Homemade Sweet and Sour Pork Tenderloin

Crisp, savory, sweet, and sour, the classic Chinese takeaway is made easy. Follow to make the best sweet and sour pork tenderloin at home.

One thing I like about sweet and sour dishes is that they are like in the middle ground of the main course and a snake. You have the meat, usually fried. And you have the sauce that reminds you of sweets and candies.

That’s why they are so loved and considered classic Chinese takeaways. The sweet and sour flavor complements the meat and makes the dish addictive. And today, we are making sweet and sour pork tenderloin. And here are several reasons to try this recipe.

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Why you will like this recipe

  • This sweet and sour pork tenderloin is easy to make. A few basic ingredients will be enough to recreate this classic Chinese takeaway.
  • It’s packed with flavors and textures. The tenderloin is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. One bite and the savoriness melts in the sweet and sour sauce. You won’t have enough of it.
  • The kids will adore it. Besides the flavor, pork tenderloin is boneless. So you don’t need to worry about kids choking.
  • It’s visually appealing, which makes it perfect for Lunar New Year dinners, parties, or other special occasions. The vibrant colors will make it the center of attention.
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How to make sweet and sour pork tenderloin?

Like sweet and sour pork ribs or other sweet dishes in Chinese takeouts, this sweet and sour pork tenderloin recipe requires frying. 

Some families don’t have a wok or a deep fryer used in restaurants. So I used a pan instead, and the results are still impressive.

I also leave some of the garnish you may see in the sweet and sour pork ribs takeaway, such as pineapple and pepper. Instead, I topped it with white sesame to enhance the taste and look.

These two modifications make the recipe accessible to anyone with essential ingredients and a pan. So you can make it on any given day without having to go to the supermarket.

Ingredients

  • Pork – use pork tenderloin, which is lean and tender in general, but with the right amount of fat.
  • Marinate – soy sauce, egg white, salt, white sugar, rice vinegar, and cooking vine.
  • Batter – a mixture of cornstarch and water.
  • Vegetable oil – for frying the pork and pan-frying in the source. I use canola oil for frying and olive oil for stir-frying for the different smoking points.

And here’s what you need for the sweet and sour sauce:

  • White sugar – to add sweetness
  • Salt – to make the dish more savory
  • Ketchup- for the sweet and sour flavor and the color
  • Rice vinegar – to make the dish a bit sourer
  • Cornstarch – to thicken the sauce
  • Sesame – the final touch to add a bit more crisp and aroma

Step-by-step instructions

So with all the ingredients ready, here’s how to make the sweet and sour pork tenderloin step-by-step.

Prepare and marinate the pork

Rinse the pork twice and remove the skin (if any). Hit it thoroughly with the back of the knife to make it more tender. Then cut it into strips about one inch thick.

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Transfer the pork strips to a bowl, and add soy sauce, egg white, salt, white sugar, vinegar, and cooking vine. Stir to mix evenly. For optimal results, put the bowl in the fridge for one hour before cooking.

Batter the pork

In a bowl, mix cornstarch and water. Add the pork to the bowl and stir until the pork is evenly coated with batter.

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Frying the pork

Pour oil into a pan or a wok, at least 2 inches deep, so the strips will completely immerse in it. Heat it to 350˚F or 180˚C.

If you don’t have a thermometer, wait until the oil starts to bubble steadily. And if you put a fork or a chopstick in the oil, it will be surrounded by bubbles. Then the oil is hot enough for frying.

Pour the pork strips in the oil. Carefully split them apart, so they don’t stick with each other. Fry for 3 minutes until they are slightly golden. Transfer to a plate to cool down completely.

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Refry the pork for 40 seconds or to golden, so the pork is crispy.

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This step is key to making the sweet and sour pork crispy. When it cools down from the first fry, the surface toughens. And the short refrying makes will give an extra crunch.

Place a few layers of paper towel on a plate or get a cooling rack. And transfer the pork to it to absorb the excess oil.

Making the sauce

In a bowl, mix white sugar, salt, ketchup, and rice vinegar. Then add warm water to melt the sugar and mix the ingredients better.

In a separate bowl, mix cornstarch with warm water. Stir evenly and set it aside for later.

Stir-frying the fried pork

On a pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sauce to the pan first, and stir until it bubble.

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Add the fried pork to the pan and keep stirring for 2 minutes. Make sure the sauce evenly coats the pork.

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Add cornstarch water and stir until the sauce thickens.

Transfer to a plate. Sprinkle white sesame on top and enjoy!

Sweet and sour pork tenderloin

Sweet and Sour Pork Tenderloin

Yield: 3 Servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Crisp, savory, sweet, and sour, the classic Chinese takeaway is made easy. Follow to make the best sweet and sour pork tenderloin at home.

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs of pork tenderloin

Marinate

  • 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking vine (preferably Shaohsing Wine)
  • 1 egg white

Batter

  • 5 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • Warm water

Frying

  • Vegetable oil (preferable canola oil)

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of white sugar
  • A pinch of salt or to taste
  • 5 tablespoons of ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of cornstarch
  • A sprinkle of white sesame

Instructions

    1. Rinse the pork twice and remove the skin (if any). Ponder the meat with the back of the knife to tenderize the pork. Then cut it into 1-inch thick strips.
    2. Transfer the pork strips to a bowl, and add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, a pinch of salt, 1 egg white, 1 tablespoon of white sugar, 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 tablespoon of cooking vine. Stir to mix evenly. Marinate for an hour.
    3. Mix 5 tablespoons of cornstarch and water in a bowl. Add the pork to the bowl and stir until the pork is evenly coated with batter.
    4. Pour enough canola oil into a pan or a wok and eat it to 350˚F or 180˚C.
    5. Pour the pork strips in the oil. Separate them with chopsticks or a spatula. Fry for 3 minutes until slightly golden. Transfer to a plate to cool down completely.
      Refry the pork for 40 seconds or until golden. Transfer to a plate covered with paper towels or a cooling rack to remove the excess oil.
    6. In a bowl, 2 tablespoons of white sugar, a pinch of salt, 5 tablespoons of ketchup, and 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar. Then add warm water to mix.
    7. In a separate bowl, mix 2 teaspoons of cornstarch with warm water. Stir evenly and set it aside for later.
    8. On a pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sauce to the pan first, and stir until it bubble.
    9. Add the pork to the pan and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Coat the pork evenly in the sauce.
    10. Add cornstarch water and stir until the sauce thickens.
    11. Transfer to a plate. Sprinkle white sesame on top.

    Notes

    1. Wait for the pork to cool down entirely before frying for the second time.
    2. You can also add pineapple and pepper before stir-frying the pork.

    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 408Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 758mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 0gSugar: 18gProtein: 41g

    What to serve with sweet and sour pork tenderloin?

    The dish is full of flavors. Serve it with rice or Chow Mein, and you have a complete meal.

    Or if you want something to freshen up your tastebuds, bok choy or morning glory vegetable are both good choices.

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    If you like this recipe, you may also want to check out these sweet and sour Asian recipes! Have any questions or suggestions? Leave a comment! Happy cooking!

    This Post Has One Comment

    1. Emily

      That looks good. Gonna try!

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