Asian Chicken Meatballs with Sweet-Sour Sauce

Asian Chicken Meatballs with Sweet-Sour Sauce

Water chestnuts add a nice little crunch to these mouth-watering meatballs, and the sauce has that wonderful Asian quality of being sweet, tangy, and savory all at the same time.

Ingredients Directions

For the meatballs

1/2 cup (about 4 ounces) water chestnuts, drained and rinsed with cold water
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/2 teaspoon chopped jalapeño pepper
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove
1/2 pound ground chicken
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup fine fresh bread crumbs (1-2 slices white bread, ground in food processor)
peanut oil, for cooking

For the sweet-sour sauce

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 cup water
5 tablespoons lime juice
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sherry
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest
2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 2 teaspoons cold water

Prepare the meatballs

In a food processor, pulse the water chestnuts, shallots, jalapeño pepper, ginger, and garlic until finely ground. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the chicken and all the remaining ingredients. Mix gently just until combined (the mixture will be fairly wet).

Form into 1-inch balls, placing them on a plate or baking sheet (they can be close together, but not touching). Chill the meatballs in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to firm up.

Lightly coat a large skillet with peanut oil and heat over medium heat until the oil is hot. Put as many meatballs in the skillet as will fit without touching and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the bottoms of the meatballs are browned and they release easily from the pan’s surface. Then, with a spatula or by gently shaking the pan, stir the meatballs, let them cook another minute, stir again, and repeat until they are browned all over and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes total.



Prepare the sauce

Heat the sesame oil in a small saucepan. Add the garlic, coriander, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and cook until the garlic is lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the water, lime juice, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sherry, sugar and lime zest. Stir. Return the pan to the heat and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes.

Add the cornstarch and water mixture and cook, stirring constantly, for another 2 to 3 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened.

Serve the meatballs warm with the sauce alongside (the sauce is just as good at room temperature as warm). Provide toothpicks.

Makes about 40 meatballs and 1 cup of sauce.

Make-Ahead Factor

The meatballs can be frozen, uncooked, up to 1 week ahead. Thaw completely in the refrigerator and cook as directed. They can also be cooked the morning of the party and kept covered and refrigerated. Warm them in a 350°F oven before serving. The sauce can be made up to 1 week ahead and kept covered and refrigerated. It can be warmed in the microwave.

From Cocktail Parties, Straight Up! Easy Hors D'oeuvres, Delicious Drinks and Inspired Ideas for Entertaining with Style by Lauren and Anne Purcell.