Gluten Free Sweet and Sour Pork Recipe
I don’t often lament the fact that I need to be gluten free. But I will say one thing I miss is take out Chinese food! There is just something about getting home, tired and hungry, picking up the phone and having some nice person bring food right to your front door. Plus I love eating the food right out of the paper Chinese take out boxes with those cheap wooden chopsticks in front of the TV after a long day.
Why no more Chinese food on a gluten free diet? Well for one thing, in my experience, almost every food item contains some soy sauce so unless you have a Chinese restaurant that makes everything to order (and they are usually not the ones who deliver) and you can request no soy sauce in your food, your gluten free diet is foiled right there.
Another thing is MSG. Lots of places advertise that they do not add any MSG. With a little research, I found this statement to be true but misleading. They do not ADD MSG but if they use prepared products from China (which a lot do) the sauces and other products come with MSG already in them from China. And to make matters worse, the MSG in China contains wheat, unlike the MSG in the U.S.
And then of course there is cross contamination. If your rice paper wrapped, guaranteed soy sauce and Chinese MSG free spring roll is fried in the same oil as the wontons you are, well, fried.
If you happen to be lucky enough to have a gluten-free Chinese restaurant that delivers in your area, then yeah! If you happen to be like most of the rest of us, the answer is to make your own.
I did a little experiment the other day and decided to see if I could easily whip up some gluten free Sweet & Sour Pork in the same amount of time it would have taken the delivery guy to show up. And I can! The trick is to get everything cut up and mixed first then start your woks!
This recipe is loosely based on one I saw Emeril make a while ago. His was with shrimp and he used, of all things, maraschino cherries. Yep, that’s right; they are not just for garnishing Manhattans anymore. At first I was skeptical about adding the maraschino cherries to my sweet and sour pork but then I did some research and found that most of those red sauces in Chinese places contain either maraschino cherries or the juice in them. Besides, this was Emeril, who was I to argue? Turns out I loved the cherries! They added not only a nice pop of color but a great sweet counter point to the tang of the pineapple, onions and peppers and the richness of the pork.
If you really, really want to eat your gluten free Sweet & Sour Pork out of the container in front of the TV, then get yourself some Chinese take out boxes from the craft store or your local Chinese joint and have fun!
Gluten Free Sweet and Sour Pork Recipe
- 1½ pound lean pork tenderloin – cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves – finely minced
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes – use divided
- 9 tablespoons gluten free chicken stock – use divided
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons wheat free soy sauce
- 3 teaspoons corn starch
- 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
- 1 medium white onion – cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 bell peppers – (green, red, yellow or orange or a combination) cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 (8 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts in water – drained
- 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice – drained and juice reserved
- 18 maraschino cherries – drained and patted dry
- 1 green onion – thinly sliced on the diagonal for garnish
- In a mixing bowl, toss the pork pieces with the ginger, garlic and ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes. Let set while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
- Prepare the sauce by mixing ¼ cup of the reserved pineapple juice with 6 tablespoons chicken stock, the ketchup, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and remaining ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes in a small mixing bowl.
- In another small bowl mix the remaining 3 tablespoons of chicken stock with the corn starch until well blended.
- Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the oil and swirl it to coat the sides and bottom of the pan. Add the pork mixture and stir fry for 5 minutes or until they are cooked through. Remove the pork from the pan to a plate and set aside. Add the onions, peppers and sliced water chestnuts and stir fry until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add the sauce mixture to the vegetables and cook, stirring until the sugar dissolves and it comes to a boil. Add the cornstarch mixture, the pork (along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate), the pineapple chunks and the maraschino cherries. Cook until everything is heated through and the sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes.
- Garnish with sliced green onions and serve with hot rice.
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