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.
* 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.