Some people turn up their noses at sweet and sour stir fry because "it's not Thai". The dish is perceived as Chinese, although if you're going to quibble, Thai food is largely a mix of Chinese and Mon influences so a lot of dishes are Chinese to some extent. Be that as it may, the dish is popular at the curry stall. Its mildness forms a good counterbalance to spicier dishes.
Sweet and Sour Pork
I also like sweet and sour stir fry because you can use just about whatever is at hand, in truly typical Thai fashion. Some kind of meat and onions are about the only real requirements. You can add any other vegetables you may have, such as baby corn, long beans, bell peppers and of course pineapple makes an occasional appearance as well. If you like a bit more sauce, which goes well with rice, you can try adding some Thai style chili sauce or even ketchup with some ground chili. Even the sauce can be improvised using whatever is at hand, such as tomato sauce, vinegar, pineapple juice, etc.
This particular recipe, which I've translated from a Thai cookbook, is somewhat unusual in that it calls for shiitake mushrooms, as well as a lot of vegetables. Although I haven't tried it, I believe that if you left out the meat entirely, this would make a good vegetarian dish. You can use soy sauce in place of fish sauce.
|Pork tenderloin||100 g / ¼ lb||Cut in bit-sized pieces|
|Fresh prawns||100 g / ¼ lb||Optional, peeled and de-veined|
|Fish sauce||2 Tbl td>|
|Shiitake mushrooms||5||Soaked to soften and sliced|
|Onion||2 small heads||Sliced|
|Cucumbers (gherkins)||6 - 7||Peeled and sliced|
|Banana chilies||4||Seeds removed and sliced|
|Tapioca flour (or corn starch)||1 Tbl|
- Heat some oil in a wok and stir-fry the garlic until it is fragrant. Add the pork and stir-fry until cooked through.
- Season with the fish sauce, sugar and vinegar. Then add the mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and banana chillies.
- Check the seasoning and add more vinegar if the dish is not sour enough.
- Stir the tapioca flour into the three tablespoons of water, then add to the stir-fry along with the prawns, if desired. Remove from heat as soon as the prawns are cooked and the sauce thickens. Sprinkle the chopped coriander over the stir fry.