Monday, June 11, 2007

Red Hot Summer

If I have to choose one colour to represent summer, that would undoubtedly be RED. The reason is obvious. Summer is always red hot. More so now than ever, because we are in the desert. To be precise, we are in Phoenix visiting OCT's friend now. While we are here, we also visited the Grand Canyon and Zion Valley National Park. My skin tone must have been darken by more than 3 shades after exposing myself long hours under the sun.

Speaking of summer, the hot and spicy Thailand cuisine comes to mind. Although I haven't been cooking these few days, I would like to share this sweet and sour pork dish that I made the day before we left for Phoenix. It's a Thai recipe that I made for the second time. Not only is it delicious, it is also fully packed with anti-oxidant rich ingredients. The combination of red peppers, tomatoes and pineapple produced a sweet and sour flavour, which is unmistakably unique to Southeast Asia dishes. Chilli is optional here though. If you prefer to have something spicy, feel free to add chilli or hot sauce. Or you can totally omit it without affecting the flavour of the dish.

This simple sweet and sour pork is an easy recipe to make at home while we have craving for Thai food. We find ourselves eating more than our usual share of rice whenever this dish is served for dinner! I am submitting this sweet and sour pork for my first ever ARF/5-A-Day. Be sure to check out Cate's lovely Sweetnicks on Tuesday for the round-up and other ARF ideas!

Sweet and Sour Pork (Moo Preow Waan)

10 oz trimmed pork tenderloin
1/2 tsp tomato paste (or 2 tbsp of ketchup dissolved in 1 tbsp water)
1 tbsp water
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp rice (or white) vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/4 small onion, roughly chopped
1/3 medium red pepper, cut into 1 inch/2.5 cm squares
1/2 small tomato, cut into 1 inch/ 2.5cm chunks
1.5 inches english cucumber, cut into 1 inch/2.5 cm wedges
1 cup pineapple, cut into 1/2 inch/1 cm pieces
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water
pinch black pepper
strips of red pepper
fresh coriander leaves

Slice tenderloin into strips that are 1/4 inch/5mm thick, 2 inches/5cm long and about 1 inch/2.5cm wide. If you find it difficult to cut thinly through fresh meat, leave it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to harden slightly, then slice. Reserve.

In a small bowl mix together tomato paste, water, fish sauce, vinegar, lime juice and sugar and beat until blended. Reserve.

Heat oil in a wok (or a large frying pan) until it is just about to smoke. Add garlic and stirfry for 30 second. Immediately add reserved pork and stirfry for 2-3 minutes until all th pork has fried in the oil and is turning white. Add onion, red pepper, tomato, cucumber and pineapple as well as soy sauce and black pepper and stirfry for 2 minutes, unitl all the vegetables have begun to wilt.

Add reserve sauce (tomato paste etc, stirfry for 1-2 minutes until everything is integrated and shiny. Dissolve cornstarch in water, add to work and stirfry for less than a minute, until the sauce has thickened somewhat. Take off heat.

Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with black pepper. Top with stips o red pepper and coriander leaves. Serve immediately, accompanied by steamed rice.

serves 4.


Deborah said...

Wow - what a beautiful dish!! I am kicking myself for not finding red peppers to plant in the garden this year - they are so expensive to buy here. But I will have green and yellow, so maybe I could substitute??

Anonymous said...

My impression of sweet and sour pork is always pork tenderloin strips coated with flour and to be deep-fried first, before mix-in with peppers, tomatoes etc.
Hmmm..maybe I could try this sometime.

I visited Grand Canyon last winter. I think you gonna get a different view in different seasons.

Nora B. said...

Mandy, that looks and sounds authentic. Aside from Thai curries, I tend not shy away from cooking Thai because I like Thai take-out. And there are so many good ones in Sydney. (plus, it's a good excuse for me to get a break from the kitchen). p/s: keep cool!

Helene said...

To answer your question about the tarts, I used low fat yogurt and it worked fine.

Mandy said...


red pepper is expensive here too, but I got some cheap ones from the farmer's market! I believe yellow bell peppers will work well here. Or you can totally omit them. I didn't add any bell pepper in my first attempt and it turned out fine.

Yeah, the chinese version of this dish involved deepfrying. I think this version is much healthier.
I am sure the view of Grand Canyon in winter must be stunning. This time of the year, it was hot like the oven.

Like Thai take-out here is as convenience as Sydney, I guess I won't be cooking this myself ;P

Got it! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

This looks delicious! I'm sure I would find myself eating more rice if I had this for dinner. Yummy!

Little Corner of Mine said...

Looks good! And I like all the anti-oxidant rich ingredients all in a dish.

Anonymous said...

Oh delicious. This sounds wonderful!

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