Sweet and sour pork balls were probably my introduction to Chinese food growing up in the UK, here is a version that plays homage to my memories.
These Sweet and Sour Pork Balls are just about close enough to be recognisable to the ones I would order (or have ordered for me) from the Chinese Takeaway when I was growing up but they are far enough removed to definitely be a reflection on my tastebuds now.
Gone is the bright orange sweet sauce that realistically had no sour element to it at all and in comes a darker, more grown up and complicated thick sauce sporting the flavours of honey and Chiangking vinegar and even some vegetables. Because now, as a grow up I don’t balk at the sight of veggies as I used to when I was a child!
As you can tell from my sniggering reference to ‘my balls’ and ‘your balls’ in my recipe that is about as close as I have come to growing up!
This sweet and sour pork dish or more pertinently the dish that inspired my latest ‘fakeaway‘ dish was probably my introduction to flavours that were not traditionally ‘British’. Bizarrely enough that probably even includes such exotics as pasta, which I don’t really remember forming any part of my diet until I approached my teenage years. Apart from spaghetti hoops and ravioli from a tin of course.
However a rare treat from the Chinese takeaway is definitely an early memory and whilst I was never permitted my own meal dipping pork balls into a sweet and sour sauce form one of my earliest food memories.
I would guess it was so rare that it is inevitable that it stuck, it really was a once maybe twice a year thing and it is amazing how those sorts of things stay whilst common occurrences often wain in our memories.