My “tapas” appetizer idea of Beef Sweet Sour Meatballs with Pineapple has an Asian, tropical appeal. I made it inspired by a previous family recipe. The beef meatballs are encased in a sweet, sour, tangy, spicy glaze that grazes the meat and pineapple cubes which my mom referred to as agrio-dulce, Spanish for sweet-sour.
“Tapas” comes from the Spanish word “tapar” which means to cover. As appetizers, starters or snacks, ‘tapas” ingredients are layered, stacked or nestled together with varying flavors, textures and aromas in warm or cold temperatures. There are huge varieties starting from savory, plump Spanish olives, smokey cold cuts, spicy chorizos, tender slices of meat, mouth-watering “quesos” (cheeses) and an infinite spread of different, versatile ingredients, all meant to pair well with sparkling wines, cocktails and spirits.
Every time I go back to the Philippines and visit Manila, this cosmopolitan city has more and more exciting things in store for visitors and locals. Manila, the nation’s capital in this Southeast Asian country has seen the strong Spanish influence in cuisine — brought on by Spain’s colonization of over 300 years starting in the 15th century.
Some of the best Spanish restaurants are found in Manila, offering the best paellas, callos, canonigos and other popular Spanish dishes. Lately, the “tapas” craze has been a big hit and have emerged as strong favorites for Manila diners and tourists. One can find a wide range from the high end sophisticated “tapas” creations to simple, basic homespun platters — and tapas can be found every where from world class hotels to local neighborhood eateries.
Just before I wrote this blog post, I happily anticipated enjoying ‘tapas’, seated with friends from the Food Wine Conference, an annual event organized by the Sunday Supper Movement at the Tapa Toro Restaurant in Orlando, Florida. I visualized us, a huge group of food bloggers relishing the different ‘tapas’ offerings. And yes, it did happen and we had a blast.
Be ready to be enticed with these sweet-sour appetizers. Tapas have a way to play with your palates, build your appetites and make you thirsty for sparkling spirits and lots of fun.
Sweet Sour Beef Meatballs with Pineapple
- 1 pound for meatballs ground beef (lean ground chuck)
- 2 Tablespoons for meatballs Tamari or low sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons for meatballs oyster sauce (from Asian markets)
- 1 large chopped, for meatballs onion
- 2 stalks whites only, chopped scallions or green onions
- 1 large for meatballs egg
- 1/4 cup for meatballs bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon for meatballs sea salt
- 1/4 cup divided, 1 Tablespoon for sauce, rest for frying meatballs vegetable oil
- 2 cloves for sweet sour sauce garlic
- 1/2 piece chopped, for sauce onion
- 1 knob an-inch long, minced, about a teaspoon, for sauce fresh ginger
- 2 Tablespoons for sauce tomato catsup
- 1/2 cup for sauce distilled white vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons for sauce granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup for sauce pineapple juice
- 1 cup for sauce water
- 1/2 teaspoon for sauce sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon for sauce black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup room temperature, for combining with cornstarch water
- 1 teaspoon optional, for sauce red pepper flakes
- 1 cup or use canned fresh pineapple cubes
- about 12 bamboo or 15 to 20 cocktail picks bamboo skewers or cocktail picks
- In a large mixing bowl, mix all the meatball ingredients. Combine well. Shape beef mixture into even-sized balls about 1-inch in diameter.
- Pre-heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. After about 2 minutes when oil is hot enough, or if using a thermometer, temperature reaches 350 F degrees, drop the meatballs into the skillet. Cook half of the batch at a time and do not crowd the skillet. Pan fry and cook the meatballs for about 7 to 8 minutes, turning around to brown evenly.
- Drain the meatballs on parchment paper to remove excess oil. When meatballs are slightly cooler, skewer the meatballs through long cocktail picks or use pre-soaked bamboo skewers. Alternately thread the beef meatballs with cubes of fresh pineapple in between. If using cocktail picks thread one meatball and one pineapple cube in each. If using bamboo skewers, thread 2 or 3 meatballs alternating with 2 or 3 pineapple cubes. Set aside.
Separately make the Sweet Sour sauce:
- In a small sauce pan, over medium heat, sauté in a tablespoon of vegetable oil, the garlic, onions, ginger for 2 minutes.
- To the same sauce pan, add the catsup and fry for about 1 to 2 minutes over medium heat. Add the vinegar, granulated sugar, pineapple juice, red pepper flakes and water. Blend well. Season with salt and black pepper powder. Cover and continue cooking for a minute.
- Separately, in a small bowl, dilute the cornstarch in water and using a whisk, blend well till there are no more lumps. Add this cornstarch mixture to the sauce pan with the vinegar mix. Bring to a boil in about 2 minutes. The sweet sour sauce will get thick. Lower heat to a slow simmer for one minute then remove from stove top. The mixture has sugar and may burn if kept on heat for a prolonged period.
- TO SERVE: Skewer meatballs and pineapple cubes alternately through long cocktail picks or bamboo skewers. Brush sweet-sour glaze over meatballs and fruit cubes. Serve warm as appetizers.
- COOK'S COMMENTS : You can substitute ground pork instead of beef if preferred. Or you can use a combination of ground beef and pork (in equal parts) for this recipe.
- Ingredient Info: Oyster sauce is a thick, salty-sweet, dark brown liquid popularly used as a base for Asian dishes. Traditionally, it was made by slowly simmering oysters in water till the liquid caramelized. Today, most brands sold in major supermarkets and Asian markets consist of sugar, salt, cornstarch, soy sauce, oyster extracts. There are also vegetarian oyster sauce products available. Find this product at online sources or major food stores.
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Para Empezar, Las Tapas (Appetizers/tapas) -
- Apple, Chorizo, and Manchego Crostini by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Champiñones al Ajillo by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Chorizo and Sweet Potato Spanish Tortilla Bites by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Citrus & Fennel Marinated Olives by Go Epicurista
- Clams Casino Dip with Bacon by Girl Abroad
- Crab Enchilado Empanadas with Avocado Cream by Gourmet Everyday
- Fried Almonds with Thyme by What The Fork Food Blog
- Gambas al Ajillo (Garlic Shrimp) by Pook’s Pantry
- Garlicky Shrimp with Olive Oil by Grumpy's Honeybunch
- Gazpacho Cucumber Bites by A Mind Full Mom
- Gildas Picantes – Spicy Anchovy Olive Skewers by Food Lust People Love
- Herbed and Spiced Almonds by Get the Good Stuff!
- Huevos Rellenos de Gambas (Deviled Eggs with Shrimp) by Our Good Life
- How to make Beef Sweet Sour Meatballs with Pineapple for #SundaySupper by Asian In America
- Manchego Cheese & Chorizo Bites with Saffron Alioli by Hardly A Goddess
- Margarita Ceviche by The Crumby Cupcake
- Pinchos Morunos (Spanish Pork Skewers) with Mojo Picon by Curious Cuisiniere
- Roasted Bell Pepper Goat Cheese Bites by She Loves Biscotti
- Roasted Eggplant and Piquillo Pepper Toasts by Take A Bite Out of Boca
- Roasted Red Peppers and Anchovies with Bruschetta by The Hungry Goddess
- Seared Scallops with Shredded Manchego and a Bleu Cheese Crumble by The Freshman Cook
- Serrano Ham & Goat Cheese Croquettes by My World Simplified
- Serrano Ham Bites with Melon and Cheese by Palatable Pastime
- Shrimp Romesco Bites by Cooking On The Ranch
- Smoked Sardine Crostini by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Spanish Garlic Shrimp by Life Tastes Good
- Stuffed Mushrooms by The Chef Next Door
- Tomato Gazpacho With Fried Avocado Bites by Nik Snacks
- Tortillita De Camarones by the healthy fit foodie
- Tortilla Española by Monica’s Table
- White Wine Marinated Steak with Blue Cheese by Caroline’s Cooking
- Zanahorias Aliñadas (Spanish Marinated Carrots) by Tara's Multicultural Table
Postres (Desserts) -
- Buñuelos de Viento by Dessert Geek
- Chocolate Orange Macarons by Gluten Free Crumbley
- Chocolate Toasts with Apricots by The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Churro Bites with Chocolate Sauce by Angels Home Sweet Homestead
- Churro Cupcakes by Pies and Plots
- Mini Vanilla Flans by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Mini Dulce de Leche Cheesecakes by The Redhead Baker
Bebidas (Drinks) -
- Tinto de Verano ~ A Sangria alternative by An Appealing Plan
- Plus Alcachofas al Ajillo – Garlicky Artichokes – and Spanish Tapas Recipes by Sunday Supper Movement
- Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
- Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement
- The restaurant sponsoring our LIVE! #SundaySupper Twitter chat on May 15th is Tapa Toro. Tapa Toro combines contemporary Spanish cuisine with a vibrant, energetic atmosphere – bringing a fresh dining experience to the I-Drive 360 area in Orlando, FL. Their unique paella pit, vibrant tapas menu, and extensive selection of imported wines will guide you through a culinary journey of Spanish flavors and culture in the heart of Central Florida.