Monday, January 4, 2016

Sweet and Sour Pork with Tangy Hibiscus Sauce

The delightfully delicate, yet exotic flavor of the hibiscus flower provides the perfect addition to this update of the classic Sweet and Sour Pork. Subtly sweet, these flowers mingle perfectly with the sharp tartness of rice vinegar and the rich umami of soy sauce. Add these lovely hibiscus flowers to your next Asian stir-fry for a beautiful, delicious highlight.

Sweet and Sour Pork with Tangy Hibiscus Sauce
by Gary Gee, My Cooking Blog
Adapted from The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook by Gloria Bley Miller
Serves 4-6

2 Tablespoons light soy sauce
2 Tablespoons sherry or cooking wine
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 pounds pork loin, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon water
1 teaspoon salt
Peanut oil, for frying

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 cup water, divided use
2 Tablespoons light soy sauce
2 Tablespoons hibiscus syrup from jar of Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup canned pineapple chunks, drained
4-6 drained Wild Hibiscus Flowers, cut in half, plus more for garnish, if desired

For the pork:
In a large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sherry, sugar, and white pepper until well-blended. Add pork cubes, tossing to coat evenly. Cover and marinate 30 minutes to an hour, turning meat several times.

In another large bowl, whisk eggs. Add flour, water and salt; whisk to combine. Set aside.

Heat one inch of oil in a dutch oven, or electric skillet to 350°F. Remove pork from marinade, dip into egg wash (do not coat too heavily), and carefully drop into hot oil. Do not overcrowd. Cook approximately 3 minutes, until golden, turning once. Remove pork from oil with a large spider or slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all pork has been fried once. Return oil to temperature, and fry the pork cubes a second time until cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Drain on paper towels.

To make the sauce:
In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, vinegar, 1/2 cup water, soy sauce, and hibiscus syrup. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add bell pepper, and stir-fry until just glossy but still firm, about 30 seconds more. Add sugar/vinegar mixture. Stir until sugar is dissolved and sauce is heated through.

Mix cornstarch with remaining 1/2 cup water until completely dissolved. Stir into sauce and heat until thickened. Stir in pineapple chunks and hibiscus flowers and remove from heat.

To serve: 
Place fried pork in a large bowl. Add sauce to taste, and stir to coat well. Turn out onto serving platter. Garnish with additional hibiscus flowers, if desired. Serve at once.

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