I had the best sweet and sour pork in Beijing at the same off the tourist track restaurant that served the best Peking style duck. It was fresh and bursting with flavour, and interestingly, instead of green capsicum it was stir-fried with cucumber.
How to make Sweet and Sour Sauce from scratch
So, when a sweet and sour sauce craving hit last week, I knew I had to do something about it. It really is an easy version of the Chinese classic and from scratch. It is simple and just as delicious.
Make the sauce with staples such as ketchup and soy sauce. Add fresh pineapple instead of tinned, carrots and celery for some added vitamins, fibre and crunch.
Need more veg? Chop up some capsicum, beans, snow peas or mushrooms and stir fry them before making the sauce.
Use meatballs instead of pork
It might have become my go to sweet and sour sauce – sooo easy to make! I don’t buy the stuff in jars. And no takeaway versions in Sydney with a starchy orange sauce, have not been a match to the Beijing version, or this.
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You can use any type of bread for meatballs – including gluten free, and the meatballs will remain beautifully succulent. Swap dairy milk for your choice of nut milk. Make it Jamaican by adding a teaspoon curry powder and a touch of cinnamon to the sauce.
The possibilities are truly endless, because you can also make this easy sweet & sour sauce with chicken, pork or firm fish pieces.
Easy Sweet & Sour Pork Meatballs
For the meatballs:
- 1 medium red onion
- extra virgin olive oil
- 3 slices plain bread of your choice stale is fine too
- 1/4 cup milk of your choice
- 500 g pork mince
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds
- 1 small gold pineapple
- 2 small carrots
- 4 celery sticks
For the sauce:
- 1 cup Ketchup I use the reduced sugar and salt one
- 1 tablespoon ketjap manis
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce gluten free if you prefer
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 cup water
- steamed rice
- Finely dice onion. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook onion, stirring, for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile place bread and milk in a large bowl, mash it together. Transfer onion to the bowl then add the mince, egg, ginger and coriander. Knead until the ingredients are well incorporated. Form 20 evenly-sized meatballs.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the same frying pan over medium heat and cook meatballs, in batches until browned on both sides. Remove each batch into a clean bowl before cooking the next - they do not need to be cooked through at this stage.
- Peel and dice pineapple and carrot, slice celery sticks. In a jug mix the ketchup, ketjap manis, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, ginger and water.
- Return pan to high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil, pineapple, carrot and celery. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pineapple is caramelised.
- Return meatballs to the pan, add the sauce and stir. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for a further 10 minutes for the meatballs to cook through.
- Serve on their own or with steamed rice (microwave steamed rice pouches are a nice shortcut here).