15 Minute Monday – Sweet and Sour Pork

Hi my name is Jessica and I love pork.

That’s it plain and simple. I love pork in any which way it can come – pork chops, bacon, ham, jamón ibérico, prosciutto – I love it. Unfortunately for me Ben isn’t as bigger fan of this delicious anomal as I am, but he is well and truly coming around to it thanks to my delicious recipe for sweet and sour pork.

After some research and recipe tweaking and I have come up with a recipe for the most delicious, succulent and non-deep fried sweet and sour pork that you will ever have. In fact, this recipe has become a weekly request in my house with pork finding its way to our shopping trolley without my guiding hand. So ditch the take-away menu and the jars of suspiciously gelatinous, fluro ‘sweet and sour sauce’ because this recipe is chinch to make and it is delicious!

Ingredients

  • 600g of pork – I use heart smart steaks, diced. You can use chicken if you’d prefer
  • 2 tbs of cornflour
  • 2 tbs of plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tbs of peanut oil
  • 1 medium brown onion – halved and sliced
  • 1 large red capsisum – cut into strips
  • 1 large carrot – cut into matchsticks or julienned if you’re feeling fancy
  • 1 head of broccoli – cut into florets
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Steamed rice to serve

Ingredients – Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 2 tbs white vinegar
  • 1 tbs shao sing wine (Chinese cooking wine) or rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs sweet chilli sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbs ketchup manis
  • 2 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1 tbs tomato paste

Method

  1. Place the pork, cornflour, plain flour and salt in a bag, combine, add pork and shake/rattle/roll to evenly coat the pork. This coating works thicken the sauce and to provide a healthy version of the delicious coating you get on sweet and sour pork in Chinese restaurants without having to deep fry the pork.
  2. Combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine.
  3. Meanwhile, heat peanut oil in a large pan over high heat. Add onion and fry until translucent.
  4. Add pork and stir well to ensure all sides brown.
  5. Meanwhile, cook rice in rice cooker as per packet instruction, if you have a steamer tray on your rice cooker add your vegetables to the steaming tray halfway through cooking. I like to add the harder vegetables to the bottom layer i.e. carrot and broccoli stalks, then the softer vegetables like capsicum on the top layer.
  6. Once the pork has browned add the sauce, water and stir to coat all pieces of pork. Add the vegetables, reduce to a low heat and cover to simmer for five minutes or until the pork is cooked.
  7. Serve with steamed rice. 

Now I can’t go past a post on pork without one of my favourite pork quotes….

Pressure Cooker Char Siu Pork

Image: Super Food Ideas - August 2011, Page 60. Photographer: Mark O'Meara.

Image: Super Food Ideas – August 2011, Page 60. Photographer: Mark O’Meara.

This is a recipe for the lovely, sticky, red-coated pork that you see hanging in Chinese restaurant windows. Char siu is of Cantonese origin where skewers of pork are marinated in a honey, hoisin sauce and then roast in oven to charred, savoury and sticky sweet perfection.

This recipe smells divine as it cooks and is so easy to make. If there is a pork recipe that defines Chinese cooking, I think char siu would be it! And let’s face it, who doesn’t want an excuse to eat pork.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs peanut oil
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup of hoi sin sauce
  • ¼ cup of light soy sauce
  • ¼ cup dry sherry or Chinese shoasing wine or rice wine vinegar
  • 1L of chicken stock
  • 1kg of pork belly – bones removed
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1 tsp Chinese five-spice
  • 1 tbs red fermented bean curd – available from Asian grocers
  • 3 drops of red food colouring (optional)
  • A large pinch of white pepper (optional)
  • Serve with steam rice, steamed Asian greens and top with fried shallots

Method

  1. Set your pressure cooker to sauté. Add the soy sauce, sherry, stock, bean paste, food colouring, pepper, Chinese-five spice and ¼ cup of hoisin sauce. Allow to cook for five minutes or until slightly thickened.
  2. Score the top of the pork cutting through the skin in straight lines at 1-1.5cm intervals. Add the pork to the pressure cooker, turn to coat and submerge in the sauce – dependent on the size of your pressure cooker you may need to cut the pork in half.
  3. Set your pressure cooker and allow to cook for 30 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Remove the pork from the pressure cooker, allow to mildly cool and cut into 18 even-sized pieces. Reserve the cooking liquid.
  5.  Combine the honey, sesame oil, ¼ cup of hoi sin sauce and ¼ cup of cooking liquid in a bowl and set aside.
  6. Heat the peanut oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the pork and cook for 5-10 minutes, brushing with honey mixture every minute, until golden brown and well coated.
  7. Meanwhile, place 1 cup of the cooking liquid in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring to the boil and reduce to simmer for 3-5 minutes or until slightly thickened and almost syrupy.
  8. Serve the Char Siu pork with steam rice, steamed Asian green and sauce; top with crispy shallots.

Enjoy!