Sweet and sour pork with water chestnuts

Tender pork and crunchy water chestnuts are brought together in a sweet and sour sauce in this recipe harking from Beijings Imperial era. Recipe by Gary Rhodes
By Gary Rhodes
Sweet and sour pork with water chestnuts
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes plus 15 minutes marinating
  • Effort: easy


For the pork and water chestnuts

  • 900 g pork meat, leg, thinly sliced
  • 8 water chestnuts, quartered
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 250 ml sweet and sour sauce
  • 1 small pineapple, peeled, cut into chunks

For the marinade

  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 150 ml aged shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tbsp potato starch

Tips and Suggestions

the double frying method allows the outside of the pork to crisp up while the inside remains succulent.


1. For the pork and water chestnuts: using the tip of a sharp knife, score one side of the pork slices into diamond shapes. Cut down the middle lengthways and then cut triangles off of each side.

2. For the marinade: mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a bowl, then add the pork slices and mix well to coat. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for 15 minutes.

3. Remove the pork from the marinade and lay down flat on a chopping board, scored side down. Place one nugget of water chestnut onto each pork slice, wrap into a ball and secure with a cocktail stick. Repeat with the remaining water chestnuts and pork slices.

4. Half fill a saucepan with the vegetable oil and heat until a small cube of bread dropped in turns golden-brown in 30 seconds. Carefully lower the pork and water chestnut skewers into the oil and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown and the pork is cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon, then reheat the oil and add the pork back in to fry once more until a deep golden-brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

5. Remove the toothpicks from the pork and water chestnuts.

6. Heat a clean wok and add the pork and water chestnuts, along with the pineapple chunks and sweet and sour sauce. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes to warm the sauce through, then pile onto a plate and garnish with a sprig of mint before serving.

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