{Gourmet Sunday}As Chinese as Sweet and Sour Pork Gets

Much has been said about the dispute between the Philippines and China. I have my opinions on that but I wouldn’t want to stain food with politics or territorial arguments. It’s not appetizing at all.

Honestly, China has always been the Asian counterpart of the United States. It has been leading the Asian as well as the global economy in numerous aspects. Culturally, the Chinese I believe has influenced most, if not all countries when it comes to cuisine. Acculturation or not, Chinese food has been part of every person’s palate. I mean, Chinese restaurants are everywhere, and resources are bountiful, recipes and all. But, authenticity is always a hard thing to find if you want to try and recreate an international cuisine.


The dishes I made for this Gourmet Sunday was to the T when it comes to taste and ‘Chinese-ness’. There are a number of versions for these dishes much like adobo of the Philippines. I had my fair share of Chinese food and I think all three fit the bill. The favorite yang chow fried rice, and the famous sweet and sour pork are staples in every Chinese restaurant. The stir-fried mushrooms and young corn filled the gap perfectly.

There should always be a balance between not only the flavor but also the quantity of ingredients. I learned that as I made the yang chow fried rice. I had to restrain myself from adding more ham or more peas. In the end, the ratio between the rice and the add-ons was perfect.


Side dishes in Chinese food necessitate vegetables. It is generally a healthy cuisine. The mushrooms gave the earthy taste that balanced the sweetness brought by the young corn. Also, I made sure not to overcook the corn to maintain the crunch that is crucial for a textural addition. Oh, I made use of a mix of fresh and dried shiitake mushrooms with whole button mushrooms and some oyster mushrooms too.


The sweet and sour pork was my favorite of the three. It was the perfect balance of sweet and sour. Making sure that you drain the oil away from the deep-fried pork by placing on wire racks kept them crunchy even after being drenched with the perfect sweet and sour sauce. The crunch from the peppers, carrots and onions also added that extra dimension to the dish.

For the next Gourmet Sunday, check out the menu below:



It doesn’t get any more Chinese than these!

Stir-Fried Mushrooms with Baby Corn
Adapted from an unrecalled source

Serves 6

3 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
12 baby corn ears, sliced
500g fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water

Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Sauté garlic. Add the onion and baby corn until onions are translucent. Add the mushrooms until slightly softened.

Pour fish sauce, soy sauce and oyster sauce.

Whisk cornstarch and water together and pour into the mixture. Cook and stir until thickened and glistening.

Yang Chow Fried Rice
Adapted from an unrecalled source

Serves 6

1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 red onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 cup peas
1 cup diced ham
20 pieces small shrimp, peeled, deveined
3 eggs, beaten and scrambled in large curds
4 cups cooked rice
2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat wok over medium-high heat. Add the oil.

Sauté ginger and garlic followed by the bell pepper, onion and carrots. Follow with peas, ham and shrimp, stirring constantly.

Add the eggs and rice, stirring constantly. Add in scallions, spices, salt and pepper until heated completely.

Serve hot.

Sweet and Sour Pork
Adapted from an unrecalled source

Serves 6

500g pork butt, cut in 1-in cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 egg white
2 green onions, chopped
Cornstarch for dredging
1 green bell pepper, cut in 1-in pieces
1 onion, wedges
1 carrot, half-moons
White sugar, to taste
Salt, to taste

1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
8oz can pineapple chunks, undrained
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Place pork in a bowl and season with salt, sugar and soy sauce. Mix in the egg white and green onions. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Coat pork in cornstarch and fry until evenly browned. Drain on paper towels or on a wire rack.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok over medium heat. Stir in peppers, onions and carrots until tender. Season with salt and sugar. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large saucepan, mix water, salt, sugar, apple cider vinegar, ketchup and soy sauce. Bring to a boil and stir in cooked pork, vegetables and pineapple chunks with its juice. Return to a boil and mix in cornstarch and water to thicken. Cook until well-blended.

Serve hot.


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