SWEET AND SOUR PORK WITH VEGGIES
Once you’ve made this version, I promise you’ll never go back to a mediocre Chinese restaurant for sweet and sour pork again. Sweet and sour pork is a classic Cantonese dish. Its fame is such that the Chinese call it gu lao rou, meaning pork with a long history.
250 gr fresh pineapple (about ¼ small)
1 small onion
few green beans
½ green pepper
few broccoli florets
1 spring onion
2 to 3 long red chillies, seeded
2 garlic cloves
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Maizena (½ cup), plus 1 tsp extra
steamed or fried rice, to serve
1 scant teaspoon five-spice powder
2 teaspoon light soy sauce
2 teaspoon Vodka
1 teaspoon ginger juice (squeezed from 2 tbsp finely grated ginger)
1 egg, beaten
500 g pork neck (pork neck is best because it has a good distribution of lean meat and fat)
Sweet and sour sauce:
185 ml chicken stock (¾ cup)
125 ml tomato ketchup (½ cup)
1 tablespoon caster sugar, or to taste
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon black bean sauce
1 tablespoon brown malt vinegar
2 teaspoon light soy
½ teaspoon dark soy sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
For marinated pork, combine five-spice, light soy, vodka, ginger juice, egg and a pinch of salt in a bowl.
Cut pork into 3 cm pieces, add to marinade and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to marinate (15 minutes or overnight; if marinating overnight, mix in egg just before cooking).
For sweet and sour sauce, mix ingredients in a bowl, and season to taste with sugar and vinegar.
Cut pineapple into bite-sized pieces, cut onion and, thinly slice capsicums, carrot and greenbeans, prepare broccoli florets, cut spring onion into batons, thinly slice chillies, finely chop garlic and set aside separately on a tray.
Heat oil in a wok to 185ºC. Place maizena in a bowl, add pork cubes and toss to coat, then deep-fry in batches until browned and crisp (2-3 minutes; be careful, hot oil will spit). Remove pork with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat if desired for a crisper texture. Reserve oil in a heatproof container.
Wipe wok with paper towels, then heat 1 tbsp frying oil. When hot, add onion, chilli and garlic, and stir-fry until onion starts to colour (30 seconds).
Add capsicum and pineapple, carrot and greenbeans, and stir-fry until well combined.
Add sweet and sour sauce, bring to the boil, then add spring onion and broccoli and stir-fry until warmed through.
Meanwhile, combine extra maizena with 1 tbsp cold water and stir into boiling sauce to thicken.
Season to taste.
Return pork to wok to warm through (1-2 minutes), then serve with rice.
Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over.
Recipe and Photo: Elize de Kock