Friday, January 17, 2014

Meat Balls with Sweet and Sour Sauce (Tsu Liu Wan Tzu)

I adapted this recipe from Fu Pei Mei's Chinese Cook Book Volume I. It's apparently a Northern Chinese dish and it kinda seemed to channel (at least for me) Swedish meatballs albeit with an Asian flair. The seasoned meatballs are fried and then topped with a savory-sweet-vinegary sauce. You just can't go wrong with that flavor combination!

1 lb. ground pork
1 tbsp. cold water

3 tbsp. minced scallion
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 egg
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice wine
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt

1 3/4 cup water
8 tbsp. sugar
8 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. salt

6 cups vegetable oil 
3 scallions, thinly sliced along the bias
1 cup cornstarch

1. Place the ground pork and 1 tbsp. cold water in a bowl then mix thoroughly with your hands for about one minute. Add the marinade ingredients and combine well. Let sit 20-30 minutes to allow flavors to develop.

2. Place 1 cup of cornstarch into a plate or shallow casserole. Form the meat mixture into 1" meatballs & coat with cornstarch. Place the meatballs onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Should form about 3o meatballs.

3. Combine the sauce ingredients into a bowl or measuring cup. Set aside.

4. Heat 6 cups of oil in a medium sauté pan over high heat. Fry the meatballs in two batches about 2 minutes each. Remove each batch to a paper towel-lined plate. 

5. Reheat the oil and fry the meatballs a second time (again, in two batches) for about 1 minute. Remove & drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

6. Pour out all the oil except for 1 tbsp. in the pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add the sliced scallions and sauté for 30 seconds. Stir in the sauce, bring up to a boil and cook for about 1-2 minutes until the sauce is thickened. 

7. Place the drained meatballs onto a serving platter. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and garnish with fresh julienned scallions. This dish is great served with rice.

 Marinate the ground pork.

Thinly slice scallions along the bias for the sauce. 

Let the pork mixture marinate for 20-30 minutes. 

 Sauce ingredients combined in a measuring cup.

Rice wine, rice vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil. 

Coat the meatballs lightly in cornstarch.  

Fry the meatballs in two batches (don't overcrowd or they won't come out crisp).

Place meatballs on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. 

 Refry the meatballs (again in two batches) for about 1 minute & drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

 Drain all of the oil from the pan except for about 1 tbsp., and sauté the 3 sliced scallions. Add the sauce ingredients, bring to a boil and cook about 1-2 minutes or until thickened.

Place the meatballs on a serving platter, pour the sauce over, and garnish with fresh sliced scallions. Serve with steamed white rice.


  1. HEY SIS! So I was perusing your blog because I have a pound of ground pork I dug out of the giant freezer. Gonna try it tonight and let you know how it comes out. I don't have any rice wine-but I have plenty of Vodka. I'll let you know how that turns out!

    1. Heh heh, make that recipe soon before the Vodka runs out! :)