Sweet-Sour Pork Balls

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While cooking or doing some kind of art project, I usually put on a movie on in the background to have as a kind of white noise while I’m working.  After I’m done, when I see the finished project again (like a quilt) or when I make a certain dish, I find myself thinking of that movie.

In other words, I’m calling this ‘Pretty in Pink Pork Balls’.

In a small bowl, mix the ground pork, minced green onions, one egg, salt, ground ginger, 2 tbsp. soy sauce, and 2 tbsp. corn starch. MIX WITH YOUR HANDS.  Do it.  You will feel very old world and like you OWN those meatballs.  Trust me, it’s a good feeling.Image 11

Put 2 cups of oil in a heavy bottom pan or skillet and begin heating it to 370 degrees.

Take your tablespoon, scoop up the pork mixture and form into balls.  I placed mine on a piece of waxed paper on a plate.

Get your rice on.  Whether you use the stovetop or the rice cooker, start your rice.  It will be ready and properly fluffy at just about the time your pork balls and veggies are done.

At this point, I had to open up all my windows in my kitchen and living room because the oil was beginning to smoke.  I am NOT an expert in frying with oil.  I am, however, an expert in setting off my smoke alarm.  I turned down the heat and used my candy/fry thermometer to make sure I was at 370 degrees.  I dropped Image 13in eight of the pork balls and watched the magic happen.  I kind of poked at them to make sure they browned evenly all the way around and made sure that they didn’t burn to a crisp.  I ended up doing three batches of about eight balls each.  I didn’t want them to crowd each other in the oil and I also wanted to try and maintain the temperature of the oil.

As soon as they reached a gorgeously rich brown color, I removed tImage 12he pork balls and let them drain on some paper towels.

While the meat was de-greasing, I prepped the rest of the ingredients.  This was very strenuous and involved opening cans and one bag of snap peas.  It was exhausting.

After looking at the end result, I realized that the snap peas needed to have less time in the skillet because I wanted to retain their green color and crunchy texture.  I recommend not adding them until you’ve added the sauce.  It was still super delicious when following the original directions.  You be the judge.

Heat up the remaining 1/4 cup oil in a skillet or wok and saute the carrots, water chestnuts, pineapple chunks, and snap or snow peas. After 3 minutes, remove from heat.

Image 9In small saucepan, mix sugar, vinegar, remaining soy sauce and cornstarch with reserved carrot liquid and pineapple syrup. Add water until it reaches 1 1/2 cups.  (I didn’t have to add extra water, since the carrot liquid filled it to the top.)  Heat to a boil while stirring.  Turn down slightly and continue stirring until it thickens and is clear.  This will smell delicious, but be careful while testing the seasoning!  It will burn your tongue off..

Put skillet back on the burner, add the pork balls, and pour the thickened sauce over the whole shebang. Put the burner on low and toss the mix around, so everything is evenly coated with your tangy, sweet sauce.

By the time you have set the table and put the steamed rice in a bowl, the veggies and meat will be ready!

I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty the pork balls turned out to be.  My official taste-tester, Nikki, suggested just making the meat balls without veggies for the Superbowl and I thought that was a fine idea.  If I could eat everything on a toothpick, I’d be a happy lady. Appetizers Unite!

And for those of you keeping score, this is the first time I DID NOT set off the smoke alarm.  My living room was 37 degrees because of the open windows, but I did not set off the alarm.  Plus, Duckie finally found a girl and Andie and Blane (the name of a major appliance) ended up together, so….. it’s a Win-Win, people!

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Sweet-Sour Pork Balls

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:
  • Total time:
  • Yield: 4-6 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Recipe type: Main Dish


  • 1 lb ground lean pork
  • 1/4 c. minced green onions
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 5 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 1/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 c. cooked sliced carrots, drained and liquid reserved
  • 1 pkg. (7 oz.) frozen snow-pea pods, thawed
  • 1 can (13 1/3 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained and syrup reserved
  • 1/4 c. sliced water chestnuts
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp. white vinegar
  • Hot cooked rice


  1. Combine first 5 ingredients with 2 tbsp. soy sauce and 2 tbsp. cornstarch and mix well.
  2. Shape in even round balls, using a measuring tablespoon for each.
  3. Heat 2 cups oil in deep heavy skillet, until bubbling. (370 degrees F)
  4. Fry balls until well browned; drain.
  5. Heat remaining oil in large skillet, add next 4 ingredients and saute about 3 minutes, then add meatballs.
  6. In small saucepan, mix sugar, vinegar, remaining soy sauce and cornstarch with reserved carrot liquid and pineapple syrup (add water to make 1 1/2 cups).
  7. Bring to boil, stirring, until thickened and clear.
  8. Correct seasoning and pour over meatballs and vegetables in skillet.
  9. Simmer 5 minutes and serve with rice.

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Comments: 3

  1. KEENA! January 25, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Alright. So, I feel like a dick for even posting this, because I strayed so far from Holly’s recipe. First, I will say that I DID follow the recipe for the meatball construction to a T and homegirl ain’t messin’ around.. they’re delicious. I usually don’t trust people when they say something is delicious, but I will always trust Holly’s palate. Also, I don’t know if my candy/oil thermometer is messed up, because I cut the amount of oil in half (just used 1 cup) and I tested the oil at 250 degrees by sprinkling a drop or two of water in there, and it was piping hot. Full disclosure, I have the WORST luck with all thermometers. It’s a curse.

    I just kept an eye on the meatballs instead of timing them, and I turned them once I saw the browning creeping halfway up the meatball.

    Here’s where I strayed. I tend to like my sweet and sour a little more sweet. And I *really* needed to be home in time for the new episode of the X-Files (WHAT YEAR IS IT?!), so I bought bottled sauce. I know. I’m the worst.

    I didn’t use snow peas or carrots OR the carrot juice. I made the meatballs, set them aside, then sauteed chunks of onion and bell pepper in veg. oil until the onions were translucent. Once the veggies were cooked, I added the meatballs back to the pan, drizzled a bit of the bottled sauce in the pan, stirred, let it thicken, and decided that the sauce was bland as hell. Sooooo I started adding pineapple juice and sriracha as the sauce thickened, and it was just lovely. I’m sure that’s not just the wine talking 😉

    Anyway. I’m bummed that I was in a rush and used a bottle sauce, but I’m super glad that a.) I followed the recipe for these bomb ass meatballs (lol); and b.) I happened to have pineapple juice and sriracha on hand to make the bottled sauce more legit.

    • Holly January 25, 2016 at 10:02 pm

      The beauty about cooking is that there is always room for improvising. I’m all about taking short cuts, especially when great television is on the menu. Sometimes we just don’t have time to complete all the steps. That’s what a pantry is for…..cheating on a recipe when a bottle of what you need is staring you right in the face. The best part about your bottle of sweet & sour is that you bumped up the flavor with the juice and the heat. It’s that kind of creativity that makes up recipes in the first place!
      I’m wondering if your oil was too shallow in the pan to get an accurate reading from your thermometer. I’ve definitely had that problem before, insta-burning several batches of caramel. I would have to tip the pan to create a deeper pool and then stick the thermometer at an angle to get a better reading.
      Bravo! to your Kamikaze cooking style and your fantastic taste in television programming.

  2. KEENA! January 25, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    Haha I feel like I always have the dud thermometer, even with the shallow oil! Mind you, I’ve never burned caramel and it’s always come out perfect, so maybe I have a 6th sense for candy? I successfully did not burn any of these meatballs nor did I set off the fire alarm, so I consider this a win. Take THAT, stupid candy & oil thermometer! I showed you.