With the days finally getting a bit cooler, it feels it’s time to start cooking warmer dishes. However, it’s still not really cold enough for heavier and heartier dishes, so I’ve decided on meatballs with a relatively light sauce.
The meatballs are loaded with Asian inspired flavors, from lemongrass, ginger, Hoisin and soy sauce – to Korean Gochujang paste. Once baked for a short time, to firm them up, they are cooked in an aromatic, slightly spicy, sweetish-savory coconut milk and peanut butter sauce, which complements them beautifully.
Served with steamed broccolini, the meatballs are perfect for a light lunch or dinner. They can also be served on a bed of rice, or rice noodles. Try them and enjoy.
* Chicken thighs can be used instead of the pork.
* Peppadew are pickled peppers, about the size of a cherry tomato, with a mild sweet and spicy flavor. They are available in specialty stores or online.
* Gochujang paste is a Korean spicy-sweet paste. Note that it varies in texture and spiciness from one brand to another. I’ve used Bibigo’s brand in squeezable bottle, which has smoother texture than most types.
* Curry powder mixes vary substantially from one another. Here I’ve used “S&B oriental curry powder”, which is a Japanese brand.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
For the meatballs:
1.375 lbs (625 grams) pork loin fillet (see notes)
1 Tbs fresh ginger, finely grated
1 Tbs finely chopped basil
1 Tbs finely chopped cilantro
5-6 mild Peppadew peppers (see notes)
2 scallions, roughly chopped
2 Tbs soy sauce
½ tsp Sriracha sauce (or any other hot sauce)
2 tsp Gochujang paste (see notes)
1 Tbs Hoisin sauce
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground four peppers mix
1 tsp lemongrass paste
¼ cup Panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup plain breadcrumbs
For the sauce:
1 can (13 oz/370 ml) coconut milk
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs unsweetened creamy peanut butter
2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
2 tsp finely chopped basil
2 tsp finely chopped cilantro
2 tsp lemongrass paste
2 tsp Gochujang paste
1 Tbs Japanese curry powder (see notes)
- The meatballs: cut the meat into medium size cubes and place in a food processor, fitted with the metal blade. Add the ginger, basil, cilantro, peppers, and scallions, and process until finely minced.
- Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the soy sauce, Sriracha, Gochujang paste, Hoisin sauce, salt, pepper, lemongrass paste and breadcrumbs, and mix well. Cover and keep in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Preheat a toaster oven to 400F (205C). Create 22 medium size balls from the mixture. Place on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.
- The sauce: meanwhile, mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a medium bowl. Using a hand blender, blend until smooth. Pour into a wide pot, and cook over medium-high heat until the sauce is on the verge of boiling, mixing occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Add the meatballs, in one layer. Cook for about 40 minutes, tilting the pot occasionally, until the sauce thickens and the meatballs are cooked through. Serve warm.