Monday, May 21, 2012

Asian-Style Pork Mini-Meatballs

As much as I enjoy the company of my miniature kitchen laborers, there are days I prefer to work alone. This was one of those days. Company coming for dinner, no real plan in place, and honestly, I just wanted to sip my dinner-making glass of wine in silence. I sent the kids outside to play so I could get 'er done. Fifteen minutes later Bean, who just wasn't feeling the swing set, washed her hands, found her apron, pulled up a stool and stuck her hands in the bowl of raw ground pork on the counter.
It's possible, not having made adequate progress on my dinner-making Viognier yet, that I wasn't my usual delightful self. So, I scolded Bean for her tiny meatballs and shotty rolling technique.

See, she wanted baby meatballs. I tried to explain that they would dry out in the oven, but she was undeterred. So, I rolled my pan my way and she rolled the "kid meatballs" her way. Turns out she was right. Baby meatballs win with 4 and 5-year-olds every time.
Bean's baby meatballs

Asian-Style Pork Mini-Meatballs*
(because baby-meatballs sounds wrong)

1 lb. ground pork (or go crazy and grind your own if you like. We don't have a meat grinder)
1 cup Panko
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
3 tbsp. soy sauce (lower sodium is fine)
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 egg, lightly beaten** or 2 tbsp. Silken tofu

1. Combine pork, Panko, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Bean and I prefer to use our hands. Roll into miniature balls, no larger than 1-inch in diameter if you want them to be true baby-meatballs.

2.  Broil or bake at 400 degrees for about 8-10 minutes, or fry in oil until cooked through.

3. Dip in assorted sauces of your choosing. Bean, Roo, and Looly like honey-soy sauce (50/50 ratio honey to soy). Their parents prefer sesame-soy-ginger, Sriracha, or hot mustard.

*This recipe is great for kids who don't like anything too spicy. They are lightly seasoned and rather garlicky. They can be modified easily to suit a more adult palate with the addition of a few tablespoons of chopped scallions and some 2 Tbsp. chili-garlic sauce (such as Lee Kum Kee).

**We omit the egg due to Roo's allergy and use tofu instead.Take your pick of one or the other.



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