Friday, June 18, 2010

Far Out. I mean Far Eastern

By now you know I love meatballs. I can't think of a better culinary vehicle for flavor than the simple meatball. The ground meat seems to adore just about everything it comes in contact with and meatballs are great as a meal, appetizer and snack.

You also know I love everything Asian. So the experiment last week was to create meatballs with a Far Eastern flare. I don't think I've ever had a meatball in an Asian restaurant that I could base a recipe on, but I liked the concept and ran with it. And they were great. And in true Linda fashion, having a nice dipping sauce made them all the more delicious. Plus, all the ingredients I used are available in your local supermarket so there's no excuse not to try these little lovelies.

Asian Inspired Chicken Meatballs

1 tsp vegetable oil
3 T scallions thinly sliced
1-1/2 tsp garlic minced
1 tsp fresh ginger grated
1 large egg slightly beaten
1 T hoisin sauce
1 T cilantro chopped
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp Sambal Oelek- Asian ground fresh chili paste
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground chicken
1 T water (if necessary)

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat lightly with cooking spray. Set aside. In small skillet over medium to low heat, add vegetable oil, then the scallions, ginger and garlic and cook to soften, a minute or two at the most. Just don't burn the garlic. Let cool and place in a large mixing bowl. To mixing bowl add the rest of the ingredients (except chicken and water) and combine. Now add the chicken and lightly (with fingertips) mix ingredients until incorporated. If the mixture seems a little stiff add the water.

Now you're ready to make the meatballs. You can make 12 large meatballs or 24 small, cocktail size. If you're making 12, place them on your prepared baking sheet and give them a light spritz of cooking spray. Bake them for 20-25 minutes, turning them over at the halfway point. If you're making the smaller ones, spritz them too and bake 17-20 minutes, again turning them over at the halfway point. I served mine with a dip of course- store bought Sweet Red Chili Sauce.

And on night two, I heated a can of low sodium chicken broth, added a small can of straw mushrooms, chopped fresh scallions and cilantro, 1 teaspoon of low sodium soy sauce, a few meatballs and an ounce of linguini. It was souper. Pun intended.

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