Sweet and Sour Pork

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Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Chinese Heritage Cooking

Chinese Heritage Cooking

By Christopher Tan and Amy Van

Published 2018

  • About

This southern Chinese classic properly gets its sweetness and tang from fruit. The resulting sauce is light and vibrant, and should never taste syrupy, cloying or heavy. Some cooks may add tomato ketchup to the sauce, a modern addition, but if used, it should not dominate the flavour of the sauce. A childhood favourite with many, this dish is best served with a bowl of freshly steamed white rice.


  • Pork shoulder meat 350 g (12 oz), cubed
  • Rice wine 1 Tbsp
  • Potato starch tsp
  • Oyster sauce ¾ tsp
  • Light soy sauce ½ tsp
  • Egg 1, small
  • Tapioca starch as needed
  • Cooking oil for frying and deep-frying
  • Onion ½, small, peeled and sliced into wedges
  • Young ginger 2 thin slices
  • Green and red capsicums (bell peppers) ½ each, small, cored and cut into 3-cm (1-in) pieces
  • Tomatoes 2, small, each cut into 6 segments
  • Canned pineapple rings (optional) 2, cut into chunks


  • Water 100 ml ( fl oz)
  • Plum sauce 3 Tbsp
  • Sugar Tbsp or to taste
  • Rice vinegar 1 Tbsp
  • Light soy sauce 1 Tbsp
  • Crumbled haw flakes (optional) 1 Tbsp
  • Salt tsp or to taste
  • Cornflour (cornstarch) 1 tsp


  • Spring onion (scallion) 1, white part only, cut into slivers


  1. Wash pork cubes well, then pat dry with paper towels. Toss well with rice wine, potato starch, oyster sauce and soy sauce. Cover and let marinate for 30 minutes, covered and refrigerated.
  2. Combine all ingredients for sauce and stir until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil for deep-frying until it shimmers and a haze forms above it. Meanwhile, beat egg well and stir into marinated pork cubes. Spread tapioca starch on a plate and roll pork cubes in starch to coat lightly but thoroughly. Let cubes rest for 3–4 minutes, so the starch coat can set.
  4. With chopsticks or tongs, drop pork cubes one by one into hot oil. Deep-fry for 2–3 minutes, until pale golden brown and pork is only just cooked through. Fry in batches to avoid crowding oil. Drain on paper towels. When all pork cubes have been fried, heat oil until very hot and fry pork again for 40–50 seconds per batch, until deep golden brown and crispy. Drain well.
  5. Heat 2 tsp fresh oil in a clean wok over high heat. When hot, add onion and pineapple and fry until pieces are browned at the edges. Add ginger and capsicums and stir-fry vigorously for about 1 minute, until capsicums are crisp-tender.
  6. Add tomatoes and sauce mixture. Stir for 30 seconds more, until sauce boils and thickens. Add pork and toss well. Dish out, garnish with spring onion and serve immediately.