Meat Dishes

Crisp Meatballs with Sauce

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11 oz. pork mince
1.1/2 oz. edible fungus (wood ear) after soaking
1/2 medium-sized cucumber
1 tablespoon salted and fermented soya paste
2 tablespoons cooking wine
2/3 teaspoon gourmet powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.1/2 tablespoons cornflour in 1.1/2 tablespoons water
1 egg
1 teaspoon minced scallion
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
2 tablespoons garlic seedlings
1 teaspoon vinegar 5 cups peanut oil (actual consumption about 5%)

1) Put mince in a small pot, add soya paste, salt (1/4 teaspoon), gourmet powder (1/3 teaspoon), cooking wine (1 tablespoon), cornflour solution (2 tablespoons) and egg. Stir hard by turning in one direction till mince becomes sticky and firm.

Wash cucumber, and cut it into 1.1/2-inch sections. Halve and then slice them lengthwise into thin rectangular slices.

Wash and cut garlic seedlings into 3/4-inch lengths.

2) Mix thickening sauce in a small bowl with soya sauce, cooking wine (1 tablespoon), gourmet powder (1/3 teaspoon), cornflour solution (1 tablespoon), minced scallion and ginger, and some water.

3) Heat peanut oil in frying pan till it begins to bubble. Make seasoned mince into 5/8 or 3/4-inch balls and slip them into oil. When the balk are set in form, push them up lightly with a slice and separate those that have stuck together. Keep frying till all the meatballs are floating on the surface and have turned reddish. Remove meatballs from oil. Heat oil till it begins to smoke and return meatballs to oil for one minute more of re-frying to make them dark red and crisp on the outside. Remove again.

4) Empty pan of oil but keep just a little at the bottom. Add cucumber and fungus (wood ear) in that order, stir a little and pour in thickening sauce. Stir with a slice by turning and scraping at the bottom of pan. When sauce thickens, put meatballs in, followed with garlic seedlings. Toss and serve.

Notes:

(1) The pork mince should preferably be 60% lean and 40% fat.

(2) For beginners, the oil should be a little less hot than indicated. But do not touch the meatballs when they are just put in; increase instead the heat of the flame to make the balls set in form. Only then they may be slightly stirred, from time to time, to make the frying even.

(3) Before thickening sauce is put into pan, stir it a little to prevent cornflour from settling at the bottom.

(4) This dish is of a bright red color; the meatballs are crisp outside and tender inside, and the sauce is flavory with a slight sour touch.

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