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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 (2 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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Chow Mein Broccoli Beef Sweet and Sour Pork Egg Drop Soup
Chow Mein Broccoli Beef Sweet and Sour Pork Egg Drop Soup
Kung Pao Chicken Cashew Chicken Fried Rice Orange Chicken
Kung Pao Chicken Cashew Chicken Fried Rice Orange Chicken
Crab Rangoon Mongolian Beef
Crab Rangoon Mongolian Beef
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. Mika says:

    Tried cooking this scrumptous recipe this evening and it was really good!
    Been actually trying on the recipies posted here,for four dinners in a row! My little son and my husband just love it! Thank you so much rasamalaysia for sharing your great cooking skills to all of us!
    Keep cooking and keep posting!

  2. vicki says:

    how do I get to the actual recipe? I have read through the sweet and sour pork info and it says after the jump???What is after the jump? most confusing…

  3. Karen says:

    I tried this recipe this evening. My pork was crispy when I finished frying it, but once I combined it with the rest of the ingredients, the pork fell flat and the batter was soggy. I even used a temp to monitor my frying temp. so I don’t think that is the problem. Should I be frying it even longer? My pork was golden brown once I fried them….so I don’t understand what I may be doing wrong.

    The sauce however, is very nice. It has more complex flavours in it than just ketchup. I will be def. be keeping that as base recipe for sweet and sour. Thanks!

    • Try to fry the pork two times.

      • Alain says:

        The same thing happened to me…The pork was very crispy until added to the sauce…I was wondering if we should let the sauce cool down a little before adding the pork? I should mention that the pork was nice and cripy when I took them out from the oil..Will try to fry them twice before next time…

      • Yuli says:

        Hello,
        I found in the actual traditional recipe of sweet and sour pork that you have to fry it twice.
        What is the benefit of frying it twice?
        Is it possible to cut this step?
        Why should we fry it twice? What are the benefits?
        Thanks for your help

  4. Katie says:

    Hello. I was wondering what you meant by half an egg? Does that mean the egg white or the egg yolk?

  5. Jan says:

    hi, just tried the recipe. what a disaster! haha the batter ended up sticking on my wok. when i took out the pork, it was as if i was frying the pork without any batter. the batter just wont stick to the pork when frying….help…what’s the trick??? :S

  6. Jan says:

    what’s the difference between baking powder and soda bicarbonate?

  7. rerickson says:

    hey, this is making my mouth water as we speak…is there a way to pan fry the pork instead of deep fry?-(don’t have enough oil)

    • Laraine says:

      Baking powder also has cream of tartar in it. Since it contains other ingredients that I don’t want as well, I make my own using one-third sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and two-thirds cream of tartar. Since it’s not easy to measure out when you want only 1 teaspoon of baking powder, I use a quarter teaspoon (slightly rounded) of baking soda and a half-teaspoon (slightly rounded) of cream of tartar for each teaspoon of baking powder that the recipe requires. It’s worked for me for nearly forty years.

  8. Jan says:

    hi, i did it after trying 2nd time. Thks! planning to try your kung pao chicken soon… :)

  9. yvonne says:

    can i omit 1/8tsp of chinese rice vinegar for this sweet ans sour pork recipe? will this make the taste different?

  10. Jen says:

    Quick question: regarding this marinade ingredient:
    1/2 teaspoon corn flour

    Is corn flour different from cornstarch?

    Thanks!

  11. Olivia says:

    Is the sweet and sour sauce appropriate to use as a dipping sauce?

  12. Luke says:

    How many serves does this make? Just for 1?

  13. Joy says:

    Hi, Bee
    Thanks for all your fun recipes. I may have a silly question but I hope you don’t mind :) I noticed that you have 2 different marinating, batter and ingredient instructions for your Sweet & Sour Pork and Chicken recipes…may I ask why? Why no pineapples for the chicken? Why is the batter different? I mean what would happen if I used chicken indtead of Pork with your S&S Pork recipe?
    Much thanks,
    Joy

    • Hi Joy – I don’t cook the same dish with the same exact recipe, because cooking is an art and also depends on what I have in the fridge, and what I am in the mood for that particular day. Both recipes taste good, but the sweet and sour chicken recipe is simpler with less ingredients. You can add pineapples to the chicken if you like, again as I said, my recipe is based on what I have. Of course, you can use chicken for the Sweet and Sour Pork recipe, you can even modify it to your liking. Don’t be afraid of experimenting and always have fun cooking. :)

  14. denice says:

    hi!! i want to make a bigger batch and i was wondering whether we can store any leftovers in the fridge and, if yes, for how many days??

  15. Deb M. says:

    Hi,
    We had Chinese out last night and it was $65. We love it but can’t afford it very often. Your recipes are wonderful, easy enough for me who is not an accomplished cook and you are so good about answering questions. Wow. This website is quite the find for me. You are terrific.

    Many thanks,
    Deb

  16. kymHansen says:

    ill try this recipe tonite.. It looks yummeehhh.. Cant wait *drools*

  17. Hi Der says:

    I disagree. I live in Guangzhou, Guangdong (Capital of Cantonese) and to get 咕嚕肉 or various varieties of sweet and sour pork (there are several) you almost always have to go to a “DongBei” (North-East) China cuisine restaurant.

    • Yuli says:

      Hi Der, I don’t understand. To have a traditional sweet and sour pork (糖醋里脊 (táng cù lǐjǐ)), we can’t make it at home. Is it only a dish prepared by Chinese restaurant in the North?

      What is a “DongBei”?
      Thks

  18. Michelle says:

    Hi, can I know how much is a cup of water?

  19. The Bludger says:

    I used this recipe as the base of last nights meal. Upped the quantities and added extra veg, Onion, Carrot and some thinly sliced fresh ginger.
    Overall very good. It will be made again.
    Batter was a little soggy not crispy. I noted your comments on frying twice.

  20. Jerah says:

    Do the oz of flour and cornstarch refer to volume or weight, and would it be possible to provide us with a conversion to tablespoons?

  21. rasamalaysia i love your recepies.

  22. Ashleigh says:

    Hey i was wondering how many people this recipe serves?

  23. William Yap says:

    Hi, thank you for sharing your recipe. The sweet & sour sauce is very good, my family love it. Keep posting!

  24. Kelly says:

    I look forward to making this sauce. Many years ago my family was a yearly guest of an Asian restaurant that served us an amazing family style Christmas dinner. I took for granted the DARK & RICH sweet and sour sauce I grew up with (not the sticky red goo). So wish I’d asked for their recipes 30 odd years ago. And thier egg foo yung is unmatched as well.

  25. justine says:

    I’m excited to try this tonight since sweet and sour pork is a family favorite. I’ve tried so many sweet and sour recipes but none tasted like the one in Chinese restaurants. Just wondering if i could use the Japanese rice wine & rice vinegar because it’s all i have in my kitchen. Will it change the authentic Chinese sweet and sour taste? I am so glad I stumbled upon your very informative website. There are so many recipes I want to try. By the way, is there any brand of plum sauce that you can recommend? This is my first time to use this ingredient. Thank you very much Rasa for sharing not only your wonderful recipes but your cooking secrets as well.

  26. dave says:

    Hi whats the difference between lee kum kee plum sauce and light colored plum sauce?can i use the light colored one? (Light colored plum sauce is a diff brand)tnx

  27. Justine says:

    Hi again! I’m wondering if the baking soda in the frying batter should be baking powder instead. I noticed a slight bitter taste in the cooked batter & I think it might have come from the baking soda. I’ve encountered frying batter recipes using baking powder. Just asking

  28. Lillian says:

    At this moment I am ready to do my breakfast, once having my breakfast coming again to
    read additional news.

  29. Summicron says:

    This has become my go-to recipe for Ku Lou Yuk. Only thing I do different is up the amount of rice vinegar, wooster sauce by quite a lot. And use potato flour for the deep-fry batter.

    My wife likes it more than those served in restaurants around my place. Thanks.

  30. Randolph says:

    Very quickly this site will be famous among all blog people, due to it’s nice content

  31. Bel says:

    Hi,

    I tried this recipe, but the pork I not crispy enough after frying, I did fried two times… what’s the trick?

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  33. Michelle says:

    Can I use pork belly for this recipe? Thanks bee

  34. Terri says:

    Hi Rasa,

    Seen a lot of comments regarding the chicken not staying crispy. I make a Tso’s Generals Chicken. The recipe states for their chicken:

    1 Chicken Breast Cubed
    1 Egg (beaten well)
    1-1/4 cups Flour
    Salt & Pepper to taste

    Put beaten egg in with diced chicken and coat well. Dredge chicken in flour until well coated. You can double dip if you like. Let chicken set for 2-3 minutes while oil is heating. Heat oil to 375 degrees or until water droplets sizzle–approximately a 7.5 on my electric stove. Fry chicken in oil in small batches until golden brown. Drain on wire cooling racks.

    This turns out CRISPY chicken every time. I will use this version for your Sweet & Sour Pork as well. :)

  35. Endang khong says:

    Hi,can I substitute plum sauce with hoisin sauce or maybe other sauces? Since I can’t find any plum sauce in my city. Thanks

  36. emurph2 says:

    I made this last night and I was so impressed! It was the best sweet and sour pork I have EVER had. The sauce was delicious and the pork was crispy perfection. I fried it in three batches with coconut oil. It was still crispy with the added sauce. I love the plum sauce in the sauce. Absolutely awesome recipe! I used the recipe in the Easy Chinese cookbook. I thought I was going to have enough for another meal and everyone kept having more and more until it was all gone.

    • emurph2 says:

      I wanted to add that I tenderized the pork following the directions in the cookbook and I think that made the meat really good.

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  38. Kezz18 says:

    This is a great recipe….but I found if you don’t mix the pork into the sauce before serving it stays crunchy….plate the rice & then add the deep fried pork on top, pour over the sauce & it’s sensational. Thank you for this lovely recipe

  39. phoxgrimm says:

    Howdy,. i was just about to try your recipe here and got the idea of trying peanut oil instead of any regular oils for frying, would that add a .nutty. taste to the batter coating? (*J*)..

  40. marilyn says:

    hello,
    I tried this recipe tonight and changed it slightly according to earlier comments and suggestions. I added more stir fry vegetables and used the batter mix that someone suggested. To keep the meat from getting soggy, I sliced the pork very, very thin instead of cutting it into cubes. It kept it very crisp. Also, I added the meat to the pan and let it cook a few minutes with the vegetables before adding the sauce right before adding the scallions at the end. I increased the sauce recipe as well. I will definitely make this one again.

  41. Charmaine says:

    Hi Bee,
    Can this pork be air fried in a Tefal Actifry or similar, will it go crisp? I prefer to fry this way, and would like to try your recipe.
    Many thanks

  42. Peter Koe says:

    Hi Bee

    Many thanks for the amazing recipe.
    Just a pointer. I had some trouble when it comes to “oz” in the midst of preparing the ingredients for cooking.
    Thought it would be easier to standardize to ‘tablespoon’ or ‘teaspoon’ instead.

    Thank you for doing a wonderful job of providing us with some of the all-time favorite recipes

    Best rgds
    Peter

  43. Chris says:

    i’m not a big poster, but wanted to say thanks for all the good recipes. Due to my wifes health troubles I do most of our cooking for a while now, and cooking Chinese makes it a lot of fun. I figure on getting your cookbook soon as I can afford it

  44. chloe says:

    uhm,where is the procedure to how to cook this sweet and sour pork????? please post the procedure..i need it now for my group activity

  45. Leigh says:

    We were in China this summer and our Chinese host ordered sweet and sour pork for us. I was very skeptical because I’ve never eaten it in the USA and liked it. We couldn’t believe how delicious it was. I’m going to make it tonight as a surprise for my husband. Thanks.

  46. Miyu says:

    I was shocked to see that in some chinese recipes they use Ketchup … what do you think of it ? I’ve heard that ketchup is actually coming from south east Asia but still… i cant see what is the point in using ketchup ..

  47. Hi Bee,
    I’m really looking forward to trying this recipe, not just because of the success I’ve had with your other recipes, and not just because my kids love Sweet & Sour Pork, but because I can’t wait to see what difference 1/8 of a teaspoon of anything can make to a recipe ;-)

  48. Shareen says:

    Hi Bee, I was thinking of buying your recipe book but what is the difference between what you’ve posted on your blog and those in your book?

  49. PaulineC says:

    HiHi,
    Thanks for this fabulous recipe..
    I cooked the sauce with fresh pineapple, and use it as a dip sauce and it’s simply awesome!

    Love it & Thank you!

  50. Lisa Quevedo says:

    I just made this tonight and loved it! I doubled the recipe, and would reccomend tripling the sauce as I thought it was a little dry and actually didn’t even use all of the pork. But, that might just be a personal taste. For those of you questioning the conversion of the flour and cornstarch, I used almost 1 cup of flour and a little over 3 Tbsp. of cornstarch (reminding you that this was doubling the recipe). I didn’t have any trouble with the deep frying as I let the oil get very hot. I would highly reccomend this recipe. My husband thought it was better than the usual chinese take-out!

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