Traditional Chinese Sweet and Sour Pork
This is so different and much better than the thick, fruity sweet and sour pork you get in most Chinese-American restaurants. The recipe is based on an old Time-Life cookbook series, 'Foods of the World'. I made a few changes, including the types and amounts of vegetables. This takes some work because of frying the pork but, other than that, preparation is easy. For an even quicker, easier, lighter but equally delicious version in which the pork is not fried, see my Easy Sweet and Sour Pork in the similar and related recipes links. If desired, chicken can be used in place of the pork in either recipe.
- 1 pound lean or well-trimmed boneless pork, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 cups peanut or canola oil
- 1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil
- 1 large green pepper, cut into 1-inch diagonal pieces
- 1 small red pepper, cut into 1-inch diagonal pieces
- 1 small onion, cut into small wedges
- 1 medium carrot, cut into diagonal slices
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water
Preheat oven to 250° F. To prepare the pork, first mix together the egg, salt, cornstarch, flour and chicken broth in a large bowl. Add the pork and stir until well coated. Heat the 3 cups oil in a large wok, saucepan or deep fryer. It is ready when it almost begins to smoke or at 375° F. Add half of the pork, one piece at a time. Stir a little to keep the pieces from sticking together. Fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon or spider, drain well and place in a small baking dish. Place in the warm oven. Fry the second batch and add it to the first.
To prepare the vegetables and sauce, remove all the oil from the wok or use a large skillet. Heat the wok over high heat. Add the tablespoon of oil and swirl it in the bottom for about 30 seconds. Add the peppers, onions and carrots. Stir-fry about 1 minute, reducing the heat if necessary. Add the garlic. Continue to stir-fry until slightly darkened. (If you prefer your vegetables to be a little less crunchy, place a lid on the pan and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.) Add the chicken broth, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and bring to a boil. Boil for about 1 minute. Stir the cornstarch and water mixture to recombine; add it to the pan and cook about 1 minute, stirring constantly until the sauce is thick and clear. Pour the vegetables and sauce over the pork and serve immediately with cooked white rice.