Sweet and Sour Pork Like Grandma Used to Make

Sweet and Sour Pork Like Grandma Used to Make

Sweet and Sour Pork Like Grandma Used to Make

Food is a powerful vessel for memories. A single bite can transport us back to childhood kitchens, bustling family gatherings, and the comforting presence of loved ones. Today, we’re embarking on a culinary journey to recreate a dish steeped in tradition: Sweet and Sour Pork, just like Grandma used to make.

This recipe isn’t just about ingredients and instructions; it’s about honoring the legacy of a special woman who brought families together through her cooking. It’s a testament to the enduring power of simple, flavorful dishes that hold a special place in our hearts.

The Secret Ingredient: Apple Cider Vinegar

The magic touch in this recipe comes from a seemingly ordinary ingredient – apple cider vinegar. This tangy vinegar adds a depth of flavor that sets this dish apart. It balances the sweetness of the sugar and ketchup, creating a vibrant sauce that perfectly complements the crispy pork.

But the story behind this ingredient goes beyond taste. Grandma’s generation faced hardship, and ingredients weren’t always readily available. Apple cider vinegar, a pantry staple, offered a readily available source of acidity, adding a necessary brightness to balance the sweetness commonly found in Chinese cuisine. This recipe, then, becomes a testament to her resourcefulness and her ability to create deliciousness from what she had.

Sweet and Sour Pork Like Grandma Used to Make

A Step-by-Step Guide to Sweet and Sour Pork Perfection

We’ll be breaking down the recipe into easy-to-follow steps, ensuring you can recreate Grandma’s magic in your own kitchen.

Part 1: The Perfect Pork Prep

  1. Choosing the Cut: The recipe calls for pork butt, a cut that’s well-marbled and known for its tenderness. However, you can substitute with other cuts like boneless shoulder or loin. Just remember to cut them into uniform 1-inch cubes for even cooking.
  2. The Power of Marinating: Marinating imbues the pork with flavor and helps tenderize it. Our marinade is a simple yet effective combination of soy sauce, salt, sugar, egg white, and chopped green onions. The egg white acts as a binder, while the green onions add a subtle oniony flavor. Let the pork marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, or ideally, overnight for maximum flavor absorption.

Part 2: Achieving Crispy Perfection

  1. The Cornstarch Coat: Cornstarch is the secret to achieving that irresistible crispy exterior on the pork. After marinating, generously coat the pork cubes in cornstarch. This creates a barrier between the meat and the hot oil, ensuring a satisfying crunch with each bite.
  2. Frying Finesse: Heat up a good amount of vegetable oil in a large pot or deep fryer. The ideal temperature is 365°F (185°C). Carefully fry the pork cubes in batches until they’re golden brown on all sides. This takes about 10 minutes per batch. As you remove them, drain them on paper towels to get rid of excess oil.

Part 3: The Symphony of Vegetables

  1. Stir-frying the Trio: While the pork rests, it’s time to prepare the stir-fried vegetables. In a wok or large pan, heat some oil over medium heat. Add chopped celery, green bell pepper, and onion wedges. Stir-fry them until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Season them with a pinch of sugar and salt to enhance their natural sweetness.

Part 4: The Sweet and Sour Sauce Symphony

  1. The Balancing Act: Now comes the star of the show – the sweet and sour sauce. In a large saucepan, combine water, sugar, apple cider vinegar (remember, this is Grandma’s secret weapon!), ketchup, soy sauce, and a touch of salt. Bring this mixture to a boil over high heat.
  2. The Grand Finale: Here’s where everything comes together. Gently stir the fried pork, cooked vegetables, and pineapple chunks with their juice into the simmering sauce. Let it return to a boil, then thicken the sauce with a cornstarch slurry made with the remaining water and cornstarch. Cook for a further 2 minutes, ensuring everything is heated through and the sauce coats the ingredients beautifully.
Sweet and Sour Pork Like Grandma Used to Make

Tips and Tricks for Sweet and Sour Pork Success

  • Don’t Crowd the Pan: When frying the pork, avoid overcrowding the pan. This can cause the oil temperature to drop, resulting in soggy pork instead of crispy perfection. Fry the pork in batches to ensure even browning.
  • The Power of Leftovers: This Sweet and Sour Pork tastes even better the next day! The flavors have a chance to meld even more, resulting in a truly delicious dish. Here’s how to ensure your leftovers stay restaurant-worthy:
    • Storage Savvy: Let the leftover Sweet and Sour Pork cool completely before storing it in an airtight container. This prevents condensation and keeps the pork crispy.
    • Refrigerate Promptly: Don’t leave the leftovers at room temperature for extended periods. Refrigerate them within two hours of cooking to maintain food safety.
    • Reheating Right: When reheating, use a pan or oven over medium heat. Avoid microwaving, as it can make the pork soggy. A quick stir-fry or a low bake will gently reheat the dish without compromising the texture.

Mastering the Art of Sweet and Sour Pork

Here are some additional tips to elevate your Sweet and Sour Pork game:

  • Oil Temperature Matters: Invest in a cooking thermometer to monitor the oil temperature precisely. The ideal temperature for frying the pork is 365°F (185°C). If the oil is too hot, the pork will burn on the outside before cooking through. Conversely, if it’s not hot enough, the pork will absorb too much oil and become greasy.
  • Double the Crisp with a Double Fry: For extra crispy perfection, consider a double-frying technique. After the initial fry, let the pork cool slightly. Then, increase the oil temperature to 375°F (190°C) and fry the pork again for a few minutes to achieve an extra crispy golden brown exterior.
  • The Sauce is the Boss: The sweet and sour sauce is the heart and soul of this dish. Feel free to adjust the sugar and vinegar ratio to your taste preference. Craving a tangier flavor? Add a little more vinegar. Want a sweeter experience? Increase the sugar content slightly.
  • Presentation Perfection: Plate your Sweet and Sour Pork with a bed of fluffy white rice for a complete and satisfying meal. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro or sesame seeds for an extra pop of color and flavor.
Sweet and Sour Pork Like Grandma Used to Make

With these tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of Sweet and Sour Pork. So, grab your ingredients, channel your inner grandma, and create a delicious dish that’s steeped in tradition and bursting with flavor.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 663
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 35g45%
Saturated Fat 7g34%
Cholesterol 43mg14%
Sodium 1085mg47%
Total Carbohydrate 75g27%
Dietary Fiber 2g8%
Total Sugars 52g
Protein 14g28%
Vitamin C 36mg40%
Calcium 57mg4%
Iron 2mg8%
Potassium 517mg11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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