Sweet and sour pork is normally pork that is battered and fried, combined with onions, peppers and pineapple with a rich sweet and tangy sauce. For a healthier version I decided to stir fry the pork which to my surprise turned out really well. The pork was very tender and paired with fresh pineapple rather than from a can made for a very flavorful dish. The recipe comes from The Woks of Life, one of my favorite bloggers for authentic Asian dishes. They have several sweet and sour recipes to choose from but this is my favorite. I love the colors and the flavors of this dish. The sauce is tangy which I think is a better term than sour and the fresh pineapple brings out the sweetness. Ladle over rice for a complete meal that you won’t soon forget.
Cut up approximately 1 pound of pork. I found a sale on boneless thick pork chops that worked well for me. A pork shoulder or pork butt roast is also a good choice. I don’t do green bells so I doubled up on the red bell pepper, along with some big chunks of onion and 2 big rings of fresh pineapple cut into chunks.
The sauce consists of sugar, ketchup, rice wine vinegar, Chinese five spice powder and fresh ginger. The Woks of Life made their sauce with white vinegar. I have made it both ways and found that the white vinegar makes the sauce a bit more tart than tangy.
Peel ginger and make 2 slices about 1 inch in length. Smash the ginger with the blade of a knife. Heat a saucepan with a drizzle of oil and saute the ginger for 1 – 2 minutes turning as it begins to caramelize.
The sauce will probably still be thin. If so add a cornstarch slurry of 1 tablespoon cornstarch to 1 tablespoon of water. Stir together and add to the sauce. Stir until thickened. Remove the pieces of ginger
Heat a wok over high heat until it begins to smoke. Fry the pork over high heat turning every minute or so. Cook in batches so you can layer the cuts of pork in a single layer and they may cook more evenly.
If you have a lid, set it on and let them steam. Steaming them will make the process quicker but if you don’t have a lid, that’s okay too. Just stir the onions and peppers every couple minutes until they are tender.
Serve over rice.
Stir Fried Sweet and Sour Pork (adapted from The Woks of Life)
1 pound Pork, such as a pork roast or boneless thick pork chops, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons Water
Pinch of Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Sesame Oil
1 teaspoon Soy Sauce
1/2 large Onion, cut into big chunks
1 Red Bell Pepper, cut into big chunks
2 large slices of Pineapple, cut into chunks (or may use an 15 ounce can Pineapple Chunks)
Sweet and Sour Sauce
1 teaspoon Oil, (canola or vegetable)
2 slices Ginger, mashed with a knife
1/4 cup Ketchup
1 1/2 cups Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup Sugar
Pinch of Chinese Five Spice Powder
Cornstarch Slurry (1 tablespoon Cornstarch plus 1 tablespoon Water)
Cut up the pork into cubes and add the garlic powder, onion powder, sesame oil, soy sauce and water. Stir so that every piece of the pork is coated in the marinade. Let marinate in the refrigerator while the sauce is made (approximately 30 minutes).
Peel ginger and make 2 slices about 1 inch in length. Smash the ginger with the blade of a knife. Heat a saucepan with a drizzle of oil and saute the ginger for 1 – 2 minutes turning as it begins to caramelize. Add the ketchup and let simmer for 2 minutes, stirring so as not to burn. Add the vinegar and sugar to the ketchup mix. Stir on low until the sugar dissolves. Add the five spice powder and turn the heat down low and let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes. This will give the sauce time for the flavors to meld together. Add the slurry to the sauce and stir while it thickens. Remove from heat. If using immediately leave on the stove or refrigerate if using at a later time.
Heat a wok over high heat until it begins to smoke. Fry the pork over high heat turning every minute or so. Cook in batches so you can layer the cuts of pork in a single layer and they may cook more evenly. When all of the pork is cooked, remove to a warming plate to keep warm.
Reheat the wok and add the onion and red pepper. Drizzle some oil over the vegetables and set a lid on to steam if you have one. If not, the onions and peppers will take a little longer to cook through. Toss the veggies so that they cook evenly. They should be crisp but cooked through. If cooked too long the vegetables will be soggy. Add the pineapple to the wok and cook 2 – 3 minutes. As the pineapple begins to release it’s juices, add the pork back to the wok and stir together.
Stir in the sweet and sour sauce with the pork, pineapple and vegetables. Stir until every piece is coated with the sauce. Serve over white or brown rice.