sweet and sour pork

sweet and sour pork is a pretty big undertaking which tim has attempted a few times since i’ve known him. it was always good, but last night, he struck the exact right consistency with the beer batter.

beer battered sweet and sour pork

roughly following a recipe for beer batter from “the joy of cooking”, tim mixed together baking powder, milk, beer, flour, salt, and eggs. then, he dipped pork loin chunks (without flouring them first) in the batter and fried them in a pot of hot oil. the batter was tasty, and in my opinion, perfect… crunchy, but not doughy, and with a good flavor.

while he was working on the pork, i cooked some basmati rice and threw together a veggie stir fry. rice is something that i grew up thinking was really hard, because my parents always used a steamer with exact measurements and even then it didn’t always turn out perfectly. once i moved out and started attempting rice on my own, i realized it’s not really that bad. the last time i messed rice up was because i used a pot without a tightly fitting lid, so all the steam escaped. i remember when i first wanted to cook rice in a pot, i looked it up online and found an article describing how the amount of water should be one finger knuckle above the rice. so basically, you add your rice to the pan, then cover with water until you can stick your finger in, barely touching the top of the rice, and have it reach your first knuckle. this seemed horribly imprecise and i thought there was no way that could work consistently, but i’ve actually always had luck with it. i’d never cooked basmati before so last night i measured accurately, but then tried the finger test anyway and it was exactly on. so anyway, you add cold water to your rice in about a 2:1 water to rice ratio and bring it to a boil on the stove. as soon as it boils, turn the heat to low and cover. leave it like this for about 20 minutes, trying to resist the urge to peek in too much because you don’t want all the steam to come out. when i peek in and see no water bubbling, i usually give it a quick stir to make sure there isn’t water still sitting on the bottom. if there’s not, i turn the heat to high and cover for 30 seconds, then turn it off and let it sit, covered, for another 5 minutes before fluffing. it works with just about any type of rice, but some take longer than others to cook.

vegetable wok stir fry

for the stir fry, i prepped all the vegetables first: onion, green onion, red bell pepper, mushroom, bean sprouts, green beans, and broccoli. i like to have about equal volume of each vegetable and try to cut them in fairly commensurate sizes. then i heated the wok up, threw in a mixture of olive and toasted sesame oil over high heat, and started cooking. the key to getting stir fry right is putting everything in in the right order, stirring a lot, and high heat. the order i put the vegetables in was: green beans, bell peppers and onions, broccoli, mushrooms and bean sprouts, green onions. after each one, i stirred until everything was just heated through and coated with oil and then added the next. right after the green onions, i put on some seasonings (salt, pepper, sriracha sauce, cumin) and a little rice vinegar and sweet and sour sauce (tim was all out of soy sauce :-(). then i just stirred to combine and turned the heat off.

we ate the pork with sweet and sour sauce on top next to veggie stir fry and white rice. it was a really well executed meal; tim and i think it was probably in our top 3 meals cooked together. everything came together very well and everything was cooked perfectly. i never was one for deep frying before, but it definitely has its place when done well.


~ by agent229 on March 13, 2010.

2 Responses to “sweet and sour pork”

  1. My mom taught me the knuckle test when I was but a wee (asian) lass!! And it has never failed.
    That sure looks yummy!

    • thanks 🙂 yeah i dont know why but my mom always treated rice as this really tricky finicky thing so i was scared to cook it, but then i just started to one day a few years ago and was like “oh. this is kind of easy”. i mean, every now and then if i’m not paying attention or something it might not turn out perfect but… that finger trick works for sure.

      i wish we could cook something together… we’ll have to do that when you’re here! a tuesday reunion or something

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