Whenever you see those headlines like, "Worst Take-Out Food Choices Ever," on the various websites, you can be sure that sweet and sour pork will be near the top of the list.
That's because it's usually made from fatty pieces of pork shoulder, cut into cubes, dipped in a thick batter, deep-fried, and finally coated with a super-sugary, thick, starchy sauce.
I'm no shrinking violet around high-calorie food, but classic Chinese-American take-out sweet and sour pork is basically deep-fried, sugar-coated, fatty pork chunks. And yes, once in a while, it's pretty damn awesome (like twice a decade).
For a more reasonable way to enjoy the same basic flavors, I think this pork tenderloin version is a nice alternative. As I say in the video, pork tenderloin is lean, very easy to cook (as long as you can get past those ridiculous fears about slightly pink pork), and the sauce takes about two minutes to prep.
By the way, this is not simply fake Chinese food; it's actually fake, fake Chinese food. The aforementioned death nuggets we call sweet and sour pork are not even remotely close to any kind of authentic sweet and sour preparation in real Chinese cuisine. Or at least that’s what I heard Anthony Bourdain say one time. Now that's research.
Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed this plate of florescent food, and if you're a fan of the Chinese take-out version, I believe you will too. Also, I would suggest tossing in some green onions (the white parts) along with the garlic, and save the green tops to garnish with as I did with the chives. Enjoy!
Sweet and Sour Pork Tenderloin Ingredients:
For the sauce:
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
reserved pineapple juice from can
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped green onions, white parts, optional
2 teaspoons Asian hot chili sauce (sambal or sriracha), or to taste
1/4 cup water or chicken broth to thin sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce, or to taste
For the pork medallions:
1 pork tenderloin, trimmed, cut, flattened into four medallions
salt and fresh ground black pepper as needed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon butter
1 can (8-oz) pineapple chunks, drained, juice reserved
4 cups cooked white rice
2 tablespoon chopped green onion tops or chives to garnish