Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sweet and Sour Pork (Su-Buta)

Sweet and Sour Pork (or Chicken) Recipe

Su-Buta (lit. Vinegar Pork) is a classic Japanese Chu-ka (Chinese style) dish, and many Japanese make it using a packet-mix for the sauce.  However there is really no need for a packet mix, as the ingredients for the sauce are probably already in your kitchen!
The meat is just coated with cornstarch and shallow-fried, so it's very easy.  Or if you're really lazy like me, sometimes you might make it by just stir-frying the meat along with the vegetables.

300g pork or chicken, cut into roughly 1cm thick, 2x3cm pieces
a few tablespoons cornstarch
1 large onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 large green bell pepper/capsicum (or 3-4 piiman), sliced

Sauce Ingredients:
4 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp vinegar
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp chicken stock powder
2/3 cup water
3 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with a little water

1.  Place all sauce ingredients in a cup and stir.  Set aside until the end.
2.  Place a few tablespoons of cornstarch with a little salt and pepper in a plastic freezer bag.  Add sliced pork or chicken and shake to coat well.  Shallow-fry with oil until browned and crisp.  Remove from oil and let drain.
3.  In a wok or large frypan, heat a little oil and stir-fry the vegetables, adding capsicum/piiman last so as not to overcook.
4.  Give the cup of sauce ingredients another stir, then add it to the vegetables, continue stirring over medium heat until the sauce thickens.
5.  Add the cooked pork/chicken and stir to combine.

Serve with rice.

I often make this dish with chicken just because chicken is much cheaper in Japan, however if you make it with pork, you'll know why the dish is called "Sweet and Sour Pork", as the unique taste of pork goes amazingly well with the Sweet and Sour.

Although it is best fresh and hot, left over Sweet and Sour can even find a place in your bento lunch the next day!


  1. I just found your site :P I make this sometimes but I'm trying to find the vegetable cutter to make the flowers. I found one on ebay but I want it now! do you know of any where that might have it?... I was going to try Little tokyo Store in Market square. And what do I call it? I was going to ask the lady in the shop and show a photo of one :P

  2. do you have the recepi for chukaa idako? really loves that dish

    1. Hi hanamas, I'm sorry, I've never made that one, but my husband really loves octopus so I should probably start learning to make it!

  3. I have made su-buta twice now, I have gotten lots of compliments. Thank you for the recipe. :)

  4. Hello! I love your blogs and website but I had a question about this recipe. Instead of using chicken stock powder could I use just regular chicken broth stock? And if so how much should I use?

    1. Hi Stacey! Thanks for your kind comment! Just replace the water with the same amount of chicken broth.

  5. I love this recipe! So yummy. Is it freezable?

  6. Very nice! I added takenoko (young bamboo chunks). The result needed a bit of salt and next time I'll add 1 T more of soy sauce, or another bouillon cube, or both.

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