Sweet and Sour Pork is one of the most well known and well loved Chinese dishes among the Chinese and non-Chinese alike, with its winning combination of crispy pork bites and tangy sweet and sour sauce.
Marinate the pork with all the marinade ingredients, except for the cornflour, rice flour and plain flour. Allow to sit for about 1 hour while preparing the other ingredients.
Wash the cucumber, tomatoes, capsicum, red chilli.
Cut the cucumber at both ends and use the cut end to rub both ends of the cucumber to remove the whitish sap from it.
Cut the cucumber lengthwise and use a spoon to remove the seeds. Then pat dry the cucumber and cut into 1 cm cubes.
In a bowl, add 2 1/2 TBsp of rice wine vinegar, 2 tsp of sugar and 1 tbsp of water. Mix well and add in the cucumber. Let it stand for 1 hr.
Cut the capsicum and tomatoes into 1 cm cubes.
Cut the chilli lengthwise to remove the seeds. Then cut it into strips.
In a bowl, add in the three remaining marinade ingredients (cornflour, rice flour and plain flour) and mix well. After the pork pieces have been marinated for 1 hr, add in the flour mixture and mix until well incorporated, and ready for deep-frying.
COOKING METHOD FOR SWEET AND SOUR PORK (35 mins)
In a wok, add in the 250 ml of oil over high heat.
Once the oil is heated up, add in the pork pieces in small batches ensuring they are covered in oil and fry for about 3 mins until it turns golden brown. Transfer onto a plate lined with kitchen towel and let cool for about 10 mins. Turn off the heat.
Sieve out all the burnt bits from the oil. Then turn the heat to high and re-fry the pork pieces for a 2nd time in small batches for about 1 min.
Transfer pork pieces onto a plate lined with fresh kitchen towel and set aside.
In a clean pan, add in 1 Tbsp of oil. Once the oil is heated, add in the chopped garlic and fry till aromatic.
Add in the capsicum and fry for 2 mins. Then, add in the tomatoes, pineapple cubes and chilli, and stir fry for 1 min.
Next, add in the pickled cucumber together with vinegar, the 3 tbsp of tomato sauce, 1-2 tsp light soya sauce and 150 ml water. Continue to cook until the sauce starts to bubble.
Mix the 1 tbsp cornflour with 2 tbsp of water to get a smooth cornflour solution. Slowly add cornflour solution into the sauce, stirring it constantly until it thickens. Taste the sauce to see if more sugar or vinegar needs to be added, according to your preferred taste.
Once the gravy thickens and becomes sticky, stir in the pork pieces and mix well.
Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot with a bowl of steaming hot rice.
When you buy the pork from the market, tell the butcher you want to cook Sweet and Sour Pork (Ku Lou Yuk) and he will know which cut is best for that. Usually it will be sold out early in the morning because that cut of the pork comes in small quantities.
Adding rice flour to the flour mixture will make the pork more crispy after frying but do not add too much otherwise the crust will be too hard.
If the gravy is too starchy or too diluted, more water or cornflour can be added. The gravy should not be too diluted. It should be thick and sticky to coat the pork pieces uniformly and evenly.
You can substitute the pork with chicken and fish but the cooking time for these substitutes vary. Chicken and fish require a shorter deep-frying time.
When frying the pork, the oil must be very hot so that it will instantly cook the outer surface of the pork, thereby sealing in the juices so that the meat won't dry out during the deep frying process.
Its very important to fry the pork a second time at high heat, because this helps to force out the oil from inside the pork, so that it won't be oily and greasy when you bite into it.
You can also use apple cider if you have it at home instead of rice vinegar.
Do not mix the gravy with the pork until you are ready to serve otherwise it will be soggy.
Sweet and Sour Pork is best served piping hot. You can reheat the pork in the oven for a few minutes before mixing with the gravy which must be heated up as well.