On busy days the temptation to order Chinese takeaway is very strong but when I think of the whopping amount of oil and salt added to the restaurant versions, I try to curb this urge and prefer to prepare my favourites at home.
The whole thing actually gets done in the same time while the noodles or rice are cooking on the other burner, which is around 12-15 minutes. I always advise to keep the ingredients handy and in order while doing a stir fry or Chinese sauce based dish because things move very quickly once you start cooking. I keep the size of meatballs small so they cook faster and the sauce really gets done in a matter of minutes.
Don’t forget to check the balance of sweet n sour because everyone prefers a different ratio, my sauce is more on the sour side. I don’t add any extra salt to the sauce because there is already salt in ketchup, hot sauce and soy sauce but if you feel the need, you can add to suit your taste.
This lip smacking dish is not only quick and easy but gets done in one pan. After frying the meatballs, just reduce the oil in the same pan and make your sauce or if you want to use fresh oil, just remove the frying oil and wipe the pan clean with paper towel and carry on. I serve Sweet n Sour Meatballs with my kids’ favourite Chilli Garlic Noodles .
Tip: Five spice is a dry spice blend used in Chinese and Asian cooking, quite like the South Asian garam masala. If it’s not available where you live, you can easily make your own and fill it in a bottle for use in Asian style cooking. It tastes great even in baking. Blend aniseed, cinnamon, coriander, cloves and dry ginger root to make your own Five Spice mix.
For Chicken Meatballs:
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
1 teaspoon five spice blend
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon fish sauce
Oil for shallow frying
For Sweet n Sour Sauce:
1/4 cup tomato ketchup
2 tablespoon Chinese hot sauce
2 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon corn flour, diluted
2 cups water
1 tablespoon sunflower or sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
This Is What You Do:
Heat oil in a wok or if you don’t have any, use a deep frying pan. Fry the meatballs on medium heat till golden. Remove from oil and drain on a kitchen towel. Set aside.
Remove the oil from the wok/frying pan. Wipe it clean with a paper towel ( no need to wash). Add a little oil for stir frying onions. Fry for a few seconds.
Add tomato ketchup, hot sauce, sugar, vinegar and soy sauce to the pan. Allow the sugar to melt. Add as much water as you would like the quantity of sauce. I added 2 cups.
Then add diluted corn flour to thicken the sauce. Keep stirring because the sauce thickens up very quickly. Add the meat balls to sauce, cook for 2 minutes. Garnish with sesame seeds.
Serve hot with steamed rice or egg noodles.