Saturday, October 16, 2010

Crumbed Porkballs with Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce

I love sweet and sour pork, but there are so many things that can go wrong with it, especially when they come from your local chinese takeaway shop. Sometimes, the pork is this tiny, hard and stringy cube of meat covered in a mound of puffy batter the size of golf balls, it would have been better off called sweet and sour dough fritters instead. At times, you find that after you have consumed the meat in the dish, you're left with half of what you started with, which are mainly the vegetables that make up all the colours of the rainbow (unless they have all been tinged red by the food colouring in the sauce). And there's nothing worse than gluey, slimey, translucent, bright neon pink sauce that I once encountered before but never dared to eat. It was a most bizarre sight to say the least.

So I decided to make this simplified version of sweet and sour pork. I used minced pork so that it is easier on the kids' little teeth and I don't have to cut it up for them like I usually do. And kids love anything on skewers. Food on skewers somehow seem more appetizing and fun for kids, like a savoury lollipop. As for the sauce, there are many variations that you can make to it. Some like it sweet, some like it more tangy. The one I have made here is a no-frills dipping sauce with the addition of apple sauce to balance out the tanginess.

Pork ball skewers with sweet and sour dipping sauce


400g pork mince
1 tsp grated ginger
1 1/2 tbsp light soy
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1/2 egg, beaten
2 tbsp store-bought breadcrumbs + 1/2 cup extra for coating
2 tsp cornflour
Vegetable/Peanut oil for deep-frying
8 bamboo skewers

Sauce ingredients:
1 clove garlic, chopped
Half brown onion, quartered
4 tbsp tomato sauce
1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tbsp chinese rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp sugar (or to taste)
1/2 tsp chicken stock powder
1 tbsp apple sauce / plum sauce
Dash of black pepper
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup water
1 tsp cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp water


  1. Combine minced pork, ginger, soy, pepper, sugar, sesame oil, egg and 2 tbsp breadcrumbs. Then add the cornflour and mix through. Leave in fridge to marinade for 1/2 hour.
  2. Heat oil in wok. Shape the meatballs to about 3cm in diameter and roll them in the extra breadcrumbs until evenly coated. Deep-fry until golden brown and drain on kitchen paper. Thread them onto bamboo skewers.
  3. To prepare the sauce, combine all sauce ingredients (except for garlic, onion and cornflour mixture) in a bowl.
  4. Heat up oil in pan and fry the garlic and onion. Add sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Taste for seasoning. Add cornflour mixture to thicken. Serve immediately with meatballs.
Note: Of course, you can add other ingredients to the meatballs like chopped carrots, spring onions, prawns etc but I have kept it simple here.