From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This dish is a staple on the menus of American Chinese restaurants. It's one of those dishes that is more popular in the United States than it is in China where you will find the sauce more commonly served with fish. Most of you are familiar with this twice-fried and highly caloric treat. Interestingly, it is not universally enjoyed by diners and it has as many detractors as fans. My own family illustrates the point. The Silver Fox loves it, me, not so much. We eat a lot of Chinese food, so it ends up on our table, by default, several times a year. The version I make retains the yin and yang of the sweet and sour combination, but I've completely changed the way the pork is prepared. The pork in my version is stir-fried in a minimal amount of oil and never sees the deep-fryer. I also use more vegetables and keep the sauce slightly thinner than what you would find on a restaurant plate. People are often flummoxed by the quantities in Chinese recipes. Dishes that looks like they will feed two people are meant to feed four. That's because a typical Chinese meal consists of several courses and smaller portions are more appropriate when you have many dishes on the table. The recipe I'm featuring today looks long and complicated. It's not. Most of the ingredients used here go into sauce components that come together in minutes. Better still, all of those ingredients can be found in any grocery store. If sweet and sour combinations appeal to you, I suspect you'll like this lighter version of the real thing. The dish has great eye appeal and will add wonderful color to your table. I hope you will give it a try. Here's the recipe.
Sweet and Sour Pork...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
Sweet and Sour Sauce3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon pineapple juice from canned pineapple chunks
Sherry-Soy Mixture3 tablespoons dry sherry or Shaoxing rice wine
5 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
Pork2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 cup coarsely chopped red and green bell peppers
3/4 cup coarsely chopped onion
3/4 cup canned pineapple chunks
1 (12-oz.) pork tenderloin thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1) To make sweet and sour sauce: In a small bowl combine water and cornstarch, and stir to mix them well. Set aside. Combine chicken stock, vinegar, sugar, ketchup, and pineapple juice in a small saucepan. Stir with a fork or a whisk to combine everything well. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat and cook 1 minute. Stir in cornstarch mixture and cook just until sauce becomes shiny and thickened. Remove from heat and keep warm.
2) To make sherry-soy mixture: Combine sherry, soy sauce, and salt in a small bowl and stir well.
3) Heat a wok or a large, deep skillet over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil and swirl to coat pan. Add ginger and garlic, toss well and cook until fragrant about 15 seconds. Add bell peppers and onions and cook, tossing often, until fragrant and beginning to wilt. Add pineapple and cook 1 minute more. Transfer mixture to a platter, leaving as much cooking liquid in pan as possible.
4) Heat pan again. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil if needed. Add pork and stir-fry just until no longer pink, about 1 minute. Quickly add sherry-soy sauce mixture and toss well. Return bell pepper mixture to pan and toss to mix everything together well. Add sweet-and-sour sauce and cook, tossing often, until all ingredients are evenly seasoned. Add green onion and toss again. Transfer to a serving platter and serve hot or warm. Yield 3 to 4 servings.
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