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Suffolk private chef Lilian Hiw celebrates Mother’s Day with her mother’s recipe for sweet and sour pork and also celebrates the launch of her new cookbook, Lilian’s Kitchen Home Cooked Food

What an exciting time it has been since we last chatted. In this month’s column, I would love the privilege of sharing a very proud moment with you, offer a special discount for my classes and present my mother’s sweet and sour pork in honour of Mother’s Day.


My mother is my best friend and my forever friend. Even though she has passed away, I can still hear her. What would Mum do in this situation?. . . and all her past advice and wisdom will come flooding back. I miss her so much, but feel blessed she is still very much a part of my daily life and continues to guide me. Mum sits on a windowsill in my kitchen and I light a candle when I think of her or miss her.

She was a lucky girl, she would get two Mother’s Day greetings and gifts. Singapore celebrates Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May and Mother’s Day in the UK is three weeks before Easter Sunday. Mum used to get a bunch of flowers from me on my birthday. Why? Because she did all the hard work on that day to bring me into the world. She always thought that it was a very ‘silly me’ thing to do, she was so funny.

Lilian Hiw's mum. Picture: Submitted
Lilian Hiw's mum. Picture: Submitted

Mum’s sweet and sour pork

Today, I would like to share with you one of my mum’s recipes for sweet and sour pork (see below). I feel a sense of nostalgia whenever I cook this.

Although I have swapped the tomato ketchup for tomato purée, in my heart it is still mum’s cooking for me. It’s just a small tweak as I like the beautiful hue of red the tomato purée gives off and its deeper umami flavour.

This recipe can also be found on page 22 of my cookbook Lilian’s Kitchen Home Cooked Food. I hope you will enjoy this dish as much as I do.

15 per cent discount – in honour of Mother’s Day

During the month of March, enjoy a 15 per cent discount when you book a pair of tickets for any cookery class.

Official launch

Yes, it has happened. The official cookbook launch took place at Waterstone’s in the Buttermarket on February 29.

My guests were welcomed with a Singapore sling, I did a dim sum demonstration and signed some books. To commemorate the launch, I planted a kiss with a personal message for each cookbook I signed. Colour of the lipstick? ‘Red Passion’ – to reflect my love and passion for sharing Asian recipes.

Lilian Hiw at her book signing
Lilian Hiw at her book signing

Book signing

Thank you for all your love and support purchasing my cookbook through my website shop, Moreton Hall Post Office and both the Waterstone’s shops after the launch.

If you would like to have your copy signed or to pick one up, Waterstone’s in the arc Shopping Centre is hosting a book signing on March 23. I will be there from 11am-3pm and look forward to seeing you.

Cookery classes

These are the classes coming up, remember to use the March 15 per cent discount.

Seafood – March

Thai and Vietnamese - April

Dim Sum – May

Singapore and Malaysia – July

Sushi – Sept.

Details via www.lilianskitchen.co.uk

Lilian Hiw in her kitchen ready for one of her classes. Picture: Submitted
Lilian Hiw in her kitchen ready for one of her classes. Picture: Submitted

Until the next time, take care of yourselves.


Originating from the Canton region of China, the original sauce was a simple vinegar and sugar mixture, chefs then used hawthorn berries and preserved plums to add colour to the sauce. Later, Hong Kong chefs used ketchup and Worcestershire sauce to mark their blend. My mum used ketchup to colour hers. I have tweaked it a little and used tomato paste as I like the deeper red colour and the depth of flavour it gives.

Lilian Hiw's mum's recipe for Sweet and Sour Pork. Picture: Submitted
Lilian Hiw's mum's recipe for Sweet and Sour Pork. Picture: Submitted

Serves: 2-3

Prep + marinate time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes


Pork marinade:

400g pork shoulder, 3cm cubes

2cm cube ginger

1 large shallot

2 large garlic cloves

1 teaspoon sea salt

Half teaspoon ground white pepper

6 tablespoons cornflour

3 tablespoons water


2 teaspoons cornflour

1 tablespoons caster sugar

1 tablespoon rice or cider vinegar

1 tablespoon light soya sauce

8 tablespoons water

Stir fry:

500ml vegetable oil, for deep frying

1 medium onion, diced same size as the pork

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 small red bell pepper, diced same size as the pork

80g pineapple chunks, tinned or fresh

Serving suggestion:

Jasmine rice


Marinate: Grate or pound the ginger, shallot and garlic to a fine pulp, squeeze two teaspoons of juice from the pulp into a large bowl and discard the pulp. Add all the pork marinade ingredients to the bowl. Marinate for 10 minutes.

Sauce: Combine the ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside.

Deep-fry: Fill a wok or deep saucepan half full with oil, heat on medium high heat to180°C. Test by placing the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil, when bubbles gather around the handle the oil is hot enough. Place the pork into the oil with tongs, placing the food into the oil away from you to avoid being splashed. Cook a handful at a time to prevent the pork from sticking to each other. Do not touch it for the first two minutes to allow a ‘crust’ to form before flipping it over. Fry until golden brown, about six to seven minutes. Drain on a kitchen towel.

Stir-fry: Heat one tablespoon of the oil (from the deep frying) to a wok or frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the onion until soft but still firm, add the tomato paste and roast it for 30 seconds to intensify the flavour and colour. Add the pepper, pineapple and sauce, stir and simmer for one minute. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.

Serve: Add the pork to the sauce, stir to coat evenly and serve immediately.


The marinade imparts flavour and helps to tenderise the pork.

Pork shoulder has some fat running through it. You can use diced lean pork instead, as the cornflour in the marinade will lock the moisture in the pork.

The amount of sauce is designed to just coat the pork, if you prefer more sauce, double the recipe.