Sweet and Sour Chicken, Pork
or Shrimp Cantonese-Style

This is long and I'm sorry about that but this is a wonderful recipe and much easier than it appears. ~ Sharon in the desert.

I have been a student of worldwide cooking for many years. Over those years, I have taken several courses, including two terms of Chinese Cooking in 1979 from a Chinese woman working her way through college by teaching cooking out of her family cookbook. Certain fairly transparent changes were made to the recipes because of the difficulty in getting some of the authentic ingredients in the Midwest U.S. in the seventies. Even though those ingredients are easily obtainable at the bountiful quantity of Chinese grocery store across the country, The need is not there. A friend of mine who is the son of a licensed master chef from Korea and is, himself, now the owner his own of a Korean-Chinese restaurant (the family is Chinese, but lived in Korea before immigrating to the U.S.). has deemed my recipes as first quality.

China is a large country with many regions, just like the U.S. What is called Sweet and Sour varies a lot from region to region. Cantonese Sweet and Sour dishes are the most common and one the most popular dishes in Chinese restaurants. Unfortunately, many of them are a too sweet, almost candied mess. This Cantonese-style one a very close to what is made in Taiwan in the home of the woman that taught me Chinese cooking. Only a couple of minor changes where made because the authentic ingredients were too hard to find the U.S. in 1979.



  • 1 pound pork good quality, no fat, boneless meat (butt or loin is best)
  • OR 1 pound boneless chicken breast
  • OR 1 pound shelled shrimp (see Special Shrimp Marinade)


  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch*
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 egg yolk


  • 1 green pepper
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 onions
  • 1 can chunk pineapple or fresh if you wish


  • 4 tablespoons vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cold water
  • 5 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil


  • 1/2 cup or more cornstarch
  • 4 cups oil


  1. Pound pork or chicken with back of clever to tenderize, then cup it into 1-inch cubes. Mix it with A and marinate at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
  2. Cut peppers (remove seeds and membranes) into 1-inch squares. Peel carrot and slice diagonally into 1/8-inch thick slices. Peel onion and cut into 1-inch squares. Drain pineapple. Set each aside separately.
  3. Mix C together in a bowl and set aside. Heat 4 to 6 cups of oil to deep frying temperature in a deep skillet or wok.
  4. While oil is heating, individually coat each piece of meat, removing excess marinade, with the 1/2 cup cornstarch. When oil is hot, add meat and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove meat from skillet and drain well.
  5. Put 2 tablespoons of oil in a clean wok and heat it up good and hot. Add carrot and cook 1 minute, then add onions for 2 minutes, green peppers for 1 minute and pineapple for 1 minute - 5 minutes total. Pour in C and cook until thickened. Turn off heat. Add meat and stir well.
  6. Serve immediately.
  7. Special Shrimp marinade - 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon Chinese cooking wine, 2 egg whites, 4 teaspoons cornstarch

* You can substitute arrowroot for cornstarch for a more authentic dish. Reduce amounts use in recipe by half.

I sometimes make a special variation of this by combining two or three of the meats into Sweet and Sour Three Delights.

Posted by swm56 at Recipe Goldmine April 2001.

This post may contain affiliate links. Any purchases made through these links help support Recipegoldmine.com at no additional cost to you. Please see our disclosure policy.

Join our group at MeWe or Gab

Yummy Recipes at MeWe        Yummy Recipes at Gab