Gluten-free | Refined sugar-free | No added fats or oils | Dairy-free
Why it’s delicious
Growing up in New Zealand, the Chinese takeaways of the 1970’s were in every strip mall and group of shops imprinting themselves into the culinary psyche of many kiwi families. Cantonese classics like steak fried rice, chicken chow mien, egg foo young and sweet and sour pork were our takeaway staples with flavours as familiar as marmite on toast and steak and cheese pies.
Having been challenged to make a healthier version of this deep fried sticky sweet dish, how could I not!
Helpful hints and tips
This dish does have a few components to it, so I would suggest you attempt to make it when you’re not rushed and have more time to enjoy the process of cooking and creating!
You will need an air fryer to get the best results from this recipe. Normally sweet and sour pork is deep fried, so an air fryer is going to help achieve fry like qualities without any added fats or oils.
This recipe requires Bridget's Sticky Sauce, a healthy cooking sauce I use in many of my recipes. It's simple, healthy and packs a lot of flavour without adding unnecessary calories. If you need the recipe, you can get it here.
I use my Sweet As Fibre Syrup as a refined sugar substitute in this recipe due to its natural sweetness. My fibre syrup is a low-calorie prebiotic fibre made from 100% pure chicory. Feel free to use your own fibre syrup, but read the labels. Many companies lace their syrups with malt extract and stevia to make them sweeter. If your fibre syrup isn't golden, it probably isn't 100% pure. Click here if you would like to purchase my Sweet As Fibre Syrup.
You can serve your sweet and sour pork with any of the following ideas : Cauliflower or broccoli rice, mixed salad with pickled onions or steamed green vegetables.
- 1 kg (2.2 lb) pork chops, trimmed of fat and bone and diced into small cubes
- 2 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
- 1 tsp ginger powder
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
- 2 tbsp Bridget's Sticky Sauce
- 1 tsp Himalayan salt
- 2 eggs, whisked
Sweet and sour sauce
- 180 ml (6 fl oz) Kombu Water
- 150 ml (5 fl oz) Bridget's Tomato Sauce or any sugar- gluten-free Tomato Sauce
- 120 ml (4 fl oz) Sweet As Fibre Syrup
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp tamari
- 1 tsp sesame oil, optional
- 1 tsp psyllium husks
- 200 g (7 oz) tapioca flour
- 1 tsp Himalayan salt
- 1 tbsp Bridget's Sticky Sauce
- 1 medium to large onion, peeled and chopped into chunks
- 250 g (8.8 fl oz) fresh pineapple, peeled and diced
- 1 large red capsicum, flesh sliced
- 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
- 1-2 long red chillies, seeded and chopped , optional
- 1 spring onion, cut into strips
Place the diced pork into a container and sprinkle with the Chinese 5-spice, ginger powder, apple cider vinegar, grated ginger, Sticky sauce and salt. Mix to ensure the pork is evenly coated and then leave to marinate for 30-60 minutes.
While the pork marinades, make the sauce by pouring into a medium sized pot kombu water, Bridget’s tomato sauce, fibre syrup, apple cider vinegar, tamari and sesame oil. Whisk to combine and then bring the mixture to a soft boil and allow the sauce to gently boil for 5 minutes.
Add the psyllium husks and whisk. The sauce should be thick and sticky.
Batter and “fry” the pork by adding 2 whisked eggs to the marinating pork and mix through. Into a second bowl add the tapioca flour and stir through one teaspoon of salt and into a third bowl place ⅓ cup of water.
Batter the pork, by using the following 3 step process.
- Step 1 : Place a small handful of diced meat into the flour, patting to adhere the flour to the pork.
- Step 2 : Scoop the pork from the flour and lay into the water bowl.
- Step 3 : Scoop the wet pork back into the flour and pat again. This system will ensure you get an even double coating. Set the battered pork pieces aside whilst you complete the 3 step process until all the pork has been battered.
Preheat your air fryer on 200C (390F) for 2 minutes and lay as much battered pork as you can in the fryer basket. The pork can touch, but only one layer of pork at a time. Cook the pork for 10-12 minutes until golden and the pork is cooked through.
Set the pork aside while you prepare the wok vegetables by heating a large wok or pot on medium to high temperature. Add the sticky sauce followed by onion, pineapple and capsicum and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Add garlic and chilli if using and stir fry for another minute.
Add the battered pork and pour over the sauce and stir to combine. Allow the mixture to bubble away and heat the pork thoroughly, stirring often to stop it from sticking. Season with salt and serve topped with the spring onions.