Monday, April 1, 2013

Sweet And Sour Pork

This is another of our long time family favorite dishes, based on a recipe that appeared in Sunset books "Oriental Cook Book" 1981.  This wonderful little Sunset collection was the first cook book I ever purchased and responsible for my first trip to Uwajimaya's in search of the mysterious "black bean sauce".  

Sweet And Sour Pork 

Sweet and Sour Sauce (Recipe Below)
Pork Marinade (Recipe Below)
3 lbs lean pork (we usually use a loin) cut into 1 inch or less cubes
6 T corn starch
1 cup celery sliced
1 medium onion sliced
3 carrots thinly sliced
child's fist size of ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cucumber sliced
1 green pepper cleaned and sliced
1 can pineapple chunks drained (reserve juice for sauce) 
Sesame seeds for garnish

Trim the fat off the pork, and cut into large bite size pieces.  Place the pork in a pan with about a cup of cold water, bring to a boil cover and simmer until tender about 15 minutes.  While the pork is simmering prepare the pork marinade, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Drain the pork (the pork flavored water makes a great addition to sweet and sour soup or egg flower soup), cool a few minutes and then pour the marinade over the pork, stir well and let marinate 30 minutes. Drain the pineapple saving the juice for the sweet and sour sauce.  Prepare sweet and sour sauce, once the sauce is clear and thick you can start washing and cutting up the vegetables.  Sort your sliced vegetables in cooking order:  place the sliced onions, carrots and ginger in one bowl, the peppers and celery in another and we usually leave the cucumber on the cutting board. 
Drain the pork well (remove the ginger and garlic) and dredge the cubes in cornstarch until evenly coated.  Pour some grape seed oil into your wok (a little less than an inch deep works well) and heat until very hot, fry pork in small bunches until nicely browned and crispy.  Place browned pork on paper towels, then place the pork in a warm bowl.  About this time the kitchen gets very busy with everyone stopping by for samples, "just to make sure they are great".  After all the pork is browned, remove all but a couple of T of oil from the wok, reheat until very hot again, toss in the carrots, ginger and onions- stir fry a couple of minutes, add the peppers and celery- stir fry 2 more minutes, add the cucumber and pineapple-stir fry one more minute, then add the warm sweet and sour sauce and pork- stir fry just until all the ingredients are well coated and hot.  Pour onto a platter, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with a smile. 

Pork Marinade
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 T dry sherry
4 teaspoons sugar
3 cloves of garlic mashed
1 1/2" piece of ginger peeled and mashed
Remove ginger and garlic before stir frying pork cubes.

Sweet and Sour Sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 T cornstarch
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 and 1/2 cups pineapple juice
2 T soy sauce
Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat while stirring, until sauce thickens and clears-about 8 minutes.  The drained pineapple juice yields a little over 1/2 cup of pineapple juice.  Adding a small 6 oz. can of Dole pineapple juice to the drained juice yields at least one and one cups of juice.  We keep small cans of Dole pineapple juice on hand just for our sauce. 

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