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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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 Plain Flour
- 25 g Cornflower
- 1/8 Tsp Salt
- 150 g Kefir
- 350 g Pork Loin
- Cooking Oil
For the Vegetables.
- 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
- 50 g Red Pepper
- 50 g Carrot
- 75 g Onion
- 1 Spring Onion
- 1/2 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds
- Cut your pork into a 1.5cm dice.
- Cut your red pepper, carrot and onion into a 5-7mm dice.
- Finely slice the spring onion.
- 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.
- 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.
- Continue to cook until the sauce thickens, this should take no more than 60 seconds and set aside.
- Heat your cooking oil to 170°C or 325°F.
- If you are garnishing with sesame seeds heat your wok whilst your oil is coming to temperature and toast them off.
- Now add the tablespoon of oil in wok and add the diced carrot and onion and stir fry for 2 minutes.
- Then add in the red pepper and stir fry for a further 2 minutes before adding the sauce and setting aside.
- 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.
- 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:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 846Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 1443mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 3gSugar: 21gProtein: 56g