Finally, a sweet and sour dish without the tell-tale red tinge of ketchup. This is quite a departure from the usual Chinese standard though not entirely alien to the Filipino cuisine since we have ketchup anaemic 'agridulce' sauces used as a dip or (obviously) as sauce.
Warning: don't overcook the meatballs because they will turn dry and tough once it's been sitting on your dinner table for a few minutes. That's what happened to me first time I attempted this. The red hot chilli peppers (not the band) is entirely optional while the vegetables can be varied according to your taste. Just think of the colour, texture, and taste combination when you decide on some other veggies to put in the mix. My beloved Chinese Cuisine by Huang Su-huei provided the recipe that I adapted. This is actually on the cover of the cookbook!
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
500 g minced pork or beef
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cooking wine
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 cup mangetout/snow peas (sitcharo) - topped and tailed
1 cup button mushrooms - [the smaller the better]
1 cup sliced carrots - precooked
1 red chilli pepper - sliced
1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp vinegar
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
dash of sesame oil
- Mix all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- Dissolve the salt and cornstarch in water and cooking wine. Mix well with the meat and form into about 1-inch balls.
- Deep fry meatballs for about 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In a wok, heat up 2 Tbsp oil. Stir fry the chilli pepper and garlic until aromatic.
- Add the snow peas and button mushrooms and stir fry for 1 minute.
- Stir in the carrots and meatballs. Cook for a few seconds.
- Add the sauce and bring to boil. Simmer for 2 minutes. Dish up and serve.