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. (You can check out my sweet and sour chicken recipe.) 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.
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!
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!
Other popular Chinese recipes: Broccoli Beef, Sweet and Sour Pork, Egg Drop Soup, Kung Pao Chicken, Chow Mein, Fried Rice, Orange Chicken, Mongolian Beef, General Tso’s Chicken, Honey Walnut Shrimp, Lettuce Wraps, and more.