A fresh, delicious take on the classic meatball – and they can go straight from the freezer to your oven.Asian Meatballs with Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce Not only are these meatballs delicious, but I think they can be served in a variety of settings.  Casual weekday dinner?  Whip up a quick stir-fried rice to accompany them.  Want to dress it up a little?  Serve them with some sautéed baby bok choy.  Just got off a 14 hour flight that was the final leg of 24 hours of travel?  These will go straight from the freezer to the oven while you get the rice cooker going and grab a shower.

This recipe is a definite favorite among my immediate family.  I mean, I like spaghetti and meatballs as much as the next guy, but sometimes you want something a little different.  The Asian flavor from the sesame oil and soy sauce provide that, and I really like the inclusion of the water chestnuts for the crunch they provide.  I had never heard of water chestnuts, and when I first tasted them out of the can, I was rather underwhelmed.  Quite frankly, they are almost flavorless.  But that’s not what they are there for.  They provide a bit of crispness that I really enjoy, and that you wouldn’t necessarily expect in a meatball.Asian Meatballs with Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce

On a technical note, while I think these are best with the pork/veal mixture, I’ve found that veal is sometimes hard to find.  If you can’t find it at your local store, Whole Foods usually has it, or you can substitute ground beef, turkey, or another ground protein.  I wouldn’t go too lean though, or you’ll lose the flavor and juiciness.

And if you find yourself stumbling in from that aforementioned long flight, these can go straight from the freezer to the oven.  Freeze the meatballs raw in a sealed container.  When you’re ready to bake them, you don’t even have to defrost.  Just throw them in a baking dish and put them in a preheated oven.  You’ll need to cook them longer, and I hesitate to give an exact time as every oven is different.  I would start with an extra 5 minutes, and keep going until an instant read thermometer gives at least 160 degrees F. Asian Meatballs with Sesame Lime Dipping SauceThese are also good with a little squeeze of sriracha on top.  Totally optional, but the heat is a great match for the salty soy sauce and tangy lime.

Even if you’re fortunate enough never to take a 24 hour flight, these are still a good hot meal to cap off any long day, especially in beautiful January.  Skiing?  Chopping wood?  Watching football?  No judgment.  Eat and be happy.

– Ross

Adapted slightly from Gourmet, via Epicurious.

Asian Meatballs with Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce

Asian Meatballs with Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A fresh, delicious take on the classic meatball.
Serves: 4-5 servings
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • ¾ pound ground pork
  • ¾ pound ground veal
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup canned sliced water chestnuts, rinsed, drained, and finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro plus ¼ cup sprigs
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 4 teaspoons Asian sesame oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 500. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Or for easy clean up, line the baking dish with heavy duty aluminum foil, then spray with cooking spray.
  2. Mix bread crumbs and milk until milk is absorbed.
  3. Add both meats, egg, water chestnuts, salt, chopped cilantro, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Mix well with a wooden spoon, or preferably your hands, until well combined. (Latex gloves come in handy here.)
  4. Using about three tablespoons of meat mixture at a time, form about 16 meatballs and place in the 9x13 inch baking dish.
  5. Bake about 15 minutes, or until the meatballs register at least 160 degrees with a meat thermometer.
  6. While the meatballs cook, make the dipping sauce. Combine lime juice, water, sugar, 4 tablespoons soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons sesame oil in a small bowl. Stir until sugar is dissolved and sauce is well combined.
  7. Serve meatballs with rice, sauce, and cilantro sprigs.
Notes
These meatballs can be frozen in advance and baked directly from the freezer. Just add some extra time, starting with an extra 5 minutes, and cook until 160 degrees.

Adapted slightly from Gourmet, via Epicurious.

 

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