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Sweet & Sour Pork

Servings: 4 | Prep Time: 30 minutes plus marinating. Cook Time: 1 ½ hours | Skill Level: 2 (medium)

Ingredients

Sweet and sour sauce

  • 2 medium brown onions, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 long red chillies, roughly chopped, including seeds
  • 100 g pineapple core, sliced
  • 125 g strawberries, topped and halved
  • 80 mls vegetable oil for cooking
  • 500 mls chicken stock
  • (infused with spring onion tops and a few slices of ginger)
  • 120 mls white vinegar
  • 25 mls Japanese soy sauce
  • 130 g sugar
  • 40 mls Shaoxing rice wine
  • 120 mls tomato sauce

Pork

  • 300 g organic pork neck, cut into 1½ cm cubes
  • Oil for deep-frying

Marinade

  • 2 big pinches salt
  • 1 big pinch of sugar
  • 15 g chicken stock powder
  • 40 mls Shaoxing rice wine
  • 25 mls Japanese soy sauce
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder
  • 1 clove garlic, micro-planed
  • 2 tsp sesame oil

Starch mix:

  • 100 g rice flour
  • 100 g tapioca starch

To finish

  • 2 long red chillies, deseeded, sliced thinly into triangles
  • 5 spring onions, trimmed, cut into batons
  • ¼ pineapple, diced finely
  • ¼ carrot, peeled, finely sliced into rounds, placed in iced water to chill
  • 30 g kuzu starch
  • (available in any Japanese or specialist Asian grocer)
  • 40 ml cold water

Method

  1. For the sauce: Heat a wok over a high heat, add oil, when hot add the onion, garlic and chilli. Stir fry until caramelised, transfer into a saucepan, add the pineapple, strawberries and stock. Simmer for 45 minutes, or until the strawberries have lost their vibrant red colour and have begun to turn white. Season with the white vinegar, soy, sugar, rice wine and tomato sauce. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes, strain (discard the solids) and cool.
  2. For the pork: Cut the pork neck and place in a small bowl. Add the salt, sugar, chicken powder, rice wine, soy, 5 spice, garlic and sesame oil. Combine well and set aside in the fridge to marinade overnight or for 4-6 hours.
  3. Place oil in a wok or deep pan and heat to 180°C. Combine the rice flour and tapioca starch. Drain pork of excess marinade then using clean hands coat the pork evenly in the starch mixture. Deep-fry in batches for 3–4 minutes. Place all the pork in the deep fryer together; fry again until golden and cooked through. Drain onto a plate lined with paper towel.
  4. To finish: Combine the kuzu starch with water. Heat a wok over a high heat, add a little oil then stir-fry chilli and spring onion for 1 minute until aromatic. Remove from wok, add enough sweet and sour sauce to just coat the pork, bring to the boil, thicken with the slurry of the kuzu starch mixed with water. Add pork and return the vegetables and pineapple into the wok. Stir-fry until pork is hot and coated in sauce, spoon onto a serving plate, top with the raw carrot and serve immediately.

TIPS

  • Test the oil is hot enough to deep fry with a wooden chopstick. Place the end into the oil and when the stick starts to bubble the oil is hot enough.
  • For the starch mix, place the rice flour and tapioca starch in a bag and shake to combine. Add the pork and shake again to evenly coat in the mixture.