Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Chinese food has long been a favourite of mine but sadly, the incarnation we usually get in the UK tends to be gluten packed. There are a few restaurants in my local area beginning to target the GF market but the menus are still fairly restrictive and, I’ve found, just serve to highlight all the tasty food I can’t eat. In some places if you order GF duck pancakes you can still expect the pancakes to have simply been replaced by lettuce. Not what we had in mind, right?

So to celebrate Chinese New Year this weekend my mum and I have made our own version of my favourite – Sweet and Sour sauce. You can make this with fried chicken instead but I really love it with beef meatballs. Quick, easy, really nice and 100% gluten free!

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This recipe serves 4.

Recipe

For the meatballs:
500g beef mince
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp GF soy sauce
1 egg
2 slices of GF bread, breadcrumbed

For the sauce:
3 tbsp dark brown sugar
3 tbsp vinegar (I use barley malt but if you don’t eat that you can easily substitute for another type of vinegar)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 Red and 1 yellow pepper – add as much or as little as you like
1 small tin of pineapple (or fresh if you prefer a you need the equivalent of about 4 rings)
2-3 tsps cornflour

Method

1. Combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl. Divide evenly and shape into as many meatballs as you want. Smaller ones cook faster.
2. In a pan, mix the sugar and vinegar and heat until the sugar has dissolved.
3. Add the tomatoes.
4. Chop the peppers and pineapple into bite size pieces and add to the pan. Set the pineapple juice aside.
5. Cook for 3 minutes and then remove from the heat.
6. In a wok or a large frying pan, cook the meatballs until browned all over. You might need to do this in small batches and set them aside.
7. At this point you should cook whatever carbohydrate you are eating with the Sweet and Sour. I usually go for rice.
8. A few minutes before you’re ready to serve, mix the cornflour with some of the pineapple juice (use cold water if you’ve used fresh pineapple).
9. Take the sauce off the heat and slowly add a few tbsps of the sauce to the cornflour/juice mix, stirring as you go.
10. Slowly tip the cornflour mix back into the pan, stirring continuously.
11. Return the pan to the heat and keep stirring it until it has boiled for a couple of minutes.
12. Put the cooked meatballs in the sauce and warm through.
13. Serve and enjoy.

Happy Year of the Rooster everyone!

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