I’ve been debating over writing and sharing this post for a while.. Mostly due to laziness over having to type out the long list of ingredients, but also because I wasn’t overly thrilled with this meal as the photos will show you. Have I captured your attention yet? Lots of ingredients, an under whelming (burnt) result – I’m really selling this recipe I adapted from Jamie Oliver sweet and sour fish balls 😉
However let’s step back in time to last Christmas when I received the Save with Jamie cookbook as a gift…
This was my first Jamie Oliver cookbook. I have to say I generally don’t mind his recipes, they are a little vague at times in direction and ingredient measurement (i.e. a mug of rice, a glug of oil), but overall not bad. At first glance I loved this cookbook – very attractive layout with great photos, bright fonts, and cheeky introductions for the recipes; plus as a graduate student a collection of recipes aimed at stretching your food budget without sacrificing flavor sounds brilliant!
Reading the book (yes I LOVE to read cookbooks like a work of fiction) the recipe for Sweet and Sour Fish Balls caught my eye. T. is a huge fan of all things squid and it seemed like a healthier option than ordering a chinese take away. So one chilly January Saturday night I decided to tackle this recipe. Just glance your eyes down at the ingredient list you will understand why I say tackle.. Fueled by red wine, guilty pleasure television, and the company of T. and a good friend I began this fairly easy, but time-consuming recipe.
While I started out this post with mixed feelings about this meal, I think that I will probably give this one more try. I’m going to play around with the ratio of squid and shrimp, probably adding more shrimp. Plus I did make a few errors with this meal – I blame the marathon of trash television and dear friend, even the photos are bad! Besides burning a few of the fish balls, I added the peas in too early and added a can of crushed (not the listed chucks) pineapple by accident. Overall the flavors were good in the sauce, it was the consistency of fish balls I wasn’t crazy about. Lastly I really wouldn’t say this was a ‘budget’ meal as Jamie advertised. Frozen squid not cheap in land locked prairie land! Cheaper than getting a take away, but not budget.
Since this I have made a few more recipes from this cookbook and we’ve enjoyed all of the meals. Overall its a good cookbook that I would recommend to friends as it does make a lovely addition to the cookbook shelf. BUT much like my review of the recipe, if you are looking for a true budget friendly cookbook I would probably keep looking…
- 2 pieces of stale bread (or sub store bought bread crumbs)
- 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice
- 1¾ cups of frozen raw squid rings or tubes
- 1 cup frozen peeled raw prawns
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
- Fresh coriander
- 1 egg
- 5 tablespoons cornflour
- 1 red pepper
- 1 yellow pepper
- 2 carrots
- 4 spring onions
- olive oil
- 1 tablespoon tomato purée
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon hot chilli sauce
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 small can (~250g) of pineapple chunks in juice
- ½ cup frozen peas
- basmati rice
- Blitz the bread and five-spice powder in a food processor and set aside. (or mix if using bread crumbs)
- Place the squid, shrimp, egg, ginger, cilantro, egg, 3 tablespoon of cornstarch, and salt and pepper in the food processor and blend till smooth. Place mixture in fridge.
- Chop the peppers, carrots, and white of the scallions (set green stalks aside for later).
- Place the veg in a large pan over medium high heat to cook for about 10 minutes till softened. Then add tomato paste, 2 tablespoon cornstarch, soy and chili sauces, vinegar, pineapple, and 1⅔ cup of cold water. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add the peas in the last few minutes.
- Prepare basmati rice.
- Take the fish mixture from the fridge. Spoon one teaspoon of the fish mixture and roll in the breadcrumbs, then roll into a ball shape.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large fry pan, once heated, cook fish balls for approximately 5 minutes until golden brown.
- To serve, pour the sauce on to a large platter, place the fish balls on top. Serve with the basmati rice and top with chopped scallions.