I have told you before about my 130+ cookbooks, haven’t I?! There are quite a few Italian cookbooks, a few Mediterranean ones (my favorite food), Mexican, American, French cooking…. baking cookbooks… but not even one about Asian food. Well, Jaden from Steamy kitchen has changed that with her new cookbook.
I love Asian food but I mostly eat it when we eat out. Sushi, Chinese, Thai… But at home, besides the occasional use of soy, ginger, maybe a star anise here and there and rice vinegar, I can’t say I really cook Asian food. Besides Pad Thai.
I’ve started reading the Steamy Kitchen blog a while ago, but it really caught my attention when Jaden, who writes the blog, posted about a very fun trip she organized at Club Med with her blogger friends. It made me very happy to read that. When I dug further as to why it made me so happy that other people are having so much fun, I realized that she showed me that only the sky is the limit to one’s dream.
Well, first you need to have a dream, of course. Then you need to dare and follow up on that dream. Jaden has created a career out of her blog and she now has a new cookbook, appears on TV, she travels, meets and makes friends with interesting and talented people, and it all started with a blog. But most of all, I think she’s having lots and lots of fun doing all of this. In addition to all that, she never stops to amaze me each time she responds to an e-mail or a tweet I send her way. Truly inspiring, isn’t she?!
So, of course, I had to buy the book. Besides all the inspiration I knew I will find easy to make recipes which is what I needed to kick start my Asian cooking experience. And it fits with my glamorous life style too! Quick and delicious recipes, short preparation, big flavor.
The first recipe I chose to make was sweet and sour pork meatballs with lychee since this week I have decided to attack my family with meatballs dinners and this recipe fitted right with my plan. What can I tell you? We were all happy and licking our forks.
These meatballs rock!
Sweet and sour lychee meatballs
Adapted from Steamy Kitchen cookbook (copied with permission)
Makes 4 servings
One 14 oz. (400 grams) can lychees, drained (reserve 1/4 cup juice for the sauce), cut in half
2-3 tablespoons canola oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into big chunks
1 yellow/green bell pepper, cut into big chunks
For the sweet and sour sauce:
1/4 cup (65 ml) juice from the drained lychees
1/4 cup (65 ml) white vinegar (I used 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup (65 ml) ketchup
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the meatballs:
1 lb. (500 grams) ground pork
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoons flour
In a small pot, bring the sauce ingredients to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine all the meat ingredients and form 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) size meatballs. (Jaden recommends making tight meatballs. I’m not very good at that so mine weren’t very compact, but they held their shape when fried and cooked in the sauce).
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the meatballs and fry, turning them every 2-3 minutes, until they are nicely browned from all sides. Remove to a plate. Discard the oil and wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel.
Reuse the skillet and add to it the lychees and peppers, the sauce, and the meatballs. Cover with a lid and cook over low heat, stirring gently from time to time, for about 10-15 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.