Saturday, August 3, 2013

Asian Meatballs

When people think “meatball”, they often think Italian.  However, meatballs can be transformed many different ways.  This recipe was one of my pins on Pinterest.  I modified it but overall, it was great as is.  I almost always use turkey whenever ground meat is required: tacos, spaghetti, etc.  Turkey works well for this recipe because there are so many amazing Asian flavors that you don’t need the extra flavor you would get from the fat in beef. 

These meatballs use the typical egg and breadcrumbs for binding agents.  But the Asian-style is brought out with the use of ginger, toasted sesame oil, and green onions.  The original recipe calls for regular sesame oil but the toasted sesame oil, I feel, give the meatballs a stronger nutty flavor which I love.  Each of the meatballs is then dunked in an Asian sauce, which is pungent and salty due to the hoisin and soy.  I muted the saltiness with a bit of honey.  To balance the sauce, I served the saucy meatballs over coconut rice.  Coconut rice has a milky texture and is slightly sweet so it is really the perfect accompaniment.  You can also serve the meatballs individually as an appetizer.

Asian Meatballs

1 lb ground turkey
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
½ c breadcrumbs
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 egg
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp crushed red pepper
¼ c thinly sliced green onions, plus more for garnish
sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

2/3 c hoisin sauce
¼ c rice vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 400F.  In a large bowl combine ground turkey, sesame oil, breadcrumbs, ground ginger, egg, garlic, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.  Use your hands to combine ingredients.  Refrigerate until ready to cook.

Kitchen tool: Dig in!  Use your hands.  It’s the best kitchen tool you’ll ever have :)

Shape into balls and place on a greased 13x9 baking dish or a baking sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a digital read thermometer reads at least 165F.

Tip: Spray your hands with cooking spray before shaping the meatballs.  It prevents the meat from sticking.

While meatballs are baking, combine all sauce ingredients and whisk together. 

Remove meatballs from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.  Using a toothpick, dip each meatball into the sauce and place on a serving dish.  Top with green onions and sesame seeds.

Makes ~15 meatballs (approximately 1 - 1 1/2" diameter)

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