Chinese Sweet-and-sour Pork

Sweet-and-sour pork must be one of the most popular dishes served in Chinese restaurants and take-aways in the Western world. Unfortunately, it is often spoiled by cooks who use too much tomato ketchup in the sauce. Here is a classic recipe from Canton, the city of its origin.


serves 4
350 g (12 oz) lean pork
1.5 ml (1/4 tsp) salt
2.5 ml 1/2 tsp) ground Szechuan peppercorns
15 ml (1 tbsp) Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
115 g (4 oz) bamboo shoots
30 ml (2 tbsp) plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
vegetable oil, for deep-frying

for the sauce

15 ml (1 tbsp) vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 spring onion, cut into short sections
1 small green pepper, seeded and diced
1 fresh red chilli, seeded and thinly shredded
15 ml (1 tbsp) light soy sauce
30 ml (2 tbsp) light brown sugar
30 - 45 ml (2 - 3 tbsp) rice vinegar
15 ml (1 tbsp) tomato puree
about 120 ml (4 fl oz) cup Basic Stock or water


1. Cut the pork into small bite-sized cubes and place in a shallow dish. Add the salt, peppercorns and rice wine or dry sherry and set aside to marinate for 15 - 20 minutes.

2. Drain the bamboo shoots, if canned, and cut them into small cubes the same size as the pork.

3. Dust the pork with flour, dip in the beaten egg and coat with more flour. Heat the oil in a preheated wok and deep-fry the pork in moderately hot oil for 3 - 4 minutes, stirring to separate the pieces. Remove and drain.

4. Reheat the oil until hot, return the pork to the wok and add the bamboo shoots. Fry for about 1 minute, or until the pork is golden. Remove and drain well.

5. To make the sauce, heat the oil in a clean wok or frying pan and add the garlic, spring onion, green pepper and red chilli. Stir-fry for 30-40 seconds, then acid the soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, tomato puree and stock or water. Bring to the boil, then add the pork and bamboo shoots. Heat through and stir to mix, then serve.

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