* This is a sponsored post for National Rice Week *
Instead of reaching for the Chinese takeaway menu, try making this super easy, and healthier, sweet and sour sauce and making these Sweet and Sour Meatballs for a healthier alternative to a traditional Chinese dish.
There is nothing wrong with ordering a takeaway every now and then, no guilt here, but when it starts to become a bit of a habit, it might be time to try making your favourite takeaway dishes yourself. They are much easier than you might think and once you can make this sweet and sour sauce, you and put it with almost anything. But, we love it with chicken meatballs for a protein packed dinner.
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When you think of Chinese takeaway, chances are you think of sweet and sour. It's just a classic order and whether you go for king prawns, vegetables or chicken balls, it rarely disappoints. Until you get the MSG sweats later in the evening and you start feeling crappy from all the additives (can you tell that we don't have any good Chinese places near us?!). That is why we make it ourselves at home. We are saving money, and saving ourselves a whole load of disappointment when it makes us feel like crap.
In the time you can pick up the phone, order your meal, wait for the driver to get lost and have to call you for directions, you could have made this! Chances are, you have most of the ingredients on hand anyway, as the sweet and sour sauce uses some store cupboard essentials, like soy sauce, honey and tomato puree.
It is #NationalRiceWeek, so I had to make something that would go perfectly with some rice to celebrate. You think sweet and sour, you think rice. That is just the way it goes! National Rice Week is all about getting people to break out of their eating rut and try something new. Did you know that typically, people just rotate 9 different recipes?
Now is the time to try something new. Try a new cuisine, try a new brand of rice, try a new recipe that you have had bookmarked for years - just do something to break out of that midweek meal rut! If you are looking for even more recipes to try, then head over to the Love Rice website for some more inspiration.
We really do love rice. It is a staple in our house, as it goes with so many different meals, it's quick and easy to make, and you can even use it as a base to make the actual meal - it isn't just a side dish! Join me in celebrating #NationalRiceWeek and get creative with rice this week!
What I love about making my own takeaway at home is, you can pack it full of vegetables. You rarely get that when you order in. I am a firm believer that if you add vegetables to anything, it makes it instantly healthier. At least you are getting a few extra vitamins there, and that is never a bad thing.
This sweet and sour dish has onions, peppers, carrot, celery. All adding lots of delicious extra crunch, without too many extra calories.
I am not going to lie, I never used to be a huge fan of Chinese food. The menus would always be at the bottom of the pile when it came to ordering and we would usually just go with a pizza. You can't go wrong with a pizza, can you?! But it turns out, we just had really bad experiences of Chinese in the past. We do tend to stick to making it ourselves now, so I will have to start sharing more of our favourite recipes, but I thought this was a good place to start.
We are currently in the middle our our antinatal classes and finding them really helpful. The best thing about them is that we get to meet other parents to be, all asking the same kind of questions and worrying about the same things. The worst part, it that we don't get home till around 10pm. We don't feel like cooking at that time, but I have been making this earlier on in the day and it heats up really well. Quick, easy and filling!
These chicken meatballs are actually really versatile. We have had them in a teriyaki sauce before, along with a traditional Italian tomato sauce. Whatever your favourite sauce is, throw some of these meatballs in there for a change. Just maybe swap out the five spice for something else. Get creative!
Sweet and Sour Chicken Meatballs recipe:
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
For the Meatballs:
- 300 g Chicken breasts, ground in to mince
- ½ tsp Chinese Five Spice
- 2 Garlic cloves crushed
- ½ thumb size Piece of ginger, grated
- 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper
For the Sweet and Sour Sauce:
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Yellow pepper, diced
- 2 Garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 Carrot, diced
- 1 Celery rib, diced
- ½ thumb size Piece of ginger grated
- 1 Small onion diced
- 1 tbsp Soy sauce
- 200 g Pineapple chunks in natural juices
- 1 tbsp Cider vinegar
- 1 tsp Runny honey
- 2 Spring onions (scallions), sliced
- 1 tbsp Tomato puree
- 1 tbsp Sesame seeds to garnish
- 100 g Basmata rice
- In a bowl, mix together the ground chicken breast, Chinese five spice, garlic, ginger and salt and pepper. Roll the mixture in to 12 meatballs and put on a lined baking sheet. Put in a preheated oven at 200°C for 30 minutes.
- Add the rice to a pan of boiling water and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Heat some oil in a large pan and add the onion, carrot, pepper, celery, garlic and ginger and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce, cider vinegar, honey, pineapple (and juice) and tomato puree and stir well. Add the cooked meatballs, stir and simmer for 7 minutes.
- Finally, serve with cooked rice and sprinkle sesame seeds and spring onions on top.
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**This Sweet and Sour Meatballs recipe was commissioned by National Rice Week, however, all opinions are my own**