Sweet and Sour Pork

sweet and sour pork

Stir fry makes an inexpensive but tasty and healthy meal. Not to mention colourful. Sweet and Sour Pork is super speedy to make so you’ll probably take more time prepping ingredients than actually cooking. You can customize the vegetables according to the season and your taste and you can also use leftover cooked pork so it’s very versatile.

Start by toasting the sesame seeds in a large dry skillet. Toasting helps bring out the flavour and gives them a warm golden colour. Spread them in the pan over medium heat and watch carefully until they start darkening. Shake the pan occasionally to keep them moving around. When they’ve got a nice golden colour, scrape them into a dish to use for garnish.

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Blanching the broccoli in advance helps keep it nice and green. Just break the head into bite sized florets, toss them into boiling water for about 1 minute then drain and rinse with cold water. You can stir fry them with the rest of the vegetables if you like, they just won’t have the vibrant green colour.

Remember, you eat with all your senses including your eyes so this extra step is worth it.

sweet and sour pork

Peel the broccoli stems and slice them for the stir fry too.

Slice sweet peppers, carrots, onion and mushrooms. You can use any coloured peppers, the more colour the better! Try to keep the vegetables to bite sized pieces and similar sizes. Finely mince garlic and ginger. Fresh ginger root is excellent in this dish but if you don’t have any, you can use ground ginger in the sauce instead. Fresh ginger is quite common now, easily found in grocery stores and you won’t believe how inexpensive it is! It actually adds a hint of heat too.

Pro tip: Slice the carrots on a sharp angle at the narrow end and less of an angle at the thicker end so they’re relatively the same size. That way they cook at the same rate.

Feel free to change up the veggies or try some interesting options. Water chestnuts add an interesting texture as do bamboo shoots, both available in small cans, perfect for a stir fry. Or try some baby corn.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

Next, make up the sauce. Drain the pineapple juice into a large measuring cup. You will get about 3/4 cup depending on the amount of juice in the can. Add orange juice (or really any citrus juice is fine) to make 1 cup. Stir in rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar and cornstarch. You can also use regular vinegar, it just has a slightly more acidic level. Season with salt and pepper. If desired, add a bit of sriracha sauce if you like some heat.

You can use fresh or canned pineapple, however in this case the canned pineapple works well because you get lots of juice which is the main ingredient in the sauce. And there just happens to be the right amount of pineapple for 4 servings. Buy canned pineapple rings and slice them into chunks. You can buy pineapple chunks but I find they’re a little large for one bite.

Pork tenderloin is the optimal choice here because it’s nice and tender, not fatty and happens to be the right size for a 4 serving dish. Chop it into cubes, about 1 inch square. Season with salt and pepper. Sear in a hot pan with sesame oil until browning. If your pan isn’t very wide, cook the meat in batches, otherwise the meat will be too crowded and will steam instead of browning. That’s where the flavour begins.


Sesame oil has a strong flavour so you don’t want to use more than a teaspoon or two. You can use vegetable oil if you don’t have sesame oil. You might be wondering, why not just throw everything in. Well, here’s the deal. You can, but searing the pork first, although an extra step, gives the meat that caramelization on the outside that really does help the flavour of the final dish.

Remove the pork to a plate. Add a bit more oil if necessary and stir fry the vegetables for about 5 minutes or until the carrots are starting to soften.

sweet and sour pork

Add the garlic, ginger, pork and pineapple chunks, stir fry for another minute or two, then pour the sauce over and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. It may seem there’s a lot of sauce but it thickens and reduces.

If you’re using leftover cooked pork loin, add the pork at the end along with the pineapple. Leftover cooked pork roast isn’t as tender as pork tenderloin but it’s a good back up plan. For best results, slice it very thin against the grain.

Add the broccoli right before serving and stir just to allow it to heat back up so it stays nice and green.

sweet and sour pork

Serve over hot cooked rice. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and minced green onion.

sweet and sour pork

Here’s the recipe:

Sweet and Sour Pork

Tender chunks of pork tenderloin stir fried with colourful veggies and pineapple
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Keyword pork stir fry, pork with pineapple, sweet and sour pork
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 lb uncooked pork tenderloin or 1 lb leftover cooked pork loin
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 sweet pepper any colour
  • 2-3 carrots
  • ½ onion red is best for colour
  • 6 large mushrooms
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp minced ginger root or 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp sesame oil plus extra if necessary
  • 1 can pineapple chunks, drained reserving juice 398 ml can, about 1 ½ cups

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • ¾ cup reserved pineapple juice amount varies depending on juice in can
  • ¼ cup orange juice or enough to make 1 cup of juice combined with pineapple juice
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar or white vinegar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar well packed
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • sriracha sauce if desired for extra heat
  • salt and pepper


  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • minced green onion


  • Toast sesame seeds in dry hot pan. Remove to plate to cool, save for garnish.
  • Cut broccoli into bite sized pieces. Peel and slice stems, saving for stir fry. Blanch broccoli florets in boiling water for 1 minutes, drain quickly and cool in ice water.
  • Drain juice from pineapple chunks into measuring cup. Add orange juice to make up 1 cup of juice in total. Add rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar and cornstarch. Add sriracha if desired and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cut pork tenderloin into bite sized chunks, about 1 inch cubes. Sear in wide hot skillet in sesame oil until browned. Sear in batches if necessary to avoid crowding meat. Remove to a plate.
  • Slice pepper, carrots, mushrooms and onions. Add to hot skillet and stir fry until vegetables are starting to soften, adding more sesame oil if necessary. Add garlic and ginger, pork and pineapple and stir fry for a few more minutes. If using ground ginger instead of fresh giner root, add to sauce mixture.
  • Pour sauce over stir fry mixture and simmer for about 5 minutes until thickening and bubbling.
  • Add broccoli and stir to combine and heat through.
  • Serve hot over rice and garnish with sesame seeds and minced green onion.
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