Thai Style Sweet & Sour Pork
Every town in the world seems to have a Chinese takeaway shop and one of the staple dishes is sweet and sour pork, that is typically disgusting. The western version of the dish leaves a lot to be desired and even the native one for that matter in many peoples opinion. The Thai version is a refreshing change and once you try it, I am yet to meet anyone who goes back to the soggy and greasy sickeningly sweet Chinese version of the same name sake.
It is normally served over steamed rice and while the Thailand’s version has a cleaner flavor, uses fresh ingredients it is also a much lighter dish that is not saturated and drowned in that disgusting heavy red sauce that most people associate with this dish.
Ingredients for four serves
350g (12oz) pork with fat removed (chicken breast can substitute)
1 sliced small red onion
1 red capsicum (red bell pepper)
2 ripe juicy tomatoes
2 scallions (spring onions) cut into 2cm lengths
4 cloves of garlic that are thinly sliced
½ a western sized cucumber, cut into long wedges
115g (4oz) fresh pineapple cut into bite size chucks (canned is ok)
ground black pepper to taste
Garnish: Coriander leaves (cilantro, scallions (spring onions) that are shredded and cucumber shaved length- ways.
1- Cool the pork in the freezer for an hour in a plastic bag so it becomes firm, then slice it into thin strips with a sharp knife. This will make it much easier to control the meat and achieve a clean cut.
2- Preheat the wok then and the oil by drizzling it down the sides, a large frying pan will work just as well, you need to cover all of the wok with the oil then add the sliced garlic. This needs to only be a medium heat as you do not want to burn the garlic but bring it to a light golden brown, if you do burn it, the garlic will be very bitter and require you to redo it. The garlic will only need about 30 seconds by it self, the results will be garlic infused oil that will spread a subtle flavor through out the dish.
3- Add the pork and aggressively stir fry it for about 3 or 4 minutes and add the red onion slices into the mixture and combine it.
4- Add the sugar to taste and the black pepper with the fish sauce then toss the ingredients together for about 2 minutes over the heat.
5- Carefully stir in the remaining ingredients as to not damage them, this being the cucumber, tomatoes, red capsicum (bell pepper) and scallions (spring onions). Gently stir fry on heat for 3 to 4 minutes and serve in a bowl garnished with the remaining scallions and coriander.
In essence, the real flavor and sweetness of this dish comes from the tomato and pineapple Many times friends have told me that they dislike sweet and sour and indicate that they will not eat this dish before even trying it as they are used to the western Chinese version. In that case proceed to cut a small piece of ripe tomato and fresh pineapple and ask them to close their eyes and taste it, nearly every time skeptics absolutely love the combination and are converted to enjoy the Thai version.
If you are in Thailand, the local pronunciation for this dish is, “moo-bee-warn”.
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