Martha Stewart’s Asian Meatballs

Happy New Year everyone! May your 2015 be filled with love, luck and good food.

I’ve hardly made any resolutions this year, although cooking good food is always among them. Working in the house is still on the list, which explains my absence here for the past half year… Sorry about that, though I’m not making any promises I can’t keep until the house is done :-)

And don’t worry about the title of this post – I’m still a vegetarian, no changes on that front (in fact, I started replacing a lot of my dairy with soy products in 2014 and I plan on keeping it that way). I just made these meatballs for our New Year’s Eve party and they are always such a hit that I figured I had to share them. If you consider me a hypocrite now, you’re just giving me a good occasion to put my resolution not to care too much about others’ judgments into practice… On a more serious note: to all vegetarians out there (and to all those meat-eaters who feel the need to judge vegetarians): there is no Bible laying out the rules for being a ‘good’ vegetarian. So if you feel like having meat every once in a while, whether you like or don’t like eggs, dairy, or you can’t go without blue cheese, don’t let anyone tell you what’s right and what’s not. I had one of these yummy meatballs on the very edge of 2014 and I expect I won’t be eating any more meat until at least halfway 2015 (oh barbecue season, still can’t resist those merguez). Any diminishing of meat and animal products on your plate is a contribution toward a better environment… Anyway, time for the recipe!

This recipe is from Martha Stewart’s hors d’oeuvres bible (if you can lay your hands on it, don’t hesitate to buy!). I’ve adjusted it a bit more in keeping with Belgian meatball tradition and added eggs and bread-crumbs.

For a big platter of meatballs that will satsify at least 10 people (as a hors d’oeuvre):

about 750-800 grams of mixed ground meat (pork – veal – beef, all fine)
a bunch of fresh coriander, leaves finely chopped
one egg
one medium size or two small shallots, finely chopped
3 cm of ginger, finely chopped or grated
2 teaspoons of regular soy sauce
bread-crumbs (paneermeel)
salt and pepper
for the sauce:

two cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 cm of ginger, finely chopped or grated
1 heaping teaspoon of corn starch (maïzena, the yellow package)
200 ml of chicken stock (I just add one cube of chicken stock to water and mix it in the sauce afterwards – laziness prevails)
2 teaspoons of regular soy sauce
2 teaspoons of dark brown sugar
a hint of chili paste (harissa, for example, but anything spicy will do)

How to:

Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs in a big bowl with a fork. Add salt and pepper to taste, and bread-crumbs until the meat is not too greasy and can be rolled into balls easily. I usually add at least 2-3 tablespoons, but this can really depend on your ground meat mix. Roll into 2-3 cm bite-size meatballs.

Put a large heavy pan on a medium fire. Add a little bit of oil for the first batch (afther that, there’s enough grease). Bake the meatballs until they’re completely baked in the middle – 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the meatballs. Shake the pan every few minutes to let them brown evenly. Meanwhile, mix the corn starch with two teaspoons of water in a glass.

Once the meatballs are done, leave the pan on the fire and add the chopped garlic and ginger. Let them bake for about a minute, don’t let them become too black though. Add the chicken stock (this is where you’ll be making sure the stock cube gets dissolved) and stir loose the baked bits on the pan. Stir in the soy sauce, brown sugar and chili. Let the sauce heat up and when it’s boiling, add the corn starch and let it thicken for a minute. Then spread the sauce over the meatballs. Serve with toothpicks and enjoy!


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