I have a Sweet and Sour Pork recipe that is tasty, but it’s not all that healthy — the pork (or chicken) is battered and deep-fried and the sauce is very sweet, making it something I made only as an occasional treat. So I was thrilled when I discovered a recipe that gives those great sweet and sour flavors but is much lighter than my more traditional recipe. It uses nice, lean pork tenderloin (or boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs) and provides a nice balance between the sweet and sour. As an added bonus, it also comes together more quickly than battered and deep-fried recipe.
I discovered this recipe in a little Chinese Favorites cooking magazine, and it certainly has become one of our favorites. Sometimes I use a Szechuan stir fry sauce to heat things up a bit. And of course, I nearly always serve it with Fried Brown Rice.
If you don’t have stir fry sauce on hand, or if you just prefer to make your own, it’s easy: Stir a tablespoon or so of cornstarch into 1/3 to 1/2 cup chicken, beef, or vegetable broth. Add a tablespoon or two of soy sauce (I use reduced sodium soy sauce), and season to taste with a bit of garlic and ginger. If you want the sauce to be a bit sweet, add in a spoonful of brown or white sugar or artificial sweetener — or even a spoonful of corn syrup. If you want the sauce to have a bit of heat, add a bit of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil (I always just add it straight to my stir fry pan) and boil, stirring constantly, until it reaches desired thickness.
Vegetarians: I would imagine you could substitute cubed tofu for the pork or chicken.
However you make it — with pork, chicken, or tofu — it smells yummy! (And isn’t annoying, like those Sour Patch Kids! 😉 )
Sweet and Sour Pork (or Chicken) (Serves 4)
- 1 pound boneless pork tenderloin or boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs
- Tablespoon or so of soy sauce (I use reduced-sodium)
- Minced garlic or garlic powder to taste (equivalent of a couple of garlic cloves)
- 1 can (8 ounces) pineapple chunks in juice, UNDRAINED
- Oil as needed (I prefer sesame oil, but canola or olive oil will work, also)
- 2 medium carrots, scraped and cut into thin slices
- 1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1″ or so pieces
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup stir fry sauce
- 1 to 2 tablespoons vinegar (I like rice vinegar, but white or apple cider vinegar will work, also)
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine garlic with a tablespoon or so of soy sauce. Cut pork (or chicken) against grain into 1″ or so pieces. Toss with soy sauce and garlic.
- Drain pineapple, reserving 2 tablespoons of juice. Mix together stir fry sauce, 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice from the can of pineapple, and 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar.
- Heat a drizzle of oil in a large (12″) non-stick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Stir fry pork until cooked through, about 4 or 5 minutes. Remove from pan.
- Heat another drizzle of oil. Stir fry carrot and bell pepper until crisp-tender, about 4 or 5 minutes. Add in pineapple.
- Return pork and any accumulated juices to pan. Add in stir fry sauce mixture. Bring to a boil and boil, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Serve with rice.
- Refrigerate leftovers.