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Sweet and Sour Pork

This fabulous recipe, inspired by one from Alton Brown, reminds me of the "Polynesian-style" restaurants that were so popular when I was growing up, back during a time when most Americans didn't know a Sichuan from a Hunan.  These restaurants were famous for their rum drinks with skewers of fruit and colorful umbrellas and exotic sounding dishes made with tropical fruits.  Even though this recipe omits the fruit (add a cup of pineapple chunks at the end if you wish) it is still a wonderful mix of sweet and tangy. 

~ 1 pounds   pork butt, trimmed of fat and cut into 1" cubes (see note)
~ 3 cups   red and green bell pepper and sweet onion cut into " to " chunks
~ 1 cup carrot and celery cut " thick and on a bias
~ cup   sliced water chestnuts
1 tablespoon   peanut oil
1 teaspoon   sesame oil
~ 1 cups flour (for dredging)
salt and pepper to taste
vegetable oil, for frying
1/3 cup   soy sauce
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon   minced fresh ginger
cup   flour
cup   cornstarch
1 cup   ketchup
cup   brown sugar
cup   red wine vinegar
cup   honey
1 tablespoon   fresh ginger, finely minced or pressed
1 teaspoon   lemon zest

Combine marinade ingredients and mix well. Season the pork generously with salt and pepper and toss with the marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Combine the sauce ingredients and mix well.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to ~200 degrees.  Place a platter large enough to hold all the pork into the oven to warm.

Drain off any excess marinade from the pork and dredge in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Shake off any excess flour.  In a large frying pan or wok heat 1-inch of oil to 350 degrees. Fry the pork in batches so as not to cool the oil, until golden brown, about a couple of minutes. Drain on paper towels and reserve on platter in oven.

Heat a wok over medium high heat and add the peanut oil and sesame oil.  Add veggies and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes until just crisp tender.  Reduce heat to low and add the sauce, water chestnuts  and pork.  Stir to mix well and allow to simmer for only a minute or so until everything is warmed through.

I like to serve this on top of steamed, white rice.

Note:  Any cut of will do but the pork butt is relatively inexpensive and traditionally used.


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