Sweet and Sour Pork Stir-Fry

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In this classic takeaway-style sweet n’ sour pork stir fry recipe, crispy twice-cooked
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In this classic takeaway-style sweet n’ sour pork stir fry recipe, crispy twice-cooked pork shoulder strips are coated in a tangy sweet and sour sauce with pineapple chunks, sweet bell peppers and onions.

Originally published in May 2014. Updated and republished with new images and information in May 2021. This recipe is suitable for gluten-free diets.

Close up photograph of twice cooked pork coated in a tangy sweet and sour sauce.

Why you want to make this…

Craving Chinese food?

This classic takeaway-style sweet n’ sour pork stir fry recipe is just what you need!

In it, crispy twice-cooked pork shoulder strips are coated in a deliciously tangy sweet and sour sauce and served with pineapple chunks, sweet bell peppers and onions.

This recipe tastes just like a Chinese takeaway!

– fussy teenager.

This recipe has always been a hit with my kids; they think it tastes just like a Chinese takeaway meal does.

Clean plates all around too, for the win!

Top down image showing all the ingredients needed to make sweet and sour pork from scratch.What you’ll need…

  • Pork – shoulder cuts make for a more flavoursome finished dish.
  • Tamari soy sauce – a naturally gluten-free sauce used to flavour the pork marinade.
  • Egg yolk – acts as a liquid to get the cornflour to stick to the meat.
  • Cornflour – acts as a tenderiser, coating the pork so it doesn’t lose moisture when it’s deep-fried (see tips on velveting, below). Also used to thicken the sweet and sour sauce.
  • Sunflower oil – some for deep-frying the twice-cooked pork and a little more for stir-frying the vegetables.
  • Sweet bell peppers – use either green, red or yellow or a combination of all three.
  • Onion – red, white or brown, as you wish. I’ve used red as it’s got a sweeter flavour that the kids like.
  • Garlic – two finely chopped cloves, for a mild garlic flavour.
  • Pineapple chunks in juice – for convenience and flavour. Reserve the juice to use in the sweet and sour sauce.
  • Vinegar – distilled white vinegar will do, but you can substitute this with apple cider vinegar. Either will provide the characteristic sour punch to the sauce.
  • Caster sugar – adds more sweetness to the sauce. Substitute with granulated if desired.
  • Water – for stir-frying the peppers and adding liquid to the sauce.
  • Tomato ketchup – don’t be judgy now. This adds the right level of tart flavour to the sauce. Substitute with 1/2 the quantity of tomato puree if you wish but it won’t taste the same.
  • Sea salt – to balance the sweet and sour perfectly.
  • Spring onions – to garnish (optional)

YouTube Video

How to make it…

  1. Marinade your pork strips in cornflour, soy sauce and a beaten egg yolk for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Make the sweet and sour sauce by combining pineapple juice, vinegar, sugar, water and tomato ketchup in a small bowl.
  3. Coat the marinated pork strips in more cornflour and deep-fry in hot oil, twice.
  4. Stir-fry the peppers, onions and pineapple in a little oil.
  5. Add the sweet and sour sauce, bring to the boil and thicken with cornflour.
  6. Add the crispy pork strips and mix well to coat. Serve immediately.

Click here for the full recipe instructions.

Photograph of small bowls with the ingredients needed to make sweet and sour pork, with the cornflour coated pork strips in the foreground.Tips for making sweet and sour pork

  • prep everything in advance – chop your vegetables, mix the sauce, marinate the meat and dissolve the cornflour in water so that it’s all ready to go. Separate bowls make this easier.
  • use a digital thermometer to keep track of the temperature of the hot oil. Bring the oil back up to 180 C between each batch.
  • serve sweet and sour pork immediately while the pork is still crispy from deep-frying.

Where does sweet and sour pork come from?

Sweet and sour pork is a classic Cantonese dish from the Guangdong province in China. The Chinese call it gu lao rou 咕咾肉, and although there are many different recipes, most involve pork, pineapple and bell peppers.

What’s the best pork for sweet and sour pork?

Pork shoulder cuts make for a more flavoursome finished dish because they contain more fat. Alternatively, use neck fillet or tenderloin. We recommend sourcing your meat from a UK-bred high-welfare farm.

Why is Chinese takeaway meat so tender?

Chinese takeaway meat is so tender and silky because they use a special technique called velveting. Velveting (tenderising) is a method of marinating meat with cornstarch and a little bit of egg, soy sauce and/or oil before cooking.

This creates a layer of silkiness around the protein which you will recognise from Chinese takeaways.

Photo of a hand holding chopsticks with a piece of crispy pork from sweet and sour pork.Tips for a tender pork stir fry

  • slice your meat in thin strips against the grain. This shortens the fibres which help make the meat tender.
  • use the velveting technique in this recipe. The cornflour marinade before pre-cooking the pork results in a very tender finished meat.

How do you make pork crispy?

Double frying the pork after it’s been marinaded and dredged in cornflour coats the meat in a protective, crispy layer, which means it’ll remain crispy when mixed with the sauce.

Serve immediately with rice or noodles.

Image of sweet and sour pork on a plate with chopsticks to the side. There's a red cast iron kettle on the Rangemaster in the background.

Image of sweet and sour pork.

Print Sweet and Sour Pork Stir-fry Recipe

Crispy twice-cooked pork shoulder strips coated in a deliciously tangy sweet and sour sauce with pineapple chunks, sweet bell peppers and onions.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Marinating 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Servings 4 people
Calories 384kcal
Author Elizabeth
Equipment

  • frying pan
  • thermometer
  • large saucepan
  • small bowl
  • kitchen towel
  • timer
  • slotted spoon
  • measuring jug
Ingredients

For the crispy twice-cooked pork

For the vegetables

  • 1.5 red bell peppers or a mix of red, green and/or yellow, chopped
  • 1 onion coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 150 grams tinned pineapple in juice cut into pieces
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil for cooking
For the sweet and sour sauce

Instructions

  • Prepare pork marinade by combining the soy sauce, egg yolk and 1 tbsp of cornstarch together in a medium sized bowl. Stir in the pork pieces and leave to marinade for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare peppers, onion, garlic and pineapple and place in separate bowls. It can get frantic while cooking and so having everything prepared in advance makes it much easier.
  • Prepare sauce by combining the pineapple juice, vinegar, sugar, water and tomato sauce together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Stir the remaining 6 tbsp cornstarch into the pork. It gets a bit gloopy but I find once it’s well combined you can separate the pork pieces onto two plates for ease of handling. They’ll separate during frying.
  • Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed pan to 180 °C. Keep the lid nearby just in case the oil gets too hot and catches fire (just pop the lid on to put it out).
  • Deep fry the pork in two batches for 3 minutes. Use a kitchen timer! Remove pork with a slotted spoon and place on a plate next to the cooker.
  • When both batches of pork have been cooked pop them all back into the hot oil for a further 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain in a bowl lined with kitchen towel. Keep warm (I put a plate over the top to keep the heat in).
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok or frying pan and stir fry the peppers for 2 minutes. Remove peppers and keep warm.
  • Add remaining 3 tbsp oil and stir fry the garlic for 30 seconds. Add the onion and pineapple and stir fry for a further minute.
  • Return peppers to the pan and pour in the sauce.
  • Bring to the boil and stir in the cornflour dissolved in the water to thicken.
  • When thickened stir in the pork pieces and toss lightly to coat the pork in the sauce completely.
  • Serve immediately with rice or noodles.
Video

Notes

A typical 435 gram tin of sliced pineapple in the juice will give you enough pineapple to make this recipe, plus 4 slices leftover for a pineapple upside-down cake for afters if you fancy!

Nutrition

Calories: 384kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 1272mg | Potassium: 523mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 1396IU | Vitamin C: 58mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg

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The post Sweet and Sour Pork Stir-Fry appeared first on Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.

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Kick-Ass content from the Back Benches every day ! We bring you the kind of shows that TV doesn't make ! Get ready to see the world from the back benches. We are responsible for only what we say, not what you understand ;)

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Kick-Ass content from the Back Benches every day ! We bring you the kind of shows that TV doesn’t make ! Get ready to see the world from the back benches. We are responsible for only what we say, not what you understand ;)

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