Haze-induced pasta sauce

I woke up today to a really murky view – and no, it wasn’t a case of dirty windows. Thanks to a magical combination of corporate greed and governmental corruption and political paralysis, the yearly Indonesian haze has overwhelmed most of South-East Asia again. The haze crept up on us 2 weeks ago but despite remonstrations by neighboring countries, the haze has not gotten better but worse. And despite staying indoors and turning in the aircon and air purifier, my eyes are still smarting and my nose has completely seized up. So all I have done today is to potter around the house and look upset like Grumpy Cat.

Since we are all pretty much confined indoors now with a PSI well into the very unhealthy range, I was in the mood for comfort food. So here’s the very strange meat sauce I came up with, using balsamic vinegar for acidity and Japanese sake for sweetness. The cream was pretty much for the comfort element. The sauce was surprisingly good, and it had to be to override the taste of the low carb pasta that I had shipped in (which tasted like a combination of cardboard and old socks…sorry Ciao Carb, it’s ciao to buying any more of your products).

Actually it was not that bad – but you truly would need a very robust sauce to cover up the slightly grainy texture the pasta has. At least I get to eat low carb pasta once in a while (somehow I never got into zucchini zoodles).

Balsalmic Vinegar and Sake Meat Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 500g ground lean beef
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp aged Balsalmic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Japanese sake 
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 


  1. In a large pot over high heat, fry the onions in olive oil for about 2 minutes, then add the diced carrots and celery and continue to fry for another 2-3 minutes until the onions are fragrant and translucent.
  2. Add the ground beef and fry, browning the beef evenly.
  3. Add the Balsalmic vinegar and continue to fry for about 1-2 minutes to let the liquids evaporate.
  4. Add the sake and continue frying another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes in sauce, salt and pepper and simmer over medium heat for about 20-30 minutes.
  6. Serve hot over pasta like fusilli which traps meat sauce well.

My odd meat sauce over fusilli (not the Ciao Carb one but the San Remo one that was made for kid#2)


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