Can't believe why I waited so long to attempt this all-time favorite and classic Cantonese dish. I have never cooked this dish before, even though I have always wanted to do so. Lazy perhaps, but the main reason is it involves deep-frying and I tried to avoid deep-frying at home, where possible.
Merely browning or pan-frying the pork will not bring out the real flavour of this dish. You need to deep-fried the pork in hot oil till golden and crispy. Hot oil is essential to give it a crispy coat and seal in the precious meat juice, so that later you will not be biting into tough pieces of meat. Next, stir fry the side ingredients over high heat, pour in the mixed sauce (cook the sauce briefly) and finally toss in the crispy pork to coat the pieces with that savory sweet and sour sauce. What you need now is a bowl of hot rice.
The preparation ...
I used about 200g to 300g pork. I don't know whether this portion is called tenderloin of what ??? but it's a long strip of pork with visible fats and it is used for making sweet and sour pork. If you buy your pork from butcher, tell him you are making sweet and sour pork. If from supermarket, the package will usually labelled it "for sweet and sour pork".
Cut the strip of pork into bite-sized cubes and marinate with about 1 tbsp soy sauce, a little each of sesame oil, pepper, cooking wine and corn starch. Leave in the fridge to marinate for about 2 hours. Then add about 1/2 beaten egg into the pork. Place some corn starch and potato starch (about 2 tbsp each) in a plate and toss in the pork pieces (discard the marinate sauce) to lightly coat them with the flour. Leave the flour-coated pork aside for a few minutes, as this helps the flour to coat on properly during deep-frying.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: 1 to 2 tbsp tomato sauce, 1 tsp chili sauce, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp black vinegar, a pinch of salt and mix well with about 4 to 5 tbsp water (or more). Get ready some corn starch solution (to thicken the sauce).
For the side ingredients: The star combination will be pineapple, green/red bell peppers (I substitute with Japanese cucumber and tomato) and onion for both taste and colour to the dish. Cut them into equal cube sizes. Chop up 2 cloves garlic too.
The cooking ...
Deep-fried the pork in hot oil till golden and crispy. Set aside and drain the oil. Clean the wok and bring it on high heat. Add cooking oil and stir fry the side ingredients with garlic till fragrant. Pour in the combined sauce (hear the sizzling as you pour the sauce into the wok .... I love this part... the aroma). Bring the sauce to a boil. Taste at this point if you need to add any more seasoning (more sweet... more sour etc). Thicken the sauce with a little cornstarch solution. Add in the deep-fried pork and toss to combine. Serve hot immediately.