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Sweet and Sour Pork Recipe (咕嚕肉) http://rasamalaysia.com/chinese-recipe-sweet-and-sour-pork/
August 16th, 2008 226 Comments

Sweet and Sour Pork Recipe (咕嚕肉)

Sweet and Sour Pork
Sweet and Sour Pork pictures (1 of 5)

(Popular and All-Time Favorite Chinese recipesBroccoli Beef, Chow Mein, Egg Drop Soup, Kung Pao Chicken, Cashew Chicken, Fried Rice, Orange Chicken, Mongolian Beef, and more.)

Sweet and Sour Pork, the ubiquitous and arguably the most well-known Chinese recipe in the world, is a classic Cantonese dish. Called “咕嚕肉” or “goo lou yok” in Cantonese dialect, sweet and sour pork is very pleasing to the palate because of the flavorsome sweet and sour sauce–the sweetness from sugar plus the tangy ketchup and sharp rice vinegar–with the crispy fried pork pieces. The green and red bell peppers and pineapple pieces are just icing on the cake.

The secret of an authentic sweet and sour pork dish lies in the perfect balance of the sweet vs. sour taste of the sauce. To master this dish, it’s not about the technique of stir-frying nor the use of the freshest ingredients, although both are equally important and wouldn’t hurt. To me, the sweet and sour sauce is the soul of this dish. If you fail the sweet and sour sauce, you fail the dish. With that in mind, I will teach you how to make that perfect sweet and sour sauce and share with you the secret ingredients I use.

Sweet and Sour Pork

While traditional Chinese/Cantonese sweet and sour pork recipe calls for the use of rice vinegar and ketchup to bring out the sour taste, I also use plum sauce to add some extra zing, plus a few dashes of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce and oyster sauce to complete a harmony balance. They are my secret ingredients and do make a nice difference in terms of taste, in my honest opinion.

Other than the sauce, the frying batter is no less important. A great batter recipe promises crispy and crunchy coating for the pork. In my recipe below, you will also find the instructions and exact measurement to make the batter. It is simply awesome!

Sweet and Sour Pork

Rasa Malaysia’s Secret Ingredients for Sweet and Sour Pork:

  1. Plum Sauce
  2. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
  3. Oyster Sauce (my not-so-secret seasoning medium)

So, discard the canned pineapple juice or orange juice in the Americanized sweet and sour pork recipe. Do try out my secret ingredients above the next time you prepare sweet and sour pork.

Anyway, once you master the techniques of making sweet and sour sauce, you can pretty much whip up any sweet and sour dishes in a jiffy: pork, chicken, fish, or shrimp…just don’t tell Panda Express my secret recipe! *wink*

Sweet and Sour Pork

If you like my sweet and sour pork recipe, you might also want to check out the Chinese recipes on Rasa Malaysia:

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Click Page 2 for the Sweet and Sour Pork Recipe (咕嚕肉) Recipe
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226 comments... read them below or add one

  1. socorro says:

    Just tried this tonight…it was awesome! I ate too much……..

  2. shari says:

    i tried this recipe in my deep fryer
    all the pork stuck 2 the bottom hence all the crust fell off
    what did i do wrong?

    • Hi Shari, I don’t know what to tell you. Is your deep fryer hot enough?

    • conman says:

      I had the same problem.. however, I think it is not about the temperature… my problem was that meat simply stuck to the deep fryers grate before the crust was hard.. with the second badge I managed to get better results by slowly dropping the pieces in instead of filling the grate before… Still, i think the best way would be to deep-fry in a pan or wok as you can move the pieces around and they won’t stick to the bottom…

      And the recipe… I loved it and yes, the addition of oyster-, plum- and Worcestershire sauce definitely gave it a nicer finish than the typical version you usually find with pineapple juice

      so, thx rasa, great recipe… it was the first one I tried on your page and I am looking forward to the others.. :-)

  3. tami says says:

    rasa, the sweet and sour pork did well for me,i am looking for a recipe for sweet and sour shrimp,and shrimp fried rice with lobster sauce ,i was hoping you could give me some recipes for these dishes,,, thanks for all your help

  4. leng says:

    hi bee! just did this, dont have any plum sauce so i just used sweet and chili sauce and it turned it good! thumps up!! thanks for sharing!

  5. Brent Woo says:

    Hi, I’d just like to tell you I’ve joined the ranks of appreciative fans who monitor this sight like hawks for new recipes and take your words as gospel. I just finished hosting a potluck at which I nervously tried out this recipe for the first time for many of my close friends, but it turned out well and it was eaten up so fast I didn’t even get much taste of it! I was told that I was some cook but I really, honestly owe it all to you. I don’t have much experience in the kitchen as a college student but your clear instructions guided me straight through the whole recipe.

    I’d also follow the others’ advice, cut back a little on the ketchup, more corn starch in the batter. I didn’t expect such little yield, but everyone at least got a taste of it. I would say were this the only dish, served over rice it would serve one, maybe two, if they were semi-hungry, adults. Also, it might have been just my lack of preparation or foresight, but all in all, starting from the marinade, it took a little over an hour and a half to prepare.

    I love this recipe so much, and the ingredients don’t demand much. It was also probably the most fun dish I’ve ever had to make, what with making this interesting sauce with 50 ingredients that magically turns out delicious, deep frying AND stir frying in a wok. I’d make it again in a heartbeat. Thank you so much for these amazing recipes!!!

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  7. bill says:

    Tried this recipe for the first time last night–it was a HIT! Best sweet and sour pork I ever made all of the gathered family members said. I doubled everything, and cut the pork tenderloin into slightly smaller pieces. I also added small wedges of sweet onion and thinly sliced celery in place of the scallions (all in proportion–a little less green pepper, etc.). Next time, I may add thinly sliced water chestnuts as well. Where can I buy corn flour?

    Also, I use rice flour in place of corn starch in my cooking so you have to use a little more and a little less water to get the proper thickening of the sauce.

  8. Charlotte says:

    Hi ! I just wanna ask what kind of soy sauce did you use for the marinade.. the light or the dark soy sauce? I am really particular with the kind of soy sauce because here in japan, they only use the light kind whereas in my home country (phil) we usually use the dark one. And thus, I`ve found out that these two tastes differently.. thanks :))

  9. Pingback:Sweet and Sour Pork « What’s 4 Dinner Solutions

  10. Foodlover says:

    I made this dish last night for the first time. YUM! I must admit Sweet & Sour pork is one of my least favourite of the chinese dishes, however I had a pork fillet and thought I would give it a go…..and I am glad I did.

    I too added a splash of sweet chilli sauce on top of the other ingredients and I doubled up on the sauce, which still provided just a nice coating and not too runny. And next time I might use fresh pineapple pieces as an alternative.

    With the batter I just used 2 egg whites and 1/4 cup of corn flour and that worked really well.

    What I found with the pork was double frying, which provided a nice crispy coating.

    I am an instant fan of this website!

  11. SchwartzJOHN says:

    If you are in a not good position and have no money to move out from that, you would have to take the loan. Just because it will aid you for sure. I take sba loan every single year and feel myself great just because of it.

  12. charlotte says:

    Hi there can i substitute dry gin for the rice wine?

  13. charlotte says:

    i would also like to know how many people does this serve?

  14. Cat says:

    It looks like a delicious dish. I always wonder how to make the sauce without using pre-made sauce package. Thanks for sharing!!!

  15. Nathan Anderson says:

    Hello Bee Yinn Low,

    I love your photos! I love your food also. Can I use one of your pics to enter a competition in New Zealand I will give you half of any winnings. If you could let me know via e-mail that would be great.

    Regards

    Nathan

  16. lisa gan says:

    Hi, i came across ur website while i was looking for food recipe, i’m a malaysian myself and hokkien. We reside in The netherlands, and i swear with every bones in my body…the food here sucks! out of greediness and being a truly malaysian…how can one not eat and search for good food. I dont have any choice, i have to cook all the yummy dishes i long for..:( It was such a joy to have found ur website…I’m just drooling, looking at all ur photos! making me motivated to cook. Thank you very much. I tried ur sweet and sour pork and walnut prawns today, amazing! my family was cleaning the plate! just yummilicious! hahah…i’m going to be a fan now of ur cooking! thank u for sharing! God bless.

  17. Al Elliott says:

    I know your recipe calls for pork tenderloin but could you use a fresh picnic instead? The batter lists 1/2 cup water 1/2 teaspoon baking soda & 1/2 egg. Is that just what it says 1/2 cup or is it 1 to 2 cups 1 to 2 teaspoons and 1 to 2 eggs. Don’t know how I’d get 1/2 an egg?

  18. s2warez says:

    its looks like sooooooooo tasty ))

  19. Bailey says:

    “Awesome, Two thumps up”. I followed the recipe strictly and double the recipe. The taste was so balance and flavorful. The batter looked a bit runny but that the way it is. The texter was light, crunchy, and fluffy..Thank you for sharing.

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  21. Tara Munro says:

    This website is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I’m about to make sweet and sour pork. Need to know how one calculates half an egg?

  22. Diane says:

    Followed this sweet and sour recipe this evening, absolutely amazing. Easy and quick to do and all the kids ate it. Yum Yum

  23. Xiang Xi Lin says:

    Is corn starch necessary because I remember my parents making Sweet and Sour pork/chicken/shr etc but I don’t remember if they used corn starch or not.

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  25. Colleen says:

    i made the sweet and sour pork. it was delicious! never have attempted this sort of dish and it was fun to see the pork frying up in the pan, looking crisp and golden. only thing that was somewhat confusing was the measurement of some of the dry ingredients. i am not used to measuring dry ingredients in ounces, but rather in cups. so, i guessed using a 3 oz. box of pudding in comparison. couldn’t find my scale. but my husband and i ate this recipe in a little more than a day. we don’t typically do this, but it was so fresh and delicious. thank you for sharing your talent.

  26. Pauline Cheong says:

    i love this recipe very very much. i can eat it with or without rice. very very nice.

  27. KC says:

    Hi there, I just wanted to thank you so much for this recipe. I made it for dinner last night (my first sweet & sour pork attempt) and it turned out very well even though I just started to learn how to cook (newly-wedded and no cooking experience)! Husband said the taste is ‘RESTAURANT STANDARD!’. He said I can make this and bring to our friends’ house if we have any ‘pot-luck’ gatherings next time =)

    I didn’t use baking soda as I didn’t have it at home (I should go read up what is the use of it – does it make it crispier?). Initially I was also worried about the batter mixture being too runny (as I’ve only fried things once with dry batter – dip in egg then flour) but my worries are unfounded. The deep-fried meat tastes SOOO delicious even without the sauce, a bit like ‘har jiong gai’ (prawn paste chicken). I couldn’t resist stealing a few pieces while cooking halfway! Once I ate it, immediately I knew it will be an award-winning recipe.

    Thanks for all your yummy recipes. It’s my first time following a recipe on your website. Im going to find another few recipes on your website for tonight’s dinner again. I found my new ‘cooking bible’! :D

  28. chona says:

    im working here in hongkong, and its hard for me to cook chinese dishes since it s my first time to work here. im glad that i found your site and i tried some of it and its works. thank you so much. hope you post new chinese recipe…

  29. chona says:

    sorry, i am thinking how the batter become thicken if just a 3 oz of APL and 1 oz of cornflour, if you have a 1/2 c of water… thank you!

  30. Amy says:

    OMG!! Cooked this and it was AMAZING! Added extra onions and peppers though just to be healthy. Couldnt stop thinking about it for days. One of the nicest things ive ever cooked. Easy too! Thanks sooooo much!

  31. Aaron Lamb says:

    The secret to get the fried pork crispy is COLD (ICE) make sure the pork is cold,and the batter is Ice cold before putting the pork in the oil Also make sure that the oil .. Also make sure the OIL is hotter than it should be so when the cold ingrediants go in it does not loose too much of the temperature.. the frying temp shoulf not fall below 400 degrees.

    How this works is that the Cold batter hitting the HOT oil will cook the outside of the pork before absorbing the oil makeing the pork get crispy as a finial result
    This method is the same for makeing Tempura

    Enjoy !!! and i hope this works for you :)

  32. Sandy says:

    Great recipe, I loved it. The sauce was just right – not too sweet :)

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  34. Canip says:

    Hi,
    I cannot find an instruction on Sweet n Sour Pork.
    I know nothing about Chinese cooking.
    I appreciate if you can tell me a tsp-by-step instruction.
    Thank you. Canip

  35. Canip says:

    According to a result of Internet search, corn flour and corn starch are same things.
    If they are not same, what can I use to substitute corn flour?
    I only found corn flour in 5 pound bag at the local store and all I need is a couple of table spoon.
    Thank you. Canip

    • you can buy small boxes of cornflour in any super market. Is excellent for thickening anything. eg soup, sauce, gravy etc says:

      you can buy small boxes of cornflour in any super market. Is excellent for thickening anything. eg soup, sauce, gravy etc

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  37. dongshieu says:

    This tastes very good but it needs at least double the sauce, it barely coated a 1/2 lb of tenderloin let alone vegetables

  38. Matt says:

    This sounds great, I’d love to attempt this, but I’m wondering how 1/8 teaspoon Chinese rice vinegar would be enough. With all those ingredients, how would an 8th of a teaspoon of anything be noticed, it’s practically nothing?

  39. Dinomatrix says:

    I’ll try it tonight,Perth.

  40. Sarah says:

    HI
    I wanted to know which corn product to add into the batter mix- corn starch or corn flour? How can I get crispy pork after frying also?

    Thanks

  41. Jennifer says:

    Hi, I am also a Penang girl living in HK now. I love cooking and browsing through your website makes me drool. I’ve tried your Tau Yu Bak recipe and it’s awesome. Reminds me of home. :) thanks for posting such great recipes.
    I wanted to cook sweet and sour pork for my expatriate friends, can I check how many portions of your recipe should I prepare for 6 guests? I will have 4 dishes and a soup.

  42. Jennifer says:

    Hey,I tried cooking this, the sauce is great, i also added a tbsp of Maggi chilli sauce to it. However, i didn’t manage to get the batter right. It is very lumpy (seems like too much flour?) and not crispy. I followed your recipe exactly so I don’t know what went wrong…

  43. linda says:

    This sweet & sour pork recipe is easier than even you said, and it tasted delicious! I modified it a little by adding ginger to the marinated pork and batter for an extra bite!

  44. Grace says:

    Used this recipe today for my first attempt on a sweet & sour dish. I used chicken. I didn’t bother converting the oz measurement of the flour & instead used Tbsp. The batter was perfect consistency, not too runny not too think. I didn’t have worcestershire sauce so i just substituted soy sauce instead. It turned out GREAT….so yummy and not too sweet. I also added pineapple chunks right at the end when I turned off the cooker. It will definitely be my base sweet & sour recipe from now on! Thank you so much for this wonderful website! Keep the recipes coming ^_~

  45. sweett says:

    hi
    I’ve tried to read as many older comments to see if my answer was there but going too far back and still nothing so here it goes :)
    I am mass cooking this dish for a fundraiser (I used to approximate quantities when cooking for myself but now I guess I need a better estimate of how much to buy).
    If this is the sole dish accompanying the rice, how many people would it feed?

  46. Mac McCamley says:

    Hi, WIth respect the batter with the quanitites you have specified simply does not work. It is far too watery given the small amount of flour and it simply runs off the meat without adhering to it. I was very dedicated to doing the recipe as written. The rest of the meal is superb, but there is without doubt something amiss with the batter.

    Respectfully. Mac

    • Mac, many people tried this recipe and the batter works. I have tested this recipe many times and it works. The flour will run off the meat a little bit but definitely coat the meat with a layer as pictured in my photo.

  47. turtlee says:

    Hi, I have tried your other recipes and they were amazing! I am having a bit of trouble understanding this step:

    “Strain the dry ingredients of the frying batter and then add in the egg, water, and cooking oil to form a thick batter.”

    Do you mean to mix the dry ingredients of the frying batter in a bowl and add water and egg? Sorry if you could just clarify please and thank you! (I see that a lot of people have tried this already and did not encounter this problem, but I am still fairly new to cooking so I may not understand as well)

  48. WL says:

    I am hosting 25 ppl for Chinese New Year. I wanted to plan ahead with this dish as I have many things going on the stove top close to dinner time. Can I batter the chicken (can I use boneless thighs instead of breast?),fry it in 8 hours before mixing it together with the sauce on the wok? I’d also like to mix the sauce in the morning and set aside so I can get other things done. The other question is if I fried the chicken in the morning, can I then put it in a slow cooker to mix things up about 4 hours on low before serving? Thanks.

  49. Su Lim-Macdonald says:

    Your recipes so far have been impressive and this sweet and sour pork is no different. I am not a big fan of sweet and sour anything but decided to make this for CNY eve dinner as my boys (half Chinese/half Gweilo) and their Aussie friends are experiencing the occasion with me. I followed the measurement for sauce to the tee and am pleased to say that it’s very balanced and not overly sickly sweet or sour. The addition of vinegar and worcestershire sauce really made it. Thanks.

  50. Linda Okano says:

    I made your Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe tonight for dinner and it was delicious! I didn’t have bell peppers so I just used sliced onions, carrots, shitake mushrooms, and green onions. Also I had no plum sauce. The apricot preserves worked well. Thank you for sharing this great recipe. I look forward to trying more of your recipes.

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