Here is another traditional Japanese-Western dish. Meatballs may not sound Japanese but it’s all about the sauce. Try these for a different angle on meatballs.
- 1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
- 250 g minced beef
- 250 g minced pork
- 20 g grated ginger
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp roasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp cornflour, plus extra for dusting
- vegetable, sunflower or corn oil, for shallow frying
- 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
- salt and ground white pepper
For the sweet ginger sauce
- 30 g grated ginger
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 125 ml dashi stock or 1 tsp instant dashi powder mixed with water
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp mirin
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp cornflour
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Put the chopped spring onions (reserve a handful of the green part for the garnish) in a bowl with the beef and pork mince, grated ginger, egg, sesame oil and pinch of salt and white pepper. Start adding the cornflour, little by little, kneading the mixture well for a few minutes until doughy and elastic.
Scoop portions of the meat mixture with a tso to make bite-sized balls. Make sure all the meatballs are the same size to ensure consistent cooking times. Dust them lightly in cornflour.
Pour enough oil to come up to about 1cm deep in a large frying pan and set over medium heat. Once the oil reaches about 160°C/320°F, drop the meatballs carefully into the pan. Shallow-fry them by turning them in the oil until they are just cooked, 3–4 minutes depending on the size of the meatballs. Alternatively, for a healthier option, bake the meatballs with a drizzle of oil in an oven preheated to 180° C/ 350° F/Gas Mark 4 for 12–15 minutes.
While the meatballs are cooking, squeeze the juice from the grated ginger into a small bowl along with the other ingredients for the sauce and mix well until there are no lumps.
Heat a large frying pan and add the cooked meatballs. Once the pan becomes very hot, pour in the sauce mixture, shake the pan from side to side to coat the meatballs well and let the sauce thicken, about 1 minute. Transfer to large shallow bowls, sprinkle with the finely chopped spring onion greens and finish with the toasted sesame seeds sprinkled on the top.
Recipe from Cook Japan: Stay Slim Live Longer by Reiko Hashimoto (Bloomsbury, hb, $35). Read Reiko's thoughts on the benefits of the Japanese way of eating here.