Those two pork chops were making me feel guilty. They were on the small side and languished in the freezer for weeks because every time I saw them, I’d think, ‘That’s not enough meat for the two of us’.
So they had to be used up. ‘I know,’ I said to myself, ‘I’ll make sweet and sour pork and throw in loads of vegetables to bulk it out. Healthy and efficient.’
The thing is, I’ve never made sweet and sour anything from scratch before. That is how I found myself with cornflour in my hair, cement-hard balloons of batter on the ends of all my fingers and four messy plates on the counter top.
From left to right…
- Plate 1: marinated cubes of pork
- Plate 2: egg white streaked with marinade
- Plate 3: cornflour with marinade/eggwhite lumps
- Plate 4: the battered pork cubes, ready for deep-frying.
I don’t own a deep-fryer so had to pour half a bottle of vegetable oil into a saucepan and hope for the best. It worked. I did keep an extremely close eye on it in case I inadvertently burned the house down.
I was also sceptical that the finished dish would taste anything like sweet and sour pork. But it really, really did. Who knew ketchup was such a prominent ingredient in sweet and sour sauce? Even Ken Hom has it in his incredibly complicated-looking recipe.
I have to admit I cobbled together this recipe from three or four different sources, so I could make use of what I had to hand. Also, every sweet and sour pork recipe I could find specifies green peppers and, to be frank, they give me horrid indigestion. So I used a red pepper.
Sweet and sour pork
2 pork chops
1 tblsp dark soy sauce
1 tblsp light soy sauce
1 heaped tsp brown sugar
1 tsp five spice paste (or half tsp five spice powder)
1 inch fresh ginger (chopped finely)
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
1 egg white
2 tblsp ketchup
1.5 tblsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
Half the juice from the tin of pineapples (see slightly further down)
The other stuff
1 red pepper
Half a 200g tin of pineapple in juice
1 cup basmati rice
1. Cut the fat off the pork and chop it into cubes. Mix up the marinade ingredients and mix in the cubes of pork. Leave for 30 minutes or so.
2. Chop the veggies into strips.
3. Mix up the sauce ingredients.
4. Put rice onto cook. (Add to saucepan with 2 cups water, bring to boil, turn down and cover, simmer for 10 mins. Once all the water has evaporated and there are lots of regular little holes in the surface of the rice, it’s done.)
5. Dip the marinated cubes of pork in the egg white and then roll in cornflour until well covered. Reserve the marinade.
6. Heat vegetable oil at 200C until it is hot enough to brown a bread cube in 30 secs. Deep fry pork for a couple of minutes until brown. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside.
7. Heat groundnut oil in frying-pan or wok and stir-fry the marinade for a minute or two. Add the veggies and keep stir-frying for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the sauce and add the pork and the pineapple to heat through for another minute or so.
8. Serve with rice.
This looks complicated but it wasn’t really. The key is to have everything ready before you start cooking. Be warned though. If you are anything like me, you will make a shocking mess in the kitchen preparing this. It will be worthwhile when you taste your creation 🙂