Sweet and Sour Meatballs Make the Perfect Appetizer
I have a passion for anything that's sweet and sour
so when I'm in the mood for Chinese, I can't resist ordering at least one dish that's sweet and sour. One of my favorite dishes is a Japanese version of a sweet and sour dish that's been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. Now my mother didn't care much for cooking and she's far from being the best cook in the world, but there were some things that she made really well and sweet and sour meatballs were one of them. In fact, I still get cravings for them now and then and fortunately, she taught me how to make them before my move to Japan.
There are two types of Chinese restaurants in Japan
One of them is the authentic version which serves all your typical Chinese food and usually run by a Chinese. The other version is most likely run by a Japanese and usually offers staples such as ramen ( soup noodles ), gyoza dumplings and sweet and sour dishes such as these meatballs. Although it's called "Chinese", the menu is limited so you won't find any Peking Duck here.
My mother's sweet and sour meatballs
are incredibly easy to make and quite frankly, some of the best meatballs I've ever eaten in my life. I usually make them as part of a meal, but they also make great appetizers as they taste good even when cold. Although you can just deep fry them once, frying them twice gives them an especially crispy coating so it's worth the extra effort.
My favorite cookbook author Harumi makes it easy to cook Japanese food that's not only delicious and healthy but authentic.
Every picture is accompanied by a picture and includes helpful advice on how to chop vegetables and serve rice elegantly and properly. Her no-nonsense approach makes her books a joy to read.
- Prep time: 15 min
- Cook time: 20 min
- Ready in: 35 min
- Yields: 4
- 1 pound ground meat (beef, pork or mixture)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 teaspoon ginger
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sake or cooking wine
- 1 egg mixed well
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS
- Cooking oil for deep-frying
- Sesame oil (optional)
- Chopped green onions (optional)
- MAKING THE MEATBALLS
- Add ground meat, salt, ginger, soy sauce and sake (or cooking wine) and egg into a bowl and mix well until combined. Once all ingredients are well combined and a little sticky, add cornstarch and mix to combine all ingredients.
- Shape each meatball into small balls.
- Heat the oil to medium and deep-fry the meatballs for 30 seconds, take out and drain.
- Heat the oil to medium-high and fry the meatballs a second time until nice and brown. Take them out, drain oil and set aside.
- MAKING THE SAUCE
- Put all sauce ingredients with the exception of the cornstarch into a wok or frying pan. In a separate bowl, dissolve the cornstarch with 1/2 tablespoon of water and mix well.
- Add the cornstarch to the sauce and mix well.
- Cook the sauce on medium heat stirring constantly until it thickens.
- Add a dash of sesame oil to the sauce and mix to combine.
- Add the meatballs into the sauce and mix making sure the meatballs are covered in the sauce.
- Garnish with chopped green onions if you like and serve.
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Written by Elizabeth Ando, the English language authority on Japanese cuisine, this book not only has authentic recipes but is also accompanied by tips, tricks and information on what makes a Japanese meal. The beautiful pictures is a joy to look at and will entice your taste buds.