Lighter Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and sour pork isn’t something I think of immediately when I order Chinese takeout.  I admit that battered and fried pieces of pork (or chicken or shrimp) have their appeal but having good health and pants that fit have more appeal and so I avoid it in favor of things that aren’t deep-fried.  Another complaint is that most Chinese takeout places around here mix the battered pieces of meat in with the sweet and sour sauce which would be fine if they didn’t drown the meat in so much sauce that all of the batter turns into a paste.  It’s easier for me just to avoid that and

Much more appetizing is making a great sweet and sour sauce and adding it to lean pork, then tossing in peppers and pineapple chunks (two things you almost never see in the takeout place’s offering).  What I love most about this is that without dipping the pork in batter, you still manage to get that same flavor and mouthfeel.  This was an incredibly quick dinner which makes it perfect for a weeknight.  If we had ordered takeout, we would have still been waiting for it by the time we sat down to eat this.  In order to make this dish quickly, make sure the pan you use is very hot before you put the pork in, and be prepared to stand at the stove stirring the pork constantly for a few minutes so that it doesn’t burn.  Also, be sure to reserve the juice from the canned pineapple when you drain it- you’ll need it for the sauce.  Speaking of the sauce, it’s amazing and I knew by looking at the original recipe that I needed more sauce so I doubled the ingredients for the sauce and my modifications are what you’ll see below.  Even doubling the sauce, it wasn’t enough to drown the pork which was perfect.  I used pineapple canned in natural pineapple juice and ketchup made without high fructose corn syrup because those are my preferences but this would work fine and still be better for you than takeout if you used “regular” ketchup.

light sweet and sour pork

Lighter Sweet and Sour Pork


  • 1 lb. center cut pork chops, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks (reserve juice)
  • 1/2 C.  juice from the canned pineapple
  • 1/2 C. white vinegar
  • 1/2 C. ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp.  brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger


Combine the egg white, salt, and cornstarch in a medium bowl.

Add the pork and stir to coat the pork evenly.

Set aside for 15 minutes at room temperature (or up to overnight, covered, in the refrigerator).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the pineapple juice, vinegar, ketchup, salt, and brown sugar.

Heat a large frying pan or wok over high heat (drop a bead of water in, it should instantly sizzle and evaporate).

Carefully pour in the olive oil and stir to coat.

Add the pork and spread it out into one layer, and let it cook untouched for 1 minute until the bottom is browned.

Flip the pork and fry the other side for 1 minute (it will still be slightly pink in the middle).

Remove the pork to a plate using a slotted spoon and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the peppers and ginger and cook for 1 minute.

Add the pineapple chunks and the sauce mixture, stirring to combine.

Turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to a simmer, then add the pork pieces back in.

Simmer for about 5 minutes, until the pork is cooked through.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: adapted from Jaden Hair for Simply Recipes


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