Sweet and sour rice bowl

A delicious, nutritious and satisfying dish!

With its blend of tender rice, crunchy cabbage and a big sweet-and-sour veggie and pork (or tofu) party on top, this rice bowl is delicious, nutritious and oh-so-satisfying. Toasting the brown rice brings out its subtle, nutty flavour and also helps it cook up softer and fluffier, which may help win over any diehard white rice fans you are feeding. As is often the cases with my recipes, this one is super flexible. If you love peppers, add more. Swap out the pork for chicken or tofu (prepared the same way) and if you like things spicy, go heavier on the chili paste. Add some chopped cashews or peanuts if you like; double the dish if you want leftovers – it would make a great lunch the next day. Note that rice can be prepared ahead of time and gently reheated, if you prefer. If you enjoy this recipe, you might also enjoy this rice bowl with peanut sauce.


  • 1/2 cup (92 g) brown rice
  • 1/2 pound (225 grams) pork tenderloin or lean pork chops, trimmed (or firm tofu)
  • 2 tablespoons (15 g) cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of olive oil, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot or small cooking onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) minced fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 each red and yellow pepper, chopped
  • 12 snow peas, washed, strings removed, quartered
  • 1 1/2 cups (340 g) fresh pineapple in 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) pieces
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) pineapple, orange or apple juice
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) water
  • 2 teaspoons (3.5 g) cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) low-sodium soy sauce (or Tamari for a gluten-free version)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) brown sugar (or more, to taste)
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon (3 – 6 g) chili paste (Sambal Oelek)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup (26 g) slivered green onion tops or minced chives
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil
  • 2 cups (90 g) chopped green cabbage
  • lime wedges, to serve


  • In a medium, dry skillet over medium-high heat, toast the brown rice for 3 – 5 minutes. It will smell very fragrant and start to make popping sounds as it toasts; take care to stir or shake it constantly so it does not burn. Once toasted, immediately transfer the rice to a medium sized saucepan.
  • Add 1 1/3 cups water to the saucepan; cover and place over medium-high heat. As soon as the rice is boiling, reduce heat to low and let simmer, covered. It will take 30 – 40 minutes to cook.
  • While rice is cooking, slice pork (or tofu) into 3/4 inch (2 cm) pieces. Put the 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of cornstarch in a small plastic bag and add the pork or tofu to the bag. Twist to close and shake gently so all pieces are coated with cornstarch. Set aside.
  • In a bowl or measuring cup, combine juice, water, cornstarch, soy sauce, brown sugar and chili paste. Whisk or stir to blend well and set aside.
  • In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger and sauté for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring constantly. When onion has softened, add another 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and then add pork or tofu pieces, removing them carefully from the cornstarch to leave excess behind in the bag.
  • Sauté the pork or tofu for several minutes, stirring, until pieces are browned all over. Add peppers, pineapple pieces and snow peas and stir to combine well. Cook for several minutes, stirring, until peppers are softened.
  • When peppers and snow peas are softened, give the juice, etc. mixture a good stir and pour it over the peppers, etc. and pork/tofu. Stir gently to combine and reduce heat to medium low.
  • Stir as the mixture begins to bubble then reduce heat to low. It will thicken. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste. Add additional brown sugar, chili sauce, or water as needed to adjust to suit your preferences. You want a sauce that is about the consistency of gravy.
  • While sauce finishes cooking, heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a clean, medium-sized skillet placed over medium heat. Add chopped cabbage and quickly sauté, stirring, for 2 – 3 minutes until cabbage is just beginning to soften. Remove from heat.
  • NOTE: If you prefer, you can leave the cabbage raw for your rice bowl.
  • To assemble, take two broad, shallow bowls and put half of the cooked brown rice in the bottom of each one. Put the cabbage (raw or cooked) into the bowls as the next layer. Top with the sweet and sour pork/tofu and peppers, dividing the sauce equally between the bowls. Garnish with chopped green onion and a big lime wedge to squeeze over the dish.

Serves 2.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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