Chinese Sweet and Sour Pork

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Ingredients (27)

For the pork

  • 12 ounces pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce
  • 4 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

For the sweet and sour sauce

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons potato starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the batter

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons potato starch
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • Cold water

For cooking

  • Peanut or canola oil
  • ½ cup red bell pepper in 1-inch squares
  • ¼ cup fresh pineapple in 1-inch cubes
  • ¼ cup *yellow onion in 1-inch dice
  • ½ cup carrot in ½-inch thick diagonal slices

Chewy, tangy-sweet, and comforting, sweet and sour pork is arguably the best known, most-loved dish in Americanized Chinese restaurant repertoire. You begin by marinated pieces of tenderloin with soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, and a modest twist: Asian fish sauce. Separately, make the sweet and sour sauce (water, more vinegar, ketchup, sugar, and some potato starch for thickening). Assemble a simple potato-starch batter, then deep-fry each of the elements (batter-coated pork, fresh pineapple, and vegetables), one by one. Finally, assemble all the elements in a wok or large frying pan until everything’s cooked, glossy, and delicious. Steamed white or brown rice is an essential accompaniment.

For more, check out our Easy Chicken Stir Fry and Grace Young’s Stir-Fried Ginger Beef.

Instructions

  1. 1Place the pork in a mixing bowl and add the soy sauce, fish sauce, 1 teaspoon of the rice vinegar, and the ginger. Set aside to marinate for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a single layer of paper towels and set a wire rack over the top. Set aside.
  2. 2Prepare the sauce by whisking together the water, the remaining rice vinegar, ketchup, sugar, 1 1 /2 teaspoons of potato starch, and the salt until all the starch lumps are dissolved. Set aside.
  3. 3Make the batter by whisking together the flour, 2 tablespoons of potato starch, and the baking powder in a medium mixing bowl. Add the egg to a large measuring cup and beat. Add enough cold water to make a total of 2/3 cup. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir just until no large lumps remain. Try not to beat the batter too much—this will make it tough.
  4. 4Place a deep-sided Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add enough oil to measure 1 inch from the bottom. Heat the oil to 350°F, using a deep-fry thermometer to ensure the proper temperature.
  5. 5Drop the marinated pork pieces into the batter, stirring with a fork or chopsticks to make sure each piece is evenly coasted. Carefully drop the battered pork into the hot oil and fry until the pieces are an even golden brown. Transfer to the prepared rack to drain.
  6. 6Carefully drop the red bell pepper squares into the hot oil and fry until they’re barely cooked and the color has brightened, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the prepared rack. Continue frying and draining the pineapple, the onion, and the carrot.
  7. 7To finish, place a wok or large nonstick frying pan over high heat and get it hot, about 3 minutes. Give the sweet and sour sauce a stir to combine anything that has settled to the bottom and pour it into the wok. Bring it to a boil and cook until lightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the pork and vegetables and toss to coat evenly with the sauce. Transfer to a warmed serving platter and serve with steamed rice.
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