Skip to Content

Sweet and Sour Pork Balls

Sweet and sour pork balls were probably my introduction to Chinese food growing up in the UK. This is a version that plays homage to those memories.

Portrait image of sweet and sour pork balls in an Asian style bowl decorated with a blue flower against a light backdrop

Sweet and Sour Pork Balls.

These fried pork balls in a sweet and sour sauce are just about close enough to be recognisable to the ones I would order from the Chinese Takeaway when I was growing up.

They are also far enough removed to be a reflection on my tastebuds now.

Gone is the bright orange sweet sauce that realistically had no sour element to it at all.

In comes a darker, more grown up and complicated thick sauce. A sauce that sports the flavours of honey and Chiangking vinegar and even some vegetables.

Because now, as a grown up, I don’t balk at the sight of veggies!

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!

Overhead portrait image of sweet and sour pork balls in an Asian style bowl decorated with a blue flower against a light backdrop

Sweet and Sour Recipes.

This sweet and sour pork recipe 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 my balls into a sweet and sour sauce form one of my earliest food memories.

Those memories have spawned many sweet and sour recipes here. Whether it by my sweet and sour pork chops or sweet and sour chicken they are all close to my heart!

I even have a slight rework of this recipe in the form of my crispy honey soy chicken recipe.

But the love of sweet and sour stretches even further with ideas like deep fried goats cheese and pea puree rocking that sweet and sour vibe. Not to mention my favourite chicken pathia curry which definitely has a sweet and sour edge!

Close up portrait image of sweet and sour pork balls in an Asian style bowl decorated with a blue flower against a light backdrop

The Secret To a Crispy ‘Batter’.

These sweet and sour pork balls do not really feature a traditional batter.

Instead, I dip my balls into a flour and cornstarch mix, and then into kefir before a second dunk in the flour.

This helps form an irregular coating. This helps to create more gaps and spaces to hold the sauce.

The most important aspect is the cornflower. I always find batters made with cornflower get a better crunch but also retain that crunch longer.

That is particularly important in this recipe as we are adding a heavy sauce!

I even use cornflower or cornstarch in my chip shop fish and chips recipe.

Square image of sweet and sour pork balls in an Asian style bowl decorated with a blue flower against a light backdrop
Yield: 2 Servings

Sweet and Sour Pork Balls

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Crispy pork balls tossed in a wonderful sweet and sour sauce is the very essence of the sweet and sour pork balls that I grew up with. This recipe is a slightly less 'sweet' version of many a Friday night takeaway in true fakeaway fashion!


For the Sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Mirin
  • 2 Tbsp Chiangking Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp Water
  • 1 Tbsp Cornflower

For the Pork:

  • 75 g (2/3 Cup) Plain Flour
  • 30 g (1/4 Cup) Cornflower
  • 1/8 Tsp Salt
  • 150 g (1/2 Cup + 2 Tbsp) Kefir
  • 350 g (12 oz) Pork Loin
  • Cooking Oil

For the Vegetables.

  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 50 g (1/2 Small) Red Pepper
  • 50 g (1 Cup) Carrot
  • 75 g (1/2 Cup) Onion
  • 1 Spring Onion
  • 1/2 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds


  1. Cut your pork into a 1.5cm dice.
  2. Cut your red pepper, carrot and onion into a 5-7mm dice.
  3. Finely slice the spring onion.
  4. Begin by making the sauce, combine all of the ingredients for the sauce with the exception of 1 tablespoon of water and the cornflower and bring to a rolling boil.
  5. When boiling reduce the temperature to medium and mix together the cornflower and remaining 1 tablespoon of water and pour in to the simmering sauce stirring constantly.
  6. Continue to cook until the sauce thickens, this should take no more than 60 seconds and set aside.
  7. Heat your cooking oil to 170°C or 325°F.
  8. If you are garnishing with sesame seeds heat your wok whilst your oil is coming to temperature and toast them off.
  9. Now add the tablespoon of oil in wok and add the diced carrot and onion and stir fry for 2 minutes.
  10. Then add in the red pepper and stir fry for a further 2 minutes before adding the sauce and setting aside.
  11. When the oil is hot dip the pork into the flour and cornflower mix and then into the kefir and then back into the flour mix then deep fry for 3-4 minutes until golden and crispy.
  12. When fried I like to toss my balls in the sauce (what #innocentface), sure it removes crunch but it gives them a moorish chewiness that I love and then sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and spring onion.


You can of course serve this with the sauce drizzled over the top if you want to keep your balls crispy 😮

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 846Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 1443mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 3gSugar: 21gProtein: 56g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Portrait overhead image of golden deep fried goats cheese, served on pea puree with garlic flowers , sliced radish, peas and spring onions
Deep Fried Goats Cheese with Pea Puree
Close up portrait image of zaatar chicken legs served with giant couscous, pomegranate seeds
Roast Chicken Legs with a Zaatar Crust

Maha Khan /

Monday 5th of June 2017

Wow good recipe.I love your way og making recipes.Tastefull and I am thankful to you for best recipes you share with us..

Kristina @ Love & Zest

Friday 28th of April 2017

This looks amazing! So much flavor in this!

Brian Jones

Monday 1st of May 2017

Thanks Kristina

Helene D'Souza

Friday 28th of April 2017

The meatballs are smiling at me, no kidding! =D I think I would finish this off in a jiffy. Maybe it's a sign that I should finally just buy Mirin. Your sweet and sour pork balls would surely be a good excuse. ;)

Brian Jones

Monday 1st of May 2017

You would have to be careful, that sweet sauce is hot stuff ;) I love using mirin it add a depth of flavour that is often sadly missing in home cooked recipes.

Vicky @ Avocado Pesto

Friday 28th of April 2017

Love everything about this! I'm all about Asian flavors all the time so this is perfect for me. Think I could omit or replace the Chiangking Vinegar with something else/

Brian Jones

Friday 28th of April 2017

Thanks Vicky, there are lots of potential replacements for Chinkiang vinegar, none are really one for one but what you are really after is the sour element, so you can go regular rice wine vinegar, red vinegar with a touch of sugar or even something like balsamic which can work in a pinch.


Friday 28th of April 2017

We always order this in, even though we know it prolly has all kinds of unhealthy stuff in it. So we would absolutely love to make it at home. This looks amazing. Certainly better than any takeout! Plus, we know what goes in it! PS: I never would have thought it'd have kefir. Interesting!

Brian Jones

Friday 28th of April 2017

I would probably order in too but as my nearest takeaway is a 200km round trip awway it is definitely easier to order in... The Kefir is definitely one of my additions, the batter I was bought up with was a more traditional egg flour milk kinda batter or maybe even a more traditional Asian cornflower and water batter, the kefir defiitely gives it more of a 'buttermilk' feel kinda like fried chicken but I can't get butter milk here ;)