As I was making these I swore (a lot) that I’d never make them again. I love baking, and I like cooking, but rolling and frying meatballs – this I do not enjoy. I guess the part that bugs me the most is: no matter how nicely I roll them into perfect little balls, they turn into triangles and other fancy shapes in the frying pan. That’s why I’ve renamed the recipe meat”balls.” I was going to call them meat”shapes” but I thought that might scare people away from this recipe.
But. . . when the results came in, and they were a big hit, I realized that like it or not, I will be making these again. I guess that means I just want to please the people I love.
These got rave reviews at a family party that I brought these to this weekend. I wasn’t sure how they’d go over, as there were a lot of kids (aka picky eaters). I didn’t think they’d like the cilantro in the meat”balls”, but they loved it; maybe it’s the slightly sweet sauce that made it go down so nicely. I really liked how tender the meatballs were.
I got this recipe from the Smitten Kitchen blog, and she adapted it from Canal House Cooking. The only changes I made were to halve the sauce recipe (it was plenty), and grate the ginger instead of chopping.
You can make the sauce ahead of time, and even the meatballs. Because I had to travel a way to my party, I cooked them ahead of time, then just reheated them at the party.
What you need for the Meatballs:
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 4 large or 6 small scallions, finely chopped
- half a bunch of cilantro, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil, preferably toasted
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- freshly ground black pepper
- vegetable oil
What you need for the sauce:
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice wine), or 1/4 cup sake with 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon peeled, grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 whole black peppercorns
What you do:
- To make the sauce, combine the brown sugar and water in a saucepan and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and let it boil, stirring, until it reduces by half. You want a thick liquid that coats the meatballs. Oops, I was supposed to strain it through a sieve – do this, or just remove the peppercorns like I did… oh, maybe I left them in. Sorry whoever got the peppercorns.
- Combine the meat”ball” ingredients in a large bowl and use a fork to mix it all together. Form them into balls, about 1 tablespoon in each. Use wet hands to do this.
- Heat a little vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add some meatballs to the pan, not overcrowding the pan; you want some room to move them around. Fry them until they are nice and browned on the outside (key to flavour!) and cooked through.
- Place on a (preferably) heated plate and top with sauce. Serve with toothpicks.