sweet + sour pork meatballs | the ultimate family meal

Sweet and sour pork, honey chicken, beef with black bean, Mongolian lamb; don’t forget the spring rolls and our all time favourite – fried rice of course! Does any of this ring a bell? Growing up – going to our local Chinese restaurant was something we always looked forward to; just as exciting as seeing Dad walk in from work on a Friday night carrying a video and a bag of takeaway “fried China” as my brother used to call it. Still calls it, for that matter.

Friends that know me know how much I love Chinese food. I’m sure I’ve probably written this before – but I tried to convince Cork Daddy that a good place for our wedding reception would be at a Chinese restaurant, jam packed with round tables, lazy Susan’s, jugs of beer and bulk Chinese food. That idea never got off the ground (surprise, surprise) but we did celebrate our 6 year wedding anniversary recently at Lee’s Fortuna in Crows Nest so I guess that kind of made up for it.

These days, I’m a little more adventurous when it comes to ordering but I still love the ol’ faithful dishes from my youth. I went through a stage at uni where I made sweet and sour pork all the time, dusting the pork fillet in corn flour before frying it in a hot pan. I’ve been going back through my old recipes lately to get some inspo for midweek meals; ones that I can make quickly, with limited ingredients and that my girls will enjoy too.

This version of sweet and sour pork is just what I mean. Using pork mince makes for an affordable, quick and easy week night dinner. My girls go ga-ga for meatballs and Charlotte has a thing for tinned pineapple, so needless to say – this one’s a winner in our household. The sweet and slightly tangy flavour combination really works with the fresh capsicum and pineapple, and it’s also a lot healthier than the deep fried version that I remember as a kid.

Add as much or as little chilli, coriander, ginger and garlic as you like (if you have fussy eaters) but make sure you don’t skimp on the seasoning, as the mince will need a good amount of salt and freshly cracked pepper to avoid it being bland. I also like how easy it is to brown the meatballs, throwing in the marinade and letting the oven do all the work for you. It’s nearly as good as the real deal.

All that’s missing are some prawn chips!

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sweet + sour pork meatballs (serves 4)

500 grams of pork mince
2 x small brown onions, 1 x finely diced and 1 x cut in to wedges
2 x shallots, finely sliced, plus extra for serving
1 x egg
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
1 x teaspoon of coriander paste
1 x teaspoon of ground ginger
2 x garlic cloves, crushed
A light sprinkling of dried chilli flakes
1/2 cup of tomato sauce
1/4 cup of white vinegar
2 x tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
2 x tablespoons of sugar
1 x 227g tin of pineapple chunks in juice
1 x large red capsicum, roughly chopped
A good glug of olive oil, for browning the meatballs
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
Fresh chilli, for serving
Steamed rice, to serve

  • Preheat oven to 180℃.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the pork mince, finely diced onion, shallots, egg, breadcrumbs, coriander, ginger, garlic, chilli flakes and a good seasoning of salt and freshly cracked pepper. Combine using your hands.
  • Roll the meatballs out in to even sized balls.
  • Meanwhile, add the tomato sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and pineapple chunks (plus all of the liquid from the tin) to a small mixing bowl and mix. Season well with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • In a large fry pan (one that can go in the oven) add a glug of olive oil and lightly brown the meatballs on all sides. Simply throw in the onion wedges and capsicum to the pan to soften.
  • Pour in the tomato/pineapple mixture and bake uncovered in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • Serve with steamed rice, the extra shallots and fresh chilli.

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If you make these meatballs, please leave your comments below. xx

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