Sweet and Sour Meatballs - tender chicken meatballs in a delicious Chinese style Sweet and Sour sauce with peppers and onions
Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls
Who doesn't love those crispy battered coated pieces of chicken from the Chinese with a delicious sweet and sour sauce? It's a popular choice among many, but those deep fried balls can add quite a few calories to your day.
So, Instead of the usual battered covered pieces of meat you get at the Chinese takeaway I made these delicious tender Chicken Meatballs. A perfect alternative for that popular Sweet and Sour dish.
Basic Sweet and Sour Sauce
The basic Chinese sweet and sour sauce is another one that is quite high in sugar and calories, typically made from Ketchup, Soy Sauce, Vinegar, as well as sugar, but you will find so many variations out there.
Instead I lighten up my version using passata instead of ketchup and instead of sugar I opt for maple syrup and it works perfectly for a delicious lighter sweet and sour sauce.
Can I use sweetener in Sweet and Sour Sauce?
That is totally up to you, the maple syrup is not a huge amount of calories when divided up into servings.
Also sweetener really doesn't yield that glossy sauce and doesn't reduce down and thicken when heated, so you sauce may not look the same if you do decide to make the swap.
If you do decide to opt for a sweetener go for one that is granulated. Erythritol is my preferred choice as it's the closest in taste to real sugar and is naturally derived.
Can I use a different ground meat (mince) for Sweet and Sour Meatballs?
If you want to use a different ground meat in this recipe, then both pork and turkey are great substitutes that work well with the sweet and sour sauce.
I don't personally recommend beef as it's a much stronger tasting meat.
Are breadcrumbs needed in meatballs?
They are definitely a great addition to meatballs or meatloaf. What the breadcrumbs do when you bing with an egg is keep you meatballs nice and tender and a beautiful round form.
Without the breadcrumbs the meatballs tend to really shrink when cooked and become a bit dry, especially when using really lean ground meat.
For those who are gluten free you can use gluten free breadcrumbs instead. There are various options out there, but you want to opt for panko style, as these are larger, fine breadcrumbs you won't need as much.
Replacement for breadcrumbs in meatballs
If you really want to skip the breadcrumbs some great additions to stop your meatballs from being too dry is either add some grated courgette (zucchini) or some mushrooms which are added to a food processor until finely chopped. What either of these will do is keep your meatballs nice and tender.
Do I need to syn the pineapple on Slimming World?
Fruit that is cooked, pureed, blended etc is usually synned on Slimming World, but as I literally just added the chunks at the end, just until warmed through, I personally don't bother. The choice is up to you if you want to be really strict or not.
Of course you can omit the pineapple too if you want to, not everyone likes pineapple in their sweet and sour sauce, if you want to just add the vegetables that is perfectly fine to do so.
Sides for Sweet and Sour Chicken Meatballs
There are so many great Chinese dishes you could pair with this if you want to create a yummy Chinese fakeway in your own home. Check out some of these Chinese Fakeaway Inspired Recipes.
Keeping it simple I like to pair these with some cooked Jasmine Rice, it's the perfect side for all that delicious sauce. But as well as Jasmine Rice, there is also these:
- Best Ever Egg Fried Rice
- Cauliflower Egg Fried Rice - for a lower carb choice
- Roasted Cauliflower Rice - if you prefer a plain style lower carb choice
- or if you are a chip kind of person - Perfect Homemade Oven Baked Fries
More Popular Chinese Recipes
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For the meatballs
- 455g (16oz) of extra lean ground chicken (can also use pork or turkey)
- 30g (½ cup) of Panko Breadcrumbs
- 1 medium egg
- ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon of onion powder
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- pinch of black pepper
- cooking oil spray
For the sweet and sour sauce
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 180g (¾ cup) of passata (can use crushed tomatoes, but omit tomato paste)
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste (puree)
- 120ml (¼ cup) of water
- 2 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons of maple syrup (or honey)
- 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar (or other white vinegar is fine)
- 200g (7oz) of frozen chopped pineapple (or can use fresh)
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- cooking oil spray
For the meatballs:
- Preheat oven to 200c, 180c fan, 400f or gas mark 6
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper and mist with cooking oil spray.
- In a bowl combine all the ingredients for the meatballs, form into 16 meatballs.
- Add the meatballs to the tray and spray over the top with the cooking oil spray.
- Bake in oven for 10 minutes and remove and set aside.
For the sauce:
- Spray a frying pan with some cooking oil spray, add the onions and peppers and fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add in the garlic and fry for about 30 seconds just to infuse flavour.
- Combine passata, tomato paste, vinegar, maple syrup and water in a bowl.
- Add this into the pan. then drop in the meatballs.
- Simmer sauce until meatballs are cooked through and sauce has thickened slightly and looks lovely and glossy (approx 8 minutes). Drop in pineapple for last 2 minutes.
- Sprinkle with chopped spring onions and serve and enjoy!!
- This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, Slimming World and Weight Watchers friendly
Slimming Eats - 3.5 syns per serving
- WW Green Smart Points - 3 per serving
- WW Blue Smart Points - 3 per serving
- WW Purple Smart Points - 3 per serving
- Gluten Free - use gluten free soy sauce and breadcrumbs
SUITABLE FOR FREEZING
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Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1 SERVING
Amount Per Serving Calories 304Total Fat 7.1gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 115mgSodium 831mgCarbohydrates 34gFiber 3.6gSugar 21gProtein 26g