Saturday, October 5, 2019

Sweet And Sour Pork.

I know we have a lot of great restaurants on the Outer Banks,
but sometimes you want Chinese.
Most all of the ChinaMacs we used to have down here
have closed, and I can't say I miss any of them.
So, when I want something "Chinese,"
I have to make it myself.
And it's sad to say that my lily white American ass
can produce a sweet and sour pork
that's far better than anything I've had down here.
Also my egg rolls are superior to any I've had down here, too.
But, I digest...

A couple weeks ago,
I was doing the freezer clean-out
and found 3 pork loins.
I put them on my to-do list.
And today, I'm to-do-ing.
We're having Sweet and Sour Pork.

First, I cut the pork into small bite-sized pieces
and placed them in a marinade
which I covered and refrigerated overnight.
You could marinate for a couple of hours and go from there
if you're short on time.

 1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 TB hoisin sauce
2 TB rice vinegar
1 TB mirin
2 TB brown sugar
1 TB sriracha sauce
Mix all ingredients until sugar is dissolved.
Put pork pieces in and stir to coat.
Let marinate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Next, I gathered my fixin's for stir fry.

Here's what I had on hand for my pork stir fry,
clockwise from top left:
bok choy, chopped
carrots, peeled and artistically sliced
sugar snap peas, stringed
red and green peppers, sliced 
onions, sliced
garlic, minced (not shown)

You don't have to limit yourself to these vegetables
and you don't have to use these vegetables.
Keep your options open.
If you want broccoli, go for it.
I'm down with those little bitty ears of corn too.
Water chestnuts?  Bamboo shoots? Have at it.
Squash?  Zucchini?  Celery?  Help yourself.
The only "rule" is to have the pieces chopped 
basically the same size (bite-sized), so they cook evenly.

NOTE:  Preparation is KEY for stir frying.
Have everything peeled, chopped, sliced, diced,
and ready to fry.
Once you start, there's no turning back.

 I had already cooked a pot of jasmine rice
and I had a sweet and sour sauce ready.

Sweet and Sour Sauce
1 8-oz can pineapple chunks with juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan 
and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve brown sugar.
Slowly pour in a cornstarch slurry -
1 TB cornstarch dissolved in 1 TB water.
Stir until thickened.
Keep warm.

Next, I prepped the pork pieces.
Drain the pork, saving the marinade,
then toss in a mixture of equal parts flour and corn starch,
with some kosher salt thrown in.
Coat evenly.

Now, let's start stir frying.
Heat a large skillet with a couple tablespoons of peanut oil.
You want it about 400°.
Peanut oil is my oil of choice because it's neutral flavored
and it has a high smoke point - perfect for stir fries.

The carrots take longest, so they went in first,
for about 60-75 seconds.
Learn how to do the pan flip thing
where you shove the pan forward, give it a little flip back,
tossing the ingredients,
then letting them fall back in place.
No utensils needed.  Just a strong wrist and some coordination.

Then I dropped in the bok choy and the pea pods.
Keep flipping for about 30 seconds.
And then the onions and peppers and garlic.
Keep doing that pan toss to heat the ingredients evenly.

Finally, the cashews went in.
Total time was about 2 minutes.

Lastly, I poured in the marinade and brought it to a simmer.
Pour vegetables and sauce into a bowl and keep warm.
Give the pan a sweep with paper towels to clean it out
and pour in a film of peanut oil
Heat the oil to around 375° 
and place the pork cubes in.
Fry in batches.
Do not crowd the pan.
Brown and remove.

Plate rice, then vegetables and pork,
and pour the sweet and sour sauce over top.

I love the colors in a stir fry.
Everything is pretty.
And the vegetables are crisp!


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