Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hainanese Beef Balls In Tomato Sauce 海南茄汁牛肉丸

It has been a while since I cooked any Chinese or Malaysian dishes, both cuisines that I know so well. In a way cooking it for the first time in almost a month is like returning home after a long absence and the feeling is a rather wonderful one. This is a quite a peculiar dish I must say; I guess it is very much like a lot of other Malaysian dishes that just combine the best of everything around over the years and it just turns out so wonderfully right, call it fusion if you must.
Growing up in Cameron Highlands, I was lucky to be surrounded by people from all races and all walks of life, not to forget the most wonderful produce and weather one could ever hope for. Apart from giving the world the wonderful Hainanese chicken rice, the Hainanese also are also skilled tailors (second only to the Shanghainese although they might dissagree) and wonderful cooks. This is something that you are very likely to get in any Hainnanese operated coffee shops, the use of tomato ketchup, worcester sauce, potato chips and peas is very much a British colonial legacy (most Hananese also worked as housekeepers for the British colonial households and remain to do so after they are gone)
You may use boned chicken or pork chops for the dish but since I have some beef mince in my fridge, I've decided to make little beef balls instead. I have made this hundreds of times and I  can assure you that this is certainly a crowd pleaser!!! I'm not sure if there are other versions from different parts of Malaysia. If you do know of any, kindly share it with us please.
P.S my former boss R in Singapore, an English native who would only have "meat and 3 veg" every night was happily having this with rice more than twice a week!!

serves 4 as part of a Chinese meal
for the beef balls you'll need;
500g of minced beef
half an onion, chopped
1 egg
dash soy
dash of sesame oil
dash of Chinese wine
salt and pepper to taste
1.5 tbs of corn flour
corn flour for dusting

for the sauce you'll need;
half an onion, sliced
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
4 cloves of garlic, a small knob of ginger and 3 bird chilies, chopped
5 tbs of tomato ketchup
dash of worcester sauce
dash of oyster sauce
3/4 cup of stock
salt and pepper to taste
corn starch solution
2 spring onions, sliced
3 potatoes, cut into wedges, fried and drained well
1 chili, sliced
sprigs of coriander leaves

Put all ingredients for meat balls in a large bowl.

Mix everything til well combined.

Form meat mixture into little patties, dust with corn flour.

Fry potato til golden, drain well and set aside.

Then fry the meat patties til golden, drain well and set aside.

Fry chopped garlic and chilies with 2 tbs of oil, follow by tomato ketchup, worcester sauce, oyster sauce. Add tomatoes and onion slices, fry for a 2 minutes and add corn starch solution. check for seasoning.

Return potatoes, meat patties into the sauce follow by the green peas, warm through.

Serve with plenty of plain rice!!! I also made a simple stir fried Asian greens.


  1. It has everything in it that will please everyone at home! This will be a new favourite I can see! Thanks!!!!!

  2. This looks great! Almost like a good sweet and sour with extra goodies in it, definitely must try!!

  3. 看了胃口大開!!!

  4. My bf is gonna love this, unfortunately I don't eat beef and am not gonna cook beef, haha.

  5. I requested chicken rice but this is way more exciting !! I love the added chips and peas! what is next?? :)

  6. This looks super delicious! Love the added chips and peas, real comfort food to me! What sort of cut should I use if I'm using chicken instead? Thanks.

  7. Wow! Those beef balls do look quite tatsty! Very nice. Thanks for sharing,

  8. Thanks love to eat ! do let me know if this indeed becomes a new favourite !

    Thanks Fitzboy! You really should give it a try!


    haha Kenny you must still try it with chicken or pork! he'll be very happy!!

    Thanks Michele! you'll have to check tomorrow!! :)

    Thanks Anonymous ! You may use boned maryland with skin on.

    Thanks WC ! I'm glad to hear that!! :)

    Thanks Velva! :)

  9. Oh! I can finish the whole plate of that! More rice please!! Thanks for sharing the wonderful story that comes with the recipe too!

  10. This is really mouthwatering.... my kids will sure like this , thanks so much for sharing !

  11. Thanks BIBI! Do let me know if I start talking nonsense !!

    Thanks A Full-Timed Housefly! Yeah it's one of those dished that will make children very happy! Let me know you make in the future!

  12. oooh, they turned out perectly...and the sizzling of the potato is making me hungry!Off to food rehab

  13. Thanks Adrian!! Enjoy yourself at the food rehab! :)

  14. Beautiful colour. Just looking at it amkes me want to eat it. Lovely combination. Great as a one dish meal with rice.

  15. Thanks Mary! It is a very satisfying one dish meal indeed :)

  16. Wow, this recipe seems to be distinctly Asian with a dash of Italian influence. Yum!

  17. Thanks Fresh Local and Best! It is strangely Asian with the added foreign ingredients, give it a try!

  18. Looks like my kind of dish!! Thanks for the recipe!!

  19. What yummy meatballs and the sauce has such nice color. I would love to try your dish.

  20. Oh thanks Palidor ! please try n let me know what you think!!


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