Homemade pork meatballs with carrot cream sauce

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Mind Your Body, The Straits Times

Saturday, Dec 21, 2013

  • Make merry this Christmas with meatballs, without letting them weigh on your mind and body.

    Traditionally, this dish is served in Western countries on this day, which Christians believe marks the birth of Jesus Christ, the son of God.

    Create better meatballs from a mix of minced lean pork and toasted wholemeal bread crumbs, rather than fatty pork and white bread.

    Wholemeal bread is made from whole wheat, which has only the husk peeled off, while white bread is made from refined wheat, which is the carbohydrate-rich endosperm left after the husk, bran and germ have been removed.

    For this reason, whole wheat and other whole grains contain more vitamins, minerals and fibre than refined grains.

    Whole grains take longer to be digested and promote a feeling of fullness. This lowers a person's likelihood of overeating and keeps his blood sugar level steady, which is especially beneficial to diabetics.

    Eating whole grains has also been shown to reduce a person's risk of developing cancer and heart disease.

    Using lean pork, by removing the skin and visible fat, lowers the amount of fat, especially saturated fat, in the meatballs.

    Baking them, rather than frying, also reduces the fat content because this cooking method requires less oil.

    When consumed, saturated fat is converted into low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or "bad" cholesterol.

    This is distributed through the bloodstream to tissues to make hormones. Any excess is deposited on artery walls, narrowing the arteries and raising the risk of heart disease and stroke.

    Substituting whole eggs with egg whites also lowers the level of "bad" cholesterol in the dish.

    Most of the "bad" cholesterol in an egg is contained in its yolk. The Health Promotion Board (HPB) recommends no more than four yolks a week for healthy individuals.

    The purpose of wholesome meatballs would be defeated if the accompanying sauce is sinful.

    So, instead of using full cream, which is rich in saturated fat, use olive oil, which is not only low in saturated fat, but also high in unsaturated fat.

    This becomes high-density lipoprotein cholesterol or "good" cholesterol, which removes "bad" cholesterol from the bloodstream.

    Mr Roberto Galetti, executive chef of Italian restaurant Garibaldi, has created such healthier homemade meatballs with the help of the HPB.

    He said: "Meatballs are perennial comfort food and can be made in advance and frozen. Make sure that you do not miss out on the bread crumbs, which keeps the ingredients together."

    Nutritional Information
    (Per serving)

    Energy: 168 kilocalories
    Protein: 19.3g
    Total fat: 5.04g
    Saturated fat: 1.5g
    Cholesterol: 33.9mg
    Carbohydrate: 11.6g
    Dietary fibre: 2.2g
    Sodium: 485mg

    Get a copy of Mind Your Body, The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.

  • Serves four
  • 40g onions
  • 1 slice wholemeal bread
  • 250g lean pork, ground
  • 2 egg whites
  • 15g parmesan cheese
  • 20g parsley, chopped finely
  • 200g carrots
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1. Chop the onions and cook them in the microwave with some salt and water.
  • 2. Toast the slice of wholemeal bread and then break it up into crumbs.
  • 3. Mix the ground lean pork with the chopped and cooked onion, bread crumbs, egg whites, cheese and chopped parsley.
  • 4. Make small balls from this meat mix and then leave them in the fridge for one hour.
  • 5. To make the sauce, peel the carrots, slice them thinly and then boil them in water that has been mixed with one teaspoon of salt.
  • 6. Blanch the garlic in boiling water.
  • 7. Blend the carrots, garlic and olive oil to make a light creamy sauce.
  • 8. Bake the meatballs in the oven at 180 deg C for about 20 minutes.
  • 9. Serve the meatballs with the carrot cream sauce.
  • Tips
  • Use oil which is high in unsaturated fat, such as canola oil, corn oil, peanut oil, soya bean oil and sunflower oil, instead of oil that is high in saturated fat, such as ghee (clarified butter) and butter.
  • Add more fruit and vegetables to dishes. They contain fibre, vitamins and phytochemicals, such as carotenoids and flavonoids, which are beneficial plant substances which reduce the risk of some kinds of cancer.