May 19, 2013

Store Bought Sauce Makeover - Meatballs with Pasta Sauce and Asian Seasonings

How often should I update my food blogs (I also have one in Chinese)? For all these years, I've been trying to update at least once a week. However, there are way too many food pictures to share, and that's why I got Instagram!

If you are interested in my food ventures, check out my Instagram account "foodmakesmehappy" where I update daily with mostly food pictures that went into my stomach!

And here's today's recipe, store bought sauce makeover - meatballs with pasta sauce and Asian seasonings -

Ingredients (about 24 to 30 meatballs)?

Meatball mixture:
  • 1.3 lbs of ground beef
  • 1.3 lbs of ground pork
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 medium onion (peeled and chop into mini pieces)
  • 3 tablespoons of water
Sauce and other ingredients:
  • 2 stalks of scallion (stems removed, chopped into 2 to 3 inches long strips)
  • 1 big ripe tomato (cubed)
  • 1 cup of all natural or organic pasta sauce
  • 1/4 cup of black vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • Some olive oil
  • Some red chili flakes
  • Some sea salt
  • Some freshly ground black pepper


I actually prefer using more pork than beef for this recipe because the fat content of the pork provides more moisture to the meatballs. However, I got both ground meat that were pre-packaged instead of directly from a butcher. As a result, there's no chance for me to ask for specific amount of meat. If possible, try to use about 1:2 beef to pork ratio for this recipe.

Take a big bowl and add in all the ingredients under "meatball mixture" except water -

Don't even bother to use a spatula or a spoon to do the stirring work. I assure you that all the meaty goodies will eventually get on both of your hands shortly. Use one hand to slightly mix the ingredients with the same stirring direction, ex. clockwise or counter-clockwise. Once done, use the clean hand to add the water gradually and keep mixing with the other hand. You can substitute water with beef stock to enhance the flavor. This liquid-adding step helps the ground meat to absorb more moisture, which will result in juicier meatballs.

Form the ground meat mixture into about 2 dozens to 30 medium sized meatballs -

Drizzle just enough olive oil to evenly coat the bottom of the pan and turn to medium high heat. Sear the meatballs in two to three batches. Make sure the sides turn slightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside for later use.

Take a big pot and drizzle just enough olive oil to coat the bottom again. Turn to medium high heat and add in the scallions, some red chili flakes, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper.

Sear till the scallion turns slightly burned then pick them out.

Discard 1/3 of the excess oil in the pot. Transfer the cubed tomato into the pot along with 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Cook for about 3 minutes.

Pour in the pasta sauce, black vinegar, and soy sauce. Give it a quick stir then add in the seared meatballs. Make sure all the meatballs are coated with the sauce.

Reduce the sauce till it thickens, about 2/3 or 1/2 left depending on your own preference. I like to keep more sauce so I can drizzle it all over steamed white rice.

Taste and adjust with soy sauce, black vinegar, and granulated sugar if needed.

Supposedly ketchup works for this recipe. However, I think a good quality pasta sauce has much more flavor and can truly "upgrade" the taste for the meatballs.


  1. Though I have not tried this combination of meatballs in Asian-style sauce, the idea does sound very attractive :)

    1. It was my first time trying out the combination too! It tastes just like sour and spicy meatballs, but in a lighter and healthier way!