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Old Fashioned Sweet and Sour Meatballs

sweet and sour meatballs

This recipe is total comfort food to me, and the meat is mixed with soft bread crumbs, made from grated leftover challah or other bread, just the way my Bubby used to make it, for soft, tender meatballs.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 8 ServingsServings



  • 520 grams tomato paste 22Bx (resek agvaniot)
  • 4 cups tomato juice (mitz agvaniot)
  • 1 cup brown sugar (sucar chum)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (melach)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (mitz limon)
  • 1 small onion, sliced (batzal)
  • ¼ cup white sugar – optional (sucar lavan)


  • 1 ½ kilo/3 pounds ground beef (basar tachun) – or one kilo beef and ½ kilo ground turkey (hodu tachun)
  • 1 ½ - 2 cups soft bread crumbs (made from leftover challah or other bread)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (shum gvishi)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper (pilpel shachor tachun)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (melach)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (sucar chum)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten (beitzim)


First prepare sauce in a 5-6 quart pot.  Combine the tomato paste, tomato juice, brown sugar, salt, lemon juice, and sliced onion. Heat gently, allowing all the ingredients to meld and come to a simmer.  Taste the sauce, and if you prefer it a little sweeter, add the white sugar.  Remove a few (3 or 4) spoonfuls of the sauce to a bowl, and allow to cool slightly.

Mix meatballs: combine the meat, spices, 1 ½ cups soft bread crumbs, eggs, and reserved cooled sauce.  Gently fold together.  If the mixture is too wet to roll into meatballs, add remaining crumbs. Do not overwork the mixture or your meatballs will be tough. Form meatballs and drop into simmering sauce. Cook about 2 hours over low heat, stirring occasionally to avoid burning or sticking.  Serve over rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes. B’tayavon!

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