Tag Archives: Asian Inspired

Asian Chicken Meatballs in Butter Lettuce Wraps

Asian Chicken Meatballs

This dish came out of nowhere. In an attempt to stave off high cholesterol medication I’ve been eating a lot of lean proteins and greens. For a couple weeks I found it fun to revisit the humble chicken breast. It brought me back to my early days of cooking, back when a bag of frozen chicken breasts was always in my freezer and I would dream up new ways to enjoy the staple item. Yesterday however, I was bored. I wanted something bright and light, something fun and new to make and eat. My mind wandered and landed on the classic flavor profile from Asia.

Soy sauce, ginger and green onion.

The game was afoot. The race was on. Off to the store.

Servings 4, Cook time 30 minutes 

Asian Chicken Meatballs in Butter Lettuce Wraps

  • 1 1/2 pounds of ground chicken. (white meat is fine, dark meat is better)
  • 1 bunch of green onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Soy Sauce (Low sodium if you have it)
  • 1 egg
  • Bread crumbs (I used panko)
  • 1 head of butter lettuce
  • sesame seeds (optional)
  • Fresh Ginger, a piece about half the size of a man’s thumb
  • 1 ripe Avocado

Dipping Sauce 

  • Soy Sauce
  • Rice Vinegar (Or White Wine Vinegar)
  • Sriracha (or Chili Oil)
  • Sugar (Or honey)
  • Sesame Oil (or Olive Oil)
  • Sliced green onion

Method

Preheat the oven to 400F / 200C. Finely slice and chop your garlic and onions, rinse off your lettuce and toss the chicken in a large mixing bowl. Add the onions, garlic, cracked egg and soy sauce to the bowl. Grate the ginger down using a zester or the fine side of cheese grater. Use enough soy sauce to create a puddle around the chicken. Don a pair of gloves or using your freshly washed hands, dig in and start to mix by hand. It will be very soupy. Mix just enough so that your ingredients are together and add a layer of breadcrumbs. This is when using the buddy system really helps, have them pour some in the bowl so you can keep your hands on the mix.

Asian Meatball Mix, pre Breadcrumbs

Mix in the bread crumbs a little at a time. You want the mixture to be able to stick to itself and form into balls without using so much that you dry it all out.

Find a baking sheet and start to make balls of the meat. Place the meatballs on the sheet with a little space between them. Pop in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and use a flat spatula to peel them off of the pan without losing the crusty bits. Take some tongs and turn them over, back in the oven for another ten minutes. It was too hot for me to turn on an oven in my house. I used a cast iron skillet outside on my propane grill. The principle remains the same. I’ll keep my instructions to the oven for word counts sake.

Asian Chicken Meatballs Post, Flip

While in the oven, mix the Soy Sauce, Oil and Vinegar in a 3:1:1 ratio in a bowl. Add as much Sriracha as you want and toss in a spoonful of sugar. Taste. If the soy sauce is to powerful add more vinegar. If it’s too vinegary add oil. Once happy add the green onion.

Sacrifice one meatball to check for doneness. You want the center to be a little moist but cooked through. Look for the textural difference between cooked meat and raw.

Serve in butter lettuce leafs with sauce spooned over the top. Garnish with avocado and sesame seeds. I seasoned and spun some leftover brown rice into balls using plastic wrap for a little extra heft.

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Turkey Burgers That Don’t Suck

Turkey Burger That Doesn't Suck

The turkey burger. The humble cousin of the American classic beef burger. The dry, crumbly, healthier version of a legend. To me, turkey burgers and sweet potato fries represent a bridge from the American cuisine I grew up with to the health oriented, gourmet style scene that American food is becoming. There was a time when offering a turkey burger and sweet potato fries was akin to shining a Bat Signal in the sky to people who had any interest in eating healthy. Throw in a few house made soups and an espresso machine and you had yourself a healthy cafe. The turkey burger was a symbol of all that.

Back then when you “ate healthy” you accepted that the food you ate wasn’t going to be that good. Dried out turkey patties, vegetarian options loaded with pasta and cheese… good, healthy restaurant food takes a certain finesse and passion that most places didn’t place a premium on. As their customers changed, many restaurants did with them, and thankfully now we can get some options that make us feel better about our waistline (and the planet) all over the country.

Except we’re at home and we can eat as deliciously healthy as we choose. So skip the sleeve of frozen turkey pucks and make your own.

Serves 4 – Takes 30 minutes

  • One pound of ground dark turkey meat. White meat is acceptable but dark is better. More flavor.
  • One bunch of scallions
  • One knuckle of fresh ginger (powdered if you have to but the fresh stuff is best)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Sea or Kosher Salt
  • Cracked black pepper

Put the meat in a mixing bowl. Three dashes of soy, three dashes of worcestershire sauce. One dash of olive oil. Two pinches of good salt and several grinds of black pepper. Take a piece of ginger half the size of a man’s thumb and grate it with a zester or the fine side of a cheese grater until it’s almost gone.

turkey burger mix

Mix it up with your hands. Use a glove if you want.

Then, take a quarter of the meat and place on a piece of foil or plastic wrap. Use another piece to squish the patty thin and flat. This helps it cook quickly and get more grill flavor per bite. I leave them between the sheets until it’s time to get them on the grill / in the pan. Repeat until you have 4 patties per pound.

turkey burger flatten

Grill is better, almost always. Stove top is fine too. If you’re in a pan heat up some oil before you place the patty in. If on a grill, turn the thing on high and close the lid for awhile. Let it get real hot. Charcoal? Be a grill master. Enjoy the day.

turkey burger money shot

Once your cooking surface is white hot, place your burgers on. Do not squish the burger. Do not flip the burger. Do not touch the burger. If you’re at a party with a lot of guys who want to contribute to the grilling, appoint one of them to be sergeant at arms and tackle anyone who tries to touch the patties. 

Let the patty cook until some moisture starts to pool on the uncooked side. 4-5 minutes. Flip over. Give it another couple minutes,

Want cheese on it? Cheese and Asian flavors don’t have a long and fruitful history but why not. Place room temp cheese on the patty as soon as you flip it. Close the lid to the grill or place a piece of foil over the pan to help melt it fast. Don’t overcook the meat to melt the cheese.

Serve over bread or wrapped in a big leaf of lettuce to your adoring masses

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