Chefs' Recipes

Kylie Kwong's sweet and sour pork with Davidson's plum

The chef's take on the Cantonese classic.

By Kylie Kwong
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 4 hrs cooking
  • Serves 4
  • Print
"The sweet-sour flavours of this ubiquitous Chinese-Australian classic tend to come from a host of processed products - tinned pineapple and jarred sauces come to mind. My re-think relies on natural ingredients," says Kylie Kwong. "Davidson's plums make perfect sense here - they have just the right amount of tartness and acidity, while the amazing colour imparts the redness associated with the dish without the need for artificial additives. The fact it's a native ingredient ticks boxes for me, but if regular plums are in season they're an excellent substitute."


  • 450 gm piece of boneless pork belly, skin on, at room temperature
  • 220 gm firmly packed brown sugar (1 cup)
  • 150 gm frozen Davidson's plums, defrosted, halved, seeds removed (see note)
  • Juice of 2 lemons, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Ground Sichuan peppercorns, to serve
Red-braised master stock
  • 375 ml light soy sauce (1½ cups)
  • 220 gm firmly packed brown sugar (1 cup)
  • 80 gm ginger, thickly sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, bruised
  • 4 spring onions, trimmed and halved
  • 4 pieces of orange rind, removed with a peeler, pith removed
  • 8 star anise
  • 4 cinnamon quills
  • 1 tsp sesame oil


  • 1
    For master stock, place all the ingredients in a large saucepan with 3.5 litres cold water. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve sugar, then reduce heat to medium and simmer to allow flavours to develop (25-30 minutes).
  • 2
    Meanwhile, place pork belly in a large saucepan and cover well with cold water. Bring to the boil, simmer for 10 minutes, then drain – this will remove any impurities from the meat.
  • 3
    Bring master stock back to the boil, add pork belly, then weigh down with a plate, ensuring it's fully covered, reduce to a very gentle simmer (there should be no more than an occasional ripple breaking the surface) and cook until tender, topping up with hot water as necessary to ensure pork remains submerged (3-3¼ hours; to test, insert the tip of a sharp knife – pork is ready when it gives no resistance). Remove pork from master stock (stock can be strained, cooled and frozen to use over and over again; the flavour will become stronger over time) and transfer to a tray lined with paper towels to drain. When cool enough to handle, cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • 4
    Stir sugar and 200ml water in a large deep frying pan over medium-high heat until dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil until a light syrup forms (4-5 minutes). Add plums, lemon juice and fish sauce and simmer for another minute until plums are warmed through.
  • 5
    Heat vegetable oil in a wok over high heat, add pork and stir-fry until light golden all over (4-5 minutes). Drain off excess fat, add pork to plum mixture and toss to coat. Serve hot scattered with Sichuan pepper.


Davidson's plums are available online from Outback Pride and Rainforest Foods.