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The Sweet & Sour you've (probably) never heard of

The Sweet & Sour you've (probably) never heard of
This week, we wanted to teach you a classic dish  from Fuzhou, Lychee pork; that is, Fujian-style   style

sweet

and

sour

. We’ll cover two versions –  first a simple homestyle version with potatoes,   and also a fancier banquet version that really  does kinda look like a deadringer for a lychees. Now, I know that we haven’t done a ton of Fujian  food on this channel yet, but if you are the type   of person that really enjoys that saucy,

sour

  and

sweet

American-Chinese takeout kind of fare,   you going to love the food from Fuzhou. See, it’s well known that the bulk of Chinatowns   in America were built by Cantonese immigrants,  so it naturally follows that a ton of different   dishes on that takeout menu have Cantonese roots  and equivalents. That said, something that’s   always bugged me is just how different Cantonese  food at large feels on a… philosophical level.   But, besides Guangdong, emigrees from the  neighboring Fujian province’ve also had pretty   huge impact on trans Pacific trade and migration –  either directly, or via Taiwan and Southeast Asia.   And in my personal opinion at least, the food in  Fuzhou just feels… I dunno, closer. They’ve got   hot and

sour

soup, the mandatory saucy vegetables,  their own sort of fried spring rolls, and,   of course,

sweet

and

sour

pork. Waltz into  a neighborhood restaurant and, like, one   whiff’ll immediately start to evoke memories of  fortune cookies and oyster...
the sweet sour you ve probably never heard of
pails. Now obviously,   that’s not to say that the two foods’re  an exact one to one match or anything…   but, to me at least, it’s hard not to notice  some of the… philosophical similarities. So. The basis, then, for a Fujianese 

sweet

and

sour

will be, of course,   the vinegar. See, Fujian is a province  that’s known for its vinegars – after all,   their famed Yongchun vinegar is considered  one of the big four vinegars in the country.   In their

sweet

and

sour

, the type of vinegar  that’s generally used is Fujianese xiangcu,   which refers to a lighter rice  vinegar. To sub the stuff,   our recommendation would be to use a Japanese  rice vinegar, which hits a lot of the same notes. So. Let’s do the basic homestyle

sweet

  and

sour

first – to make the sauce,   to a bowl toss in 25 grams of sugar, 25 grams of  your rice vinegar, 50 grams of water or stock,   a half teaspoon of chicken bouillon powder if  you’re not using stock, a quarter teaspoon of   salt, and five grams of soy sauce. Then just  give that a quick mix and set your sauce aside. Now, something that we really love about  this Fujianese homestyle

sweet

and

sour

   is the inclusion of deep fried potato chunks –  so here, we’re gunna be using 300 grams worth.   Just slice your potato into one inch sheets,  then into sticks, and finally into chunks. And   just like how you always would when prepping  potatoes for frying, rinse off a bit of that  ...
the sweet sour you ve probably never heard of
surface starch, fill your bowl up with water,  and let that soak til you’re ready to fry. Now for the pork. Here we’re using 325 grams  of loin - just give it a slice into about half   centimeter sheets, then take each piece and give  it a quick pound with the back of your knife   to help loosen up some of the fibers. Then make  some shallow cuts in a criss cross pattern,   and cut each piece in half at  about a thirty degree angle   to get something that looks  vaguely triangular-ish. Then just marinate those pieces  with a half teaspoon salt,   half teaspoon sugar, a quarter teaspoon baking  soda, eighth teaspoon white pepper powder,   and a half teaspoon liaojiu aka Shaoxing wine.  Give that a real good mix, and set it aside. Now, to coat for frying. This dish generally just  uses a basic wet cornstarch coating… to make it,   in a bowl mix together 45 grams of cornstarch  together with 35 grams of water. After mixing,   it should come together into that sort  of non-newtonian oobleck sort of mixture,   so adjust if needed to get  this sort of consistency.   Then add that to the marinated pork, give  it a quick mix, add in one tablespoon of   water to thin it out a touch, and mix well  to make sure everything’s evenly coated. Then once coated, we can shape. What we’re aiming  for is gunna be a rough ball-like shape – to make   it, pull one vertex of your little triangle in,  then pinch another one on top of that, then...
the sweet sour you ve probably never heard of
wrap   the remainder up and over the top. Slightly pinch  the sides, and you’ve got yourself a little ball.   Of course, these guys won’t  exactly be airtight or anything,   which’s basically the point – the cracks let the  oil get inside and’ll help the pork cook evenly. So, to fry, get a pot of oil up to about 130  centigrade and drop in your pork balls. Give   those a fry at 130 for about three minutes, or  until the pork is fully cooked, then remove and   get the oil up to 195. Drop them in again, fry  for about fifteen seconds, then take them out.   Same deal with those potatoes – first fry once  at a low temperature, here I’m also doing 130   for five minutes… then up the heat to 195,  and drop them in for about thirty seconds,   and remove. And now, we can  fry up our

sweet

and

sour

. So, to stir fry, as always first longyau –  get your wok piping hot, shut off the heat,   add in the oil – here about a tablespoon  and a half of peanut – and give in a swirl   to get a nice nonstick surface. Now  add in one clove of minced garlic,   swap your flame to high, and toss in  the white portion of two scallions.   Fry for about fifteen seconds til fragrant, then  go in with your

sweet

and

sour

sauce from before.   Now just leave that going over a high flame  until everything’s starting to bubble rapidly,   stirring often, about 30 seconds… then go in  with a slurry of a half tablespoon cornstarch   mixed...
with an equal amount of water. Quick mix, in  with the potatoes and the pork… another quick mix,   shut off the heat, drizzle in a teaspoon of  toasted sesame oil… brief stir, and… out. Optional   touch of julienned carrot for garnish, and..  your homestyle lychee pork with potato is done.  Now, the fancy banquet version’ll differ in two  main ways – first, instead of being fried with   root vegetable, it’s stuffed – most classically,  with water chestnut. And second, as the astute   observers among you might’ve started to gather,  that sauce is… well.. it’s alot redder. See, in Fujian, you’ll see that same red color in  a few different dishes, and it’s accomplished with   this ingredient: hongzao. This stuff is the lees  from making a Fujianese style of sticky rice wine   and here we’re gunna be using five grams  worth and mixing it with 40 grams of water…   and that is gunna be the base liquid of the sauce.  That said, unfortunately I don’t think Hongzao is   available outside of China so our suggested  sub would be to take a drop of red velvet,   mix that with five grams of Shaoxing wine, and  top that off with the same 40 grams of water.   It’s obviously not exactly the same, but  I promise it’ll do the trick in the end. Either way, to that base just add in 20 grams  of sugar, a quarter teaspoon salt, 20 grams   of rice vinegar, 5 grams soy sauce, and a half  teaspoon chicken powder if you’re not...
using stock.   Give it a good mix and your sauce is good to go. Next difference – that water chestnut. Here we’ve  got twelve water chestnuts that we’ll need to   shave into 24 small little balls for wrapping.  But, word of warning: this step is an undeniable   pain. This is

probably

the reason why this variant  makes a whole lot more sense in a fancy restaurant   context – so if you are making this version,  do check out an uncut closeup of this process   up here. Just take your time working through  those water chestnuts… and then, we can wrap. So. This coating’s a little different:   first mix 50 grams of cornstarch together with an  optional half tablespoon of pounded red yeast rice   and 60 grams of water. That red rice is used  just for coloring, so if you can’t find it   feel free to just toss a half a drop of red  velvet instead. Mix well, and set that aside. Now, to wrap these, take both a piece of  pork and a chestnut ball and thoroughly coat   the two of them. Place the chestnut in the  center, and a bit like the homestyle kind,   pull one vertex of your  vaguely-triangle-like-object   to the center, pinch another on top of it,  and finally roll the remainder up and over and   slightly pinch the sides. Then transfer your ball  over to a plate of dry cornstarch, and roll the   loose side around a bit to sort of seal everything  up. Work through your pork, and then, we can fry. So. Pretty much same deal as the...
homestyle  sort. Fry #1 at 130 for three minutes,   then fry #2 at 195 for fifteen seconds.  Dip out the oil, do a quick longyau with a   tablespoon of oil… but here we’ll be forgoing  the aromatics and directly frying the sauce.   High flame, about thirty seconds  til everything’s rapidly bubbling…   then hit it with a slurry of a teaspoon of  cornstarch mixed with an equal amount of water.   When that’s good and thickened, go in with the  pork balls and give that another quick mix.   Heat off, teaspoon of toasted sesame oil,  another quick mix, and… out. Optionally garnish   with a bit of something green, and with that,  you’ve got some fancy Fujianese lychee pork. So we chose to stuff this one, but there’s another  totally traditional and legit method which’s just   deep frying the water chestnut together with the  pork. But while in homecooking, people usually   potatoes, taro, I’ve even seen

sweet

potato… but  for us, we just really love potato in this dish.   Uh… so right! Check out the recipe in  the description box, a big thank you for   everyone that’s supporting us on Patreon, and of  course, subscribe for more Chinese cooking videos.