This is a such a common dish that need no introduction as this Chinese traditional dish is a very popular dish worldwide. I have my fair share of travelling to many parts of the world and almost all the places that I have been have this dish at their Chinese restaurants. I remembered eating the dish in Cameroon Africa, Irkutsk Russia, Seattle USA and many others including Asian countries. Well, in most Chinatown restaurants, there are not much dish choices but this is the most common dish that will appear in the menu.
Not only non-Chinese like this Chinese cuisine, I myself have a weakness for this dish too. My family will know me very well, whenever I have my meal at Singapore hawker centre mixed vegetable rice stores, I will always order this dish and curry chicken. But not all sold are delicious. Some stores have meat that are hard as stones and some are very oily.
What holds me back to issuing this recipe is I did not take a chance to research the best cut of meat for this dish. My family members are rather fussy about pork and in fact, they don’t like tough meat. Since i have decided to issue the recipe, I did research many recipes and come to the conclusion that whatever part of pork can also be used. Some insisted on using pork belly or fillet, some called for the use of sirloin, and quite a number asked for using pork collar meat which are softer.
Well, as I said earlier, whatever cut is acceptable and it is how you process the meat for cooking. For those tougher meat, you have to use the back of the knife to punch on the meat to break the meat fibres. As for this illustration, I have used pork belly meat .
Traditionally, the dish is not prepared using tomato sauce to make it sour or having the red colour. You will be surprised that hawthorn is used in the traditional recipe. Hawthorn slices or haw flakes together with sugar are stewed over a long period such that it has a jam like texture. It is then added to the dish to provide sourness and the redness. However, I doubt how many restaurants are still using this method to get the sauce now. It is time consuming and it is difficult to get constant supply of hawthorns. Therefore, tomato sauce is used as a substitute. Whatever type of sauce being used, the sauce shall be minimal only adequate to coat individual pork cubes to make it an authentic look. There should be no sauces left in the plate.
As for the pineapple, you can either used raw pineapple or canned pineapple. Raw pineapple has a risk of overly sour and I have decided to use the sweetened canned pineapple cubes for this illustration.
As per Wikipedia, it was written that :
Sorry for not being humble to say that I am extremely pleased with this recipe. The meat is tender and the sauce is just nice. Not overly sticky or watery. The capsicums provide the familiar flavour and the canned pineapple gave some sweetness to the dish.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: About 4-6 adult servings
- 400 grams of meat cut of your choice (I used pork belly)
- 80 grams of pineapple cubes
- 1 small red capsicum
- 1 small green capsicum
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon of light soya sauce or dark soya sauce
- 1 tablespoon of corn starch
Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 8 tablespoons of plain water (清水）
- 4 tablespoons of tomato sauce （番茄酱）
- 4 tablespoons of white vinegar （白醋）
- 4 tablespoons of white sugar （白糖）
- 1 tablespoons of corn starch （生粉）
- 2 tablespoon of cooking oil （食用油）
- 30 grams of corn starch or sweet potatoes starch
- 30 grams of self raising flour
- Adequate oil for deep frying
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Cut the meat into about 1.5 cm thickness. Use the back of the knife to pound the meat lightly. The main purpose is to break the tough meat fibres. Cut the meat into 1.5 cm stripes and followed by into 1.5 cm cubes. Put the dark soya sauce, beaten egg yolk and corn starch. Use hand to lightly massage the meat and let it marinate in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
- Cut the capsicums into small pieces about the size of your meat cubes.
- Mixed all the sweet and sour sauces ingredients until well combined. Set aside.
- Put the corn starch and self raising flour in a bowl follow by the marinated meat cubes. Coat the meat cubes with flour and set aside.
- Heat up a pot of hot oil until about 150 degree Celsius, deep fry the meat cubes until golden brown which took about less than 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Heat up a pan with one tablespoon of cooking oil, add the minced garlic, green capsicums, red capsicums and pineapple cubes. Stir fry under high heat until the capsicums are soft which takes about 1-2 minutes. Add the sauces mix and stir fry until the sauce thickens. Add the deep fried meat cubes and give a quick stir until all the meat are coated with the sauce. Off the heat the dish is ready to be served.
There is no secret in this recipe and the sauce that I used is very common in my household. Remember the ratio of sauce ingredients and you can use it for any dishes. Again any meat cut is acceptable but pre-treatment of the meat is necessary such that the meat is not tough. Remember that the sauce should just enough to coat the meat. Otherwise, it can become soggy very fast.
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