Saturday, January 5, 2013

Asian Meatballs with Rice Noodle Stir Fry

With the holidays just about behind us, I wanted to make something different; lighter, Asian flavors and easy to pull together for a weeknight dinner.  I had made Asian chicken meatballs previously for an appetizer and thought I could easily turn it into a main dish.

Why chicken meat balls, you ask?  We've been trying to cut down somewhat on our beef and pork consumption.  We haven't gone to 'meatless Monday's' yet but that may be in our future.  If you prefer you can certainly use a beef and pork combination.  But don't just make Italian flavored meatballs.  Use the ingredients listed here to spice things up a bit.

Prepare the Noodles and Stir Fry
Purchase one pound of dried rice Thai-style straight cut noodles and La Choy or comparable brand of stir fry vegetables in a 26 ounce can.  Now I know I've never recommended a canned vegetable on this blog and never purchase them for anything else.  But for this recipe, they really do work best and make preparation simple.  Amazingly they remain a bit crisp.

To prepare the noodles, simply soak them in room temperature water until the noodles are pliable yet firm. When you bite off a piece, it should be chewy yet feel not ready to eat. (The soaking time varies depending on the width of the noodles. For 3-millimeter-wide noodles, 20-30 minutes of soaking in room temperature water should suffice; for anything wider than that, increase the soaking time according to the package directions.) You know the noodles are ready when they're soft enough for you to twirl them around your fingers without breaking them.  Drain the noodles well and set them aside.  While they soaking (use a timer) prepare the meatballs.

2 pounds ground chicken
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 cups breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 eggs
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small, finely chopped jalapeno pepper
Sesame seeds and sliced green onions for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Place the above ingredients in your food processor and pulse until well combined.  Alternatively mix the ingredients in a large bowl.  While I prefer Italian style meatballs mixed by hand, for these Asian meatballs I do prefer the more consistently and fully blended results you can only get from a food processor.

Form the chicken mixture into small round balls by scooping out equal portions and rolling between your palms.  They should be packed more tightly than an Italian meatball and smaller in size, more like a cocktail meatball.

Place the formed meatballs in a large lightly greased baking dish.  Bake for 20 minutes or until balls are browned on the outside and no longer pink on the inside.

2/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon ground ginger
8 ounce can crushed pineapple

While your meatballs are baking put the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and stir together until well blended.  Reserve 1/3 cup.  When the meatballs have finished cooking, pour the sauce over the hot meatballs return to the oven for 10 minutes longer, stirring occasionally to fully coat.

While the meatballs bake in the sauce. heat a large skillet or wok.  Add a few drops of oil and the reserved 1/3 cup of sauce.  Add the noodles and stir fry for three minutes.  Add the canned stir fry vegetables (drained of any liquid) and continue cooking for three minutes longer until they are heated through.

Plate the stir fry noodles and top with the Asian chicken meatballs and spoon over some additional sauce.  Garnish with additional sliced green onions and sesame seeds if desired.

Of course, you can just do the chicken meatballs as a cocktail appetizer.  Double the recipes and put in a crock pot and keep warm for serving.

1 comment:

  1. We are on the same page... I'm doing soba with vegetables today (and salmon). I feel the need to lighten up after the holidays. These meatballs look delicious and I love all the great things that are in them... in that way I love the Swedish meatballs with lingonberry... something great about a little sugar with them (and my mom would have loved them for bridge club). I just got a pineapple too!!!!