Several months ago, Kristen at Dine and Dish posted a recipe for Asian meatballs. I read it and immediately knew I wanted to make them. I finally did today, and they were delicious. I made some changes in the recipe, using ground turkey instead of veal and pork. I have nothing against pork, the ground turkey was on sale and I often use it instead of pork. I also added some minced ginger root that wasn't in the original recipe, because I'm hopelessly addicted to it. Soy sauce, sesame seed oil, and ginger root are my favorite flavors. Just the smell of them makes my taste buds stand up and salute. I can't remember exactly when I first had ginger root, but I can't imagine life without it. It's like garlic and peppercorns, a vital ingredient. So, even though this recipe contains cilantro, which I also love, I'm choosing ginger root as the starring herb for Weekend Herb Blogging. WHB was created by the marvelous Kalyn at Kalyn's Kitchen, but it's being hosted this week by the incredible Katie at Thyme For Cooking. When I grow up, I want to live just like Katie. Stop by her blog and check out the WHB Roundup on Monday.
This was a very enjoyable meal and I will make it again. The meatballs were very easy to assemble. I used a 1/4 cup to measure the amount for each meatball. Then they baked in a very hot oven for just 15 minutes, emerging juicy and full of flavor. The tangy lime, sesame seed, and soy dipping sauce elevated the flavor--and added a fun factor. I love dipping sauces.
Asian Meatballs With Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce
Adapted from Gourmet (May 2007)
Servings: Makes 4 (main course) servings.
1/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs (I used Panko)
1-1/2 pounds ground turkey, with dark meat (Don't use breast meat, it will be too dry)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup canned sliced water chestnuts, rinsed, drained, and finely chopped ( did it in my food processor)
1 Tablespoon finely minced ginger root
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus
1/4 cup sprigs
5 tablespoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons sugar
Accompaniment: steamed white rice
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 500°F.
Pour milk over bread crumbs in a large bowl and stir until liquid is absorbed. Add ground meat, egg, water chestnuts, salt, chopped cilantro, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons oil and mix with your hands until combined well. Shape 3 tablespoons meat mixture into a ball and transfer to a 13- by 9-inch glass baking dish. Make more meatballs with remaining mixture, arranging meatballs about 1/2 inch apart in baking dish. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir together lime juice, water, sugar, remaining 4 tablespoons soy sauce, and remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a bowl until sugar is dissolved.
Transfer meatballs to a serving dish. Stir sauce, then drizzle meatballs with 1 tablespoon sauce and sprinkle with cilantro sprigs.
Serve meatballs with remaining sauce.
Makes 4 (main course) servings.
Note: I always make a tiny meatball and boil or microwave it, to check if the seasonings are right. I wound up adding a little more salt to the meat mixture before I formed the rest of the meatballs.