How to Make Sweet and Sour Pork
Sweet and sour pork gets a bad rap for being a non-authentic Westernised imitation of Chinese food, but it is actually a very common dish in modern Cantonese cuisine, even in China itself. There are many variations of sweet and sour pork dishes across China, but the Cantonese version is what is most commonly found in the West.
500g pork belly, neck or loin, cut into 3cm pieces
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
½ cup cornflour
canola oil for deep frying (approx. 1L), plus extra
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into irregular chunks
1 red capsicum, cut into irregular chunks (or a mix of different coloured capsicum)
1 onion, cut into large chunks
3 cloves garlic, crushed
8 cherry tomatoes, cut into wedges
150g fresh pineapple, cubed
Sweet and sour sauce
¼ cup chicken stock (optional)
¼ cup white vinegar
2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tbsp grated ginger, juice only
½ tsp cornflour (optional)
Combine the pork with the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine and egg, and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Toss the pork in the cornflour to coat.
For the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Heat your oil to 180C and deep fry the onion, carrot and capsicum in separate batches for just a minute or so each until just barely tender. Deep fry the pork in batches for 1-2 minutes until golden brown.
Heat your wok over high heat and add about 2 tbsp of oil. Add the garlic and toss for just a few seconds. Add the sauce and bring to a simmer. Allow the sauce to reduce by about a third until it is thickened and glossy. Add the vegetables, pork, pineapple and tomato to the wok and toss to coat in the sauce.
Top Tips for Sweet and Sour Pork
- The more concentrated the sauce is, the crispier the pork will be. If you really want crispy pork, you can leave out the stock and make sure the sauce is very reduced so that there is less water to soak into the pork coating.
- You can use other fruits such as dragonfruit, kiwi, peaches, or lychee instead of pineapple.
- The sauce will thicken further after the pork is added and absorbs some of the liquid, so bear that in mind when reducing the sauce.
What is the yielding to this recipe?
Made a version of this for the kids, they loved it. Keep up the great work Adam.
Hi! Can I use the same recipe if I sub pork with fish?
You cannot use pork belly for this because it will be all stringy and horribly chewy after being battered and fried. You should teach better!!!
It won’t be “stringy and horribly chewy” at all. This is what I’m teaching. How can I teach better if you refuse to learn?
My husband and myself use pork belly all the time for this dish, comes out fantastic every time, and fresh pineapple.
I’ve made this several times now, love it. Absolute favourite is with slow cooked pork belly, allowed to cool then I follow this recipe from there. It’s amazing. Pork loin is obviously healthier, but the belly….wow. Small child jumps up and down when he sees this on the table!
I was craving sweet and sour pork today, but because of social distancing, I lacked some of these ingredients … but I still made it work!
I didn’t have pork belly, but had the right amount of fatty pork shoulder, cut into large chunks; no capsicum, but I did have a HUGE jalapeno pepper, which I seeded and cut into big pieces; no fresh pineapple, but I did have an 8 ounce can of pineapple in pure juice (which also went into the sauce); a tiny white onion and a large shallot, so both got cut up in large pieces. I had everything else, so I threw the sauce together, put half the onion and half the shallot in along with the garlic and ginger, added an extra 1/2 cup of water, brought it all up to a boil then covered the pan and put it into the oven on 325 F for an hour and a half. After that time, I put in the remaining onion/shallot and the carrot/jalapeno and let it cook uncovered for about an hour. Then removed the pork, skimmed most of the fat off, reduced the sauce a bit and added corn starch to thicken it.
I can honestly say I didn’t miss the fact that the pork wasn’t fried. It was FANTASTIC! The sauce really makes it. Thanks for the inspiration, Adam!
Yum! I can’t wait to try this. Do you leave the rind on when using pork belly for this dish?
Cooked this last night but not enough sauce. The video showed much more liquid being reduced in the wok, so I think the sauce quantities are incorrect
Made this with chicken in stead of pork… Tasted amazing!
I first came up upon your beautiful lovely videos and was automatically intrigued to your skills because you make more sense to a new chef to this cooking game. I want to thank you for teaching and recipes.
Thank you sire.