectly fried, tender pork, colorful bell peppers, and pineapple coated in a delicious sweet and tangy sauce, this popular takeout classic never fails to please!
Easy Sweet And Sour Pork
This sweet and sour pork embodies the essence of Chinese-American cuisine, where a Chinese classic has received a modern makeover over the years. Here, tender pork takes center stage, delivering a delicious contrast of crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, coated in an incredible sauce. With each bite, you’ll experience a delightful harmony between the perfectly fried pork and the medley of bell peppers, onions, and pineapple.
Why You’ll Love This Sweet And Sour Pork
- Easy Recipe! Even if you’re new to cooking, you can easily make this takeout classic. You’ll be amazed by how simple it is to prepare a restaurant-quality dish in the comfort of your kitchen.
- Tasty Takeout Classic! This recipe captures the authentic flavor of sweet and sour pork with crispy pork perfectly complemented by a sauce that strikes the ideal balance between sweet and tangy.
- Family Favorite! The whole family will love this dish, including the little ones! Plus, you can adjust the level of sweetness and tanginess to suit your family’s preferences.
- Pork: I used pork shoulder, which is a tender and flavorful cut perfect for this dish. You can also use pork tenderloin or pork loin if you prefer.
- Baking Soda: Helps to tenderize the pork as it marinates.
- Fresh Ginger: Provides an aromatic and zesty kick.
- Soy Sauce: Seasons the pork and infuses it with umami goodness. I like to use low-sodium soy sauce to control the saltiness of the marinade.
- Cornstarch: This key ingredient is responsible for creating the delicious crispy coating.
- Salt and Black Pepper: Used to season the pork before cooking.
- Rice Vinegar: Adds a slightly sweet touch of acidity that gives the sauce a tang and helps to balance the sweetness. If needed, you can use apple cider vinegar as a substitute.
- Brown Sugar: The molasses in brown sugar plays a key role in providing a rich, caramel-like sweetness and contributes to the sauce’s thickness.
- Chicken Broth: Forms the base of the sauce and helps to dissolve the cornstarch. I like to use low-sodium chicken broth to control the amount of added salt.
- Ketchup: This kitchen staple adds to the sweet and tangy flavor profile.
- Tomato Paste: Adds body to the texture and depth of flavor to the sauce with another layer of umami.
- Pineapple Juice: This is an important key ingredient that provides natural sweetness and a hint of tropical flavor.
- Cornstarch: Essential for thickening the sauce. You can substitute it with arrowroot starch if you prefer.
- Salt: Used to taste to season the sauce.
- Bell Peppers: Green bell pepper and red bell pepper add texture and flavor to the dish as well as a pop of vibrant color.
- Onion: Complements the pork and adds another layer of texture. Brown onion works best in stir fry.
- Garlic: Freshly minced garlic provides a delicious pungent and aromatic flavor.
- Pineapple Chunks: Provide bursts of sweet tropical flavor and a contrasting texture.
- Vegetable Oil: Used for frying the pork and stir-frying the veggies.
This Chinese classic is far simpler than you might imagine! You don’t need any exotic ingredients or special culinary skills. In fact, the entire dish comes together in under an hour!
The first step is to infuse the pork with flavor and tenderize the meat! In a large bowl, toss the pork with the baking soda, minced garlic, grated ginger, and soy sauce. Then let the pork marinate for 10 to 15 minutes while you move on to the next step.
While the pork marinates, whisk all the sweet and sour sauce ingredients together in a separate bowl until the cornstarch dissolves completely. Then set the sauce aside.
After marinating the pork, season it with salt and pepper. Then toss the meat in cornstarch, making sure to coat every surface. This step is crucial for achieving the desired crispy texture.
Now the cooking begins! First, heat half of the vegetable oil over medium-high in a large skillet. Next, add the cornstarch-coated pork cubes and fry them until they turn a light golden color. Then remove them from the pan and set them aside. This is just the first fry to ensure that the pork turns out extra crispy.
Now, add the other half of the vegetable oil to the skillet and fry the pork cubes one more time until they are golden brown and crispy. Then remove the cooked pork and set it aside.
Once you’ve fried the pork, heat another tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large wok or pan. Then add the onion and bell peppers and cook them for about a minute until they soften. Next, add the minced garlic and stir-fry the mixture for just another 30 seconds.
With the pork and veggies cooked, it’s time to bring all the components of the dish together! Pour the sweet and sour sauce mixture into the wok. Next, let it cook for a minute while stirring until it thickens and becomes glossy. Then add the fried pork cubes and pineapple chunks, and toss everything together. Finally, serve your sweet and sour pork with steamed rice or noodles!
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I add to the dish?
You can easily customize sweet and sour pork. Common additions include sliced carrots, snow peas, broccoli florets, and water chestnuts. You can also adjust the sweetness of the sauce or even add a touch of spice. Feel free to get creative.
Can I use a different protein instead of pork?
Absolutely! Feel free to substitute the pork with chicken, shrimp, or tofu. Simply adjust the cooking time as necessary to ensure your chosen protein cooks thoroughly.
Why is my pork not crispy?
This can happen due to a few factors. First, make sure you coat the pork thoroughly with cornstarch before frying to enhance its crisp texture. Secondly, the oil must be hot enough before you add the pork. Lastly, double-fry the pork to get that perfect crunch.
- Prep in advance. Before you start cooking, have all your ingredients measured, chopped, and ready to go. The cooking process happens quickly.
- Double frying is important. To achieve that coveted crispy texture for the pork, don’t skip the double-frying step. The initial fry creates a light outer crust, while the second fry ensures a perfect, crunchy coating.
- Maintain the oil temperature. When frying, maintain a consistent medium-high temperature. This prevents the pork from becoming greasy and helps it stay crispy.
- Adjust the sauce consistency. If your sweet and sour sauce becomes too thick while cooking, you can add a little more chicken broth. If it’s too thin, you can thicken it with a cornstarch slurry.
You can store leftover sweet and sour pork in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Then reheat it in the microwave for a few minutes on medium power or in a skillet on the stovetop.
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Sweet And Sour Sauce
- In a bowl, combine pork cubes with baking soda, minced garlic, grated ginger, and soy sauce. Mix well and let marinate for 10-15 minutes to infuse flavor and tenderize the meat.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together all the sauce ingredients. Make sure to dissolve the cornstarch completely. Set aside.
- After marinating, season the pork with salt and pepper, then toss them in cornstarch to coat.
- Heat half the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the pork cubes until they turn light golden. Remove and set aside. This first fry is to ensure extra crispiness.
- Add the remaining oil to the skillet and re-fry the pork cubes until golden brown and crispy. Remove and set aside.
- In a large wok or pan, heat another tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and bell peppers and cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds until aromatic.
- Pour the sweet and sour sauce mixture in the wok and stir well until the sauce get thick and glossy. Add the fried pork and pineapple chunks to the wok, toss everything together well. Cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat.
- Dish it out hot over a bed of steamed rice or noodles.
- Double Frying: The pork is fried twice to ensure maximum crispiness. Don’t skip this step to achieve that restaurant-quality crunch.
- Sauce Consistency: Ensure the cornstarch is fully dissolved in the sauce mixture to avoid lumps when cooking.
- Veggies: Feel free to add or substitute other vegetables like carrots or snap peas, depending on your preference.
- Oil Temperature: Ensure the oil is hot enough before frying the pork to avoid them soaking up excess oil and becoming soggy. A small piece of bread should sizzle upon contact.
- Serving Suggestion: For a spicier kick, consider garnishing with some sliced green onions or drizzling with a bit of chili oil before serving.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.