Saturday, April 11, 2009

Desperately Seeking Sweet and Sour Pork

When the twins were little and we were living in Tarpon Springs, on weekends we used to get takeout from a Chinese place a few miles away in Holiday.

All William would order was sweet and sour pork, chicken or shrimp.

Over the years, I have expanded his culinary horizons, but last night I decided to surprise him by making my own sweet and sour pork.

I have made versions of this in the past, skipping the battering and frying of the pork but frankly, it was nasty. This version was so good I wish there was some left this morning because I could eat it again right now. It is very important to use sushi vinegar or rice wine vinegar and brown sugar not granulated white sugar and distilled white vinegar, it makes all of the difference in the world.

I usually make pork or chicken egg rolls to go with Chinese dishes but decided to give a vegetarian version a whirl. William says now he doesn't want his egg rolls any other way.

Sweet and Sour Pork

2 lbs pork tenderloin

2 - 3 Tbs soy sauce

1 1/2 tsps cornstarch


1/2 cup light brown sugar

4 Tbs ketchup

4 Tbs dark soy sauce

1 cup reserved pineapple juice

1/2 cup rice wine (and only rice wine) vinegar

2 Tbs cornstarch dissolved in 8 tablespoons water


2 /3 cup flour

2/3 cup cornstarch

2 egg whites, lightly beaten

2 Tbs vegetable oil

2/3 cup warm water, as needed

2 carrots

1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 20 oz can of pineapple chunks in juice

Oil for deep-frying.


Cut the pork into 1-inch cubes. Marinate in the soy sauce and cornstarch for 20 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the sugar, ketchup, dark soy sauce, salt, water or juice and vinegar. Set aside. In a separate bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water. Set aside. Peel the carrot and chop on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces. Cut the bell peppers in half, remove the seeds and cut into cubes. Heat the oil for deep--frying to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. For the batter, combine the flour and cornstarch. Stir in the egg white and vegetable oil. Add as much of the warm water as is needed to form a thick batter that is neither too dry or too moist. (The batter should not be runny, but should drop off the back of a spoon). Dip the marinated pork cubes in the batter. Deep-fry9 in batches, taking care not to overcrowd the wok. Deep-fry the pork until it is golden brown. Remove and drain on brown paper . (If desired you can deep-fry the pork at second time to make it extra crispy. Make sure the oil is back up to 375 before you begin deep-frying again). To prepare the sweet and sour sauce, bring the sauce ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrot, green pepper, and pineapple. Bring to a boil again and thicken with cornstarch mixture, stirring. Check the sauce one more time and adjust seasonings, adding salt and/or vinegar if desired. Serve hot over the deep-fried pork. Serve the sweet and sour pork over rice.
Almost Emeril's Vegetarian Egg Rolls

Makes 8 - 10 egg rolls

2 Tbs good quality toasted sesame oil

2 Tbs corn oil

1/2 head of green cabbage, shredded

1 cup julienne carrots

12 oz sugar snap peas, minced
1 Tbs corn starch

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 - 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 package of egg roll wrappers

oil for deep frying

In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat the sesame and canola oil. Saute cabbage for 2 minutes. Add carrots and peas. Cook an additional 1 minute.
Whisk together cornstarch and soy sauce until smooth. Stir into vegetable mixture. Cook until sauce comes to a boil and is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
Lay the egg roll skins on a flat surface and lightly brush edges with water. Place approximately 1/8 of the filling at one end of each skin, leaving a 1/4-inch border at the top and sides. Roll wrapper over filling, tucking in the ends after the first roll.
When the oil is hot, about 350 degrees F, fry the egg rolls until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the fryer and drain on brown paper.


Your child who is too lazy to log in said...

Oh geez, mom. I'm reading this while Ryan finishes closing the club, I haven't eaten since 11:00 this morning, and this just made me so freaking hungry. It looks delicious.

Jill said...

You would REALLY like the egg rolls. The pork was good too, usually sweet and sour is not one of my favorites but it turned out really good. You could subsitute chicken chunks for the pork.
Of course, I used the deep fryer you gave me for Christmas and it is a wonderful thing. We need to get you one. You actally end up using less oil than frying in a pan.
Feeling a little lonely around here. Except for the first Easter after you and Ryan were born and still in the NICU, this is the first one without my kiddos in the house. Didn't want to bring Ryan home and jeopardize his transition.