During the first few weeks of our marriage, we were on a marathon race, visting a long list of houses chosen by our parents!!! It really was an ordeal when, like all newly weds, we too wanted to be alone and with ourselves. But excuses were not granted. Off we went racing, me wearing a five kilo heavy brocade saree which pricked me all over and another five kilo of ornaments which gave my body complete shelter from the sun!!! And as a newly wed, you need to be extremely polite and for that, consuming whatever offered to eat or drink is mandatory!!! After a couple of visits I had my bladder bombarding with a melange of juice, squash, wine, tea/coffee and what not!!!
And for us, the marathon race continues ever after!!! Since we visit Cochin only once in a year, our parents work as a unit, making sure that we visit 101 houses and get enough excersice and lot of fluids to drink!!! A healthy homeland visit indeed!!!
You might be thinking why I'm talking about a totaly different topic under the heading 'Sweet and Sour Pork'!!! Its because this dish reminds me of my newly wed days!!! It was at one such visit that we got to eat an extremely delicious sweet and sour pork, prepared by one of my aunts. I hogged on it like a teenager, unthoughtfull of all the prep talks given by mom on being polite and graceful. Aunt gave me the recipe and here it is with slight changes. Hope you will enjoy this as much we did...
You will need...
Pork belly strips - 500gm diced
Green bell pepper - 1/2 cut into squares
Red bell pepper - 1/2 cut itno squares
Onion - 1 cut itno squares
Cabbage - 1/2 cup cut into squares
Carrots - 1/2 cup sliced into round disks
Pineapple chunks - 1/2 cup
Dark Soya sauce - 2 tbsp
Vinegar - 2 tbsp
Tomatto ketchup - 1 tbsp
Chilli sauce - 1 tbsp
White pepper powder - 1 tsp
Chilly flakes - 1 tsp
Cornflour - 1 tbsp
Sugar - 1-2 tsp
Ajinomotto(Monosodium Glutamate) - a pinch(optional)
Salt - to taste
Oil - as needed. (preferably sesame oil)
For the batter:
Cornflour - 1/4 cup
Plain flour - 1/4 cup
Eggs - 1
Salt - to taste
Sugar - to taste or 2 tsp
Vinegar - 1 tsp
Soya sauce - 1 tbsp
Mix all the ingredients to form a thick batter, adding lukewarm water if needed.
Pressure cook the pork with little salt, pepper and 1 tsp soya sauce. Drain out the pieces and reserve the stock. Dip the pieces in the prepared batter and deep fry in batches. Keep aside. Add soya sauce, cornflour, vinegar, sugar, tomatto sauce, chilli sauce, white pepper powder, chilli flakes and salt into the pork stock and mix well. In a thick bottomed pan or wok stir fry all the vegetables in sesame oil for about 5 minutes(the vegetables should remain crisp like in all chinese preparations) or until done in high heat. Add the prepared sauce and ajinomotto into it and let it boil. Add the fried pork pieces and continue cooking for two more minutes or until few minutes to the consistancy you need. Serve hot with chowmein or chinese fried rice. Can be served as an appetizer as well.
The consistancy of the gravy gets thicker upon standing. So can take it off heat a few minutes before reaching the desired consistancy.