Tangy, crispy, glossy: my take on this popular Korean classic is bursting at the seams with freshness and flavour.
1 cup potato starch
1 egg white
2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for deep-frying
500g (1 lb 1 oz) pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips
1 small brown onion, cut into thin wedges
1/2 red capsicum (bell pepper), deseeded, coarsely chopped
1/2 small carrot, peeled, sliced
4 fresh wood ear mushrooms*, torn, optional
1/2 Lebanese cucumber, halved, deseeded, sliced
200g (7 oz) fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch), mixed with 1 tbsp of water
steamed rice, to serve
Place the potato flour in a medium bowl. Cover with cold water. Set aside for 30 minutes to soak. Drain the water from the starch (the starch will have hardened). Add the egg white and 1 tbsp oil to the starch. Use a fork to break it up and combine well.
Pour enough extra oil into a large wok or saucepan to come one-third of the way up the side. Heat over high heat until a wooden spoon dipped into the oil causes bubbles to form.
Give the potato starch mixture another stir and add the pork. Stir well to coat. Cook the pork, in batches, in the hot oil, for 3 minutes or until crisp but not yet golden. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a wire rack placed over a baking tray. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Heat the deep-frying oil until it’s hot again. Cook the pork for 2-3 minutes or until very crisp. Transfer to the wire rack or kitchen paper to drain.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan over high heat. Add the onion, capsicum and carrot and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the mushroom, if using, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the cucumber and pineapple and stir-fry for another minute. Then add in the crispy fried pork.
Pour over the Thai Sweet & Sour Sauce and add the cornflour mixture. Toss and stir-fry until everything is evenly coated and the sauce is thick and glossy.
Spoon the stir-fry onto a large platter. Serve with steamed rice.
– You can find fresh wood ear mushrooms at an Asian market or try searching out the dried form. If you manage to get hold of the latter, keep these in your pantry and when ready to use, soak them in hot water for 15 minutes or until they’re rehydrated and pliable.