Restaurant Style Sweet and Sour Pork/Chicken: Make it Yourself!

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Sweet & Sour Pork

I was hoping to find some turkey wings at the grocery to make my do-ahead freezer turkey gravy (a flavorful gravy which can be used alone or added to turkey drippings). There weren’t any in the poultry case, but I did see some nice boneless pork chops on sale, so those went into my cart.

My original thought was a simple dinner of fried pork chops and sliced fried potatoes. Somehow by the time supper rolled around, the fried pork chop idea lost its appeal. So I cut the chops up into bite sized pieces for sweet and sour pork, the kind that’s ubiquitous in Chinese restaurants.

I had a couple bell peppers from the garden in the refrigerator, plus a can of pineapple chunks in the pantry, and I always have rice on hand. I was good to go. 

Here’s the recipe and it’s pretty simple. Originally made with chicken, pork chops or pork tenderloin make good substitutions. 

The one thing I’ll caution you about is that the small pieces of meat cook real quick, regardless if you use pork, or chicken, so don’t overcook or they’ll tend to be dry. The coating puffs up as the pork fries and is golden brown and crispy. 

Use a good store bought sweet and sour sauce or make your own. There’s 2 versions here – and for the life of me I can’t recall the origin of each. Both are really good, though!

Restaurant style sweet and sour pork

Again, chicken works well too. 

Ingredients

Boneless pork or pork tenderloin, cut into bite size pieces and seasoned

Batter for meat (recipe follows)

Oil for frying (about an inch in a deep skillet)

Bell pepper, cut into chunks

Pineapple chunks, drained (save juice if making homemade sauce)

Sweet and sour sauce 

Cooked rice

Crispy and puffy batter

This makes enough for about 1 pound meat.

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons oil

1/3 cup cold water

Instructions

Whisk together salt, flour, cornstarch and baking powder.
Whisk in egg, oil and water until batter is smooth. 

Dip pieces in batter. Drop carefully into hot oil (375 degrees or until a little cube of bread fries golden in a few seconds).

Fry about 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown and meat is cooked through. Set aside on warm platter while cooking peppers and pineapple.

Remove most of the hot oil from pan (careful here!) and cook peppers and pineapple a bit until peppers are crisp tender. 

Pour sweet and sour sauce into pan with peppers and pineapple. When sauce gets hot, add cooked pork and toss everything gently to coat. 

Serve with rice.

Homemade sweet and sour sauce #1

1 tablespoon plus 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch 

2 tablespoons cold water

1 cup canned pineapple juice (if not enough juice, add water)

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 to 1/3 cup rice vinegar

Catsup to taste – start with 3 tablespoons

Soy sauce to taste – start with 2 tablespoons

Drop of red food coloring (optional)

Instructions: sauce

Whisk cornstarch and water together to make a slurry/paste. Set aside.

Put everything else in a pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. 

Lower to a simmer, stir in cornstarch slurry and whisk until thickened.

Can be made ahead and stored in refrigerator.

Homemade sweet and sour sauce #2

Use a store bought or make this homemade version. This makes enough for about 1 pound meat.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon plus 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch 

2 tablespoons cold water

1 cup canned pineapple juice (if not enough juice, add water)

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 to 1/3 cup rice vinegar

Catsup to taste – start with 3 tablespoons

Soy sauce to taste – start with 2 tablespoons

Drop of red food coloring (optional)

Instructions

Whisk cornstarch and water together to make a slurry/paste. Set aside.

Put everything else in a pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. 

Lower to a simmer, stir in cornstarch slurry and whisk until thickened.

Can be made ahead and stored in refrigerator.

Sweet & Sour Pork

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