We started school officially this Tuesday. Boy, it was hard to get back in the groove of things. Why can’t it be summer all year long? :) Between prep time for lessons, actual school time, extra-curricular activities, working three days a week (including both Saturday and Sunday), and life in general, there isn’t a lot of time to cook or bake, much less blog about it. Nevertheless, I’ll do my best to squeeze a post or two in whenever I can.
Here’s a delicious family recipe I could enjoy all week long. That’s extremely important because I often cook in big batches on the weekends and we reheat and eat those dishes for the rest of the week. Time is simply a luxury we don’t have. Anyway, my version of sweet and sour pork doesn’t require the meat to be batter-fried first. I do marinade the meat beforehand though. I find this adds extra flavor to the dish, and complements the sweet and sour sauce wonderfully. The sauce itself has just the right balance of tanginess and sweetness without being overpowering one way or the other. Best of all, it’s easy to make and beats carry-out any day. Enjoy!
1 cup ketchup
1½ cups water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into small pieces
½ cup light soy sauce (my go-to brand is Pearl River Bridge)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cream sherry
½ to 1 teaspoon white pepper
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion (I like to use sweet onion here), cut into wedges
2 bell peppers (any color), seeded and cut into ¾-inch squares
1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained
For the sauce: Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl and set aside until needed.
For the stir-fry: Combine pork, soy sauce, sugar, sherry, and white pepper in a ziploc bag. Seal the bag and turn it a few times to get the meat and marinade to mix evenly. Refrigerate for a couple of hours, flipping the bag halfway through. Drain pork and discard marinade. In a large dutch oven, heat ¼ cup oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add pork and stir-fry until cooked. Turn off heat and transfer pork to a large bowl. Do not discard leftover liquid that is in the dutch oven. Instead, strain it into the ketchup mixture. Use a wet paper towel to wipe down the inside of the dutch oven (be careful if dutch oven is still hot). Add 2 tablespoons oil to dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering once again. Add onion and stir-fry until lightly browned. Add peppers and pineapple, and continue to stir a few times. Whisk sauce to recombine, then add to dutch oven. Stir to mix everything evenly. As soon as sauce starts to bubble, return pork to the dutch oven. Stir until pork is coated with sauce and heated through. Transfer to a serving dish.