Excuse me while I go back in time a couple of days…
Happy Chinese New Year everyone!
Yes, I realise I’m a little slow off the mark on this one, but with good reason – my pineapple wasn’t ripe 🙂 I’ve not done home-made sweet and sour for ages and that’s a travesty because it’s a) very easy to make and b) much much tastier than jar stuff and many (though not all) takeaways. This doesn’t have the neon colour that you may have come to expect, but does pack lots of yummy flavour, so is well worth a go if you fancy the slight indulgence. Adjust the sauce ingredients to suit yourself.
This recipe is adapted from the one my mummy makes on occasion. I have a memory (one of those really vivid ones which she won’t remember at all!) of a night when I was around 10 years old, and Mum made chinese food – sweet and sour included. I stayed up until gone midnight with Mum, Dad and the oldest of my 3 little brothers eating Chinese, playing Mahjong and watching films. That was the first time I saw Highlander and Sleuth. See – very vivid memory!
Add whichever ingredients you like – water chestnuts are particularly good for the crunchy texture they add, and cashews are good in this too. It works well with chicken too.
I love Chinese food! What are your favourite recipes?
Sweet and Sour Pork with Stir Fried Veg Noodles
1 small or 1/2 large pineapple (you can use tinned pineapple, but it will be incredibly sweet)
Toasted sesame oil
Fresh root ginger
Chinese 5 spice powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
200 ml orange juice
50 ml vinegar (rice or cider vinegar are good)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato purée or ketchup (I used ketchup)
2 tablespoons cornflour
- Remove the skin from the pineapple and chop into fairly small pieces, discarding the core. This can be a pretty messy job, as ripe pineapple is JUICY!
- Slice the onion and pepper into fairly large chunks and stir fry in a little sesame oil. Peel the fresh ginger, and slice thinly. Add to the veg with ground ginger and 5 spice to taste. Stir well.
- Add the pork to brown, followed by the pineapple and juice. Fry on a medium heat for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Mix together the sugar, juice, vinegar, soy sauce and tomato. At this point, taste the sauce and add more of whichever elements you feel it needs. Add to the wok and turn the heat down low. How long you have to cook this for depends on the type of meat you’re using – if it is lean, then it won’t need very long. I used diced pork shoulder which is fairly fatty and needs long cooking, so I put it in the slow cooker on ‘low’ for a couple of hours.
- Slice the carrot into thin strips, or ribbons using a vegetable peeler. Slice the sprouts and mushrooms thinly to, and stir fry in sesame oil with the sesame seeds.
- Mix the cornflour with a little cold water and add a little at a time to the sweet and sour, turning the heat up. The cornflour should cook out, leaving the sauce clear rather than milky, and somewhere between thick and gelatinous. Add more cornflour, depending on how gloopy you like your sauce.
- Cook the noodles and fry with the veg.
- This is a great base for a miniature chinese feast if you fancy having a get-together – get everyone to make and bring a different dish. Here are a few ideas of other dishes you could have:
- Prawn Crackers
- Sesame Prawn Toast
- Spring Rolls
- Egg Fried Rice
- Peanut Satay Stir Fry
- Ginger King Prawns
- Five Spice Duck
- Crispy Lamb
- Chilli Beef
- Lemon Chicken
- Beef in black bean sauce