My husband loves his favourite meatballs. They are so easy to make and go well with almost anything – mashed potatoes and salad, Italian spaghetti with tomato sauce and as I am discovering today, Asian sweet chili sauce served with rice and veggies.
He is the traditional cook in our household, I am the experimental chef. He sticks to what he knows, I love to extend our culinary boundaries by constantly trying something new. Somehow, we find balance and it works! Today’s lunch in no exception. What started as intent to make traditional meatballs ended in an Asian inspired meal that luckily, we both loved!
For the recipe I am using sweet chili sauce. You may always save your cooking time and by it from the shop, but as I like to add new skills and dishes to our home repertoire today we are opting for the homemade version.
What is sweet chili sauce? Sometimes also referred to as Thai Sweet Chili Sauce or Asian Sweet Chili Sauce, it’s a simultaneously sweet, savory, tangy and spicy sauce incorporating red chilies, garlic, ginger, sugar and vinegar.
As with most everything, nothing beats homemade and Sweet Chili Sauce is no exception. Not only is it super quick and easy to make, it’s cheaper, doesn’t have any additives or preservatives, you know exactly where the ingredients come from, and it tastes better than the bottled stuff. That’s a win-win! This homemade sweet chili sauce recipe is sure to become your go-to whenever you’re craving this deliciously versatile sauce!
For the meatballs
- 500g minced meat beef and pork
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 small egg
- Handful of parsley, thinly chopped
- Black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
For the veggies
- ½ aubergine
- ½ courgette
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 carrot
- Black pepper
For the Sweet Chili Sauce
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons cane sugar
- Or diabetic alternative: use granular sweetener of choice (e.g. erythritol)
- 1 tablespoon rice wine (can substitute dry sherry)
- 1 tablespoon sambal oelek
- Or 1-2 teaspoons dried red chili flakes (these are very hot, start with less and add more if desired)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon finely minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce (use tamari for gluten free)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water (the sauce will thicken more once cooled)
- 1-2 drops natural red food coloring (optional)
- White rice
- Coriander leaves
- Mint leaves
1. For the meatballs: Mix the minced meat, egg, shallot, parsley, salt and ground black pepper in a large bawl until well combined. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a non-sticky pan. Form bite-size balls and place in the pan. Cook over medium heat for around 15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and become golden brown.
2. For the veggies: Peel and wash the carrot. Wash the courgette and the aubergine. Guillen all the vegetables. Heat some olive oil in a pan and add the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5-10 minutes over high heat.
3. For the sauce: Place all of the ingredients except for the cornstarch mixture in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil, stirring regularly. Once the sugar is dissolved stir in the cornstarch mixture, stirring continually until thickened, about 1 minute. Let the sauce cool completely, pour into an airtight jar and store in the refrigerator. Will keep for up to a week. Makes about 1 cup.
4. To serve: Mix the vegetables, the meatballs and a few tablespoons of the sweet chili sauce (add more if desired to taste). Serve with boiled white rice and decorate with coriander and mint leaves.