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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lemongrass Ginger Meatballs

My handy Burma book has inspired me again!  My plan tonight was melon.  Whatever happens, there will be melon involved.  I also had ground beef I needed to either use or freeze.  Since Lahmacuns have been lingering, I seriously was orienting my cooking vibes toward that during the day.. only to rediscover upon my home arrival that I needed yeast for the dough.. and my yeast is not fast acting, so the event would take 4-5 hours...too long for a weeknight.  I will have to do that on the weekend or do a prep the night before.  My post 30 cooking will be involving a pizza stone, so maybe I'll wait until then.
Back to my balls..
Determined to use some ground beef after a week of pescatarianism, I finally looked at the beef&pork part of the book and happily stumbled upon page 192: Lemongrass ginger sliders.
I had to look twice because I always thought sliders were served on potato skins, but that might be a misinterpretation of a long lost american in her new yet acceptably homey expatted country.
I'm keeping them as good ol round meatballs.  Less like burgers, more like balls.  I like shaping things into balls with my little hands... falafel, manchurian, methi gatte, bagel bombs...hmm interesting.
Makes 17-19 balls (depending on the size of your hands)
1 lb (500g) ground beef
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 Tbsp minced lemongrass (I used dried)
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp minced ginger
1/2 cup minced shallots (about 1 large)
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/4 cup cooked rice (I used quinoa)
1/4 tsp strong chili powder (mine is strong, adjust accordingly)
1 large tomato, minced
1/4 cup peanut oil (I used 2 Tbsp sesame)
1.  Take off your rings and thoroughly wash your hands.  Mix the meat and turmeric, then refridgerate while you do the rest.
2.  In a mortar, smash the lemongrass, garlic, ginger, and shallots together until they make a paste.
3.  Keep mashing in your mortar (ok ok food processor if you are not gangsta enough to own or want to use a mortar) and add the salt, chili powder, and tomato.
4.  In a mixing bowl, add the goodness from the mortar to the meat and incorporate well, using your hands.  We have been blessed with 5 digit tools on each side of our bodies, why wouldn't we use them?
5.  Once everything is evenly incorporated, add the rice (or quinoa) and do the same.  Then form meatballs approx 1 1/2inches in diameter or however you are comfortable forming meatballs using the palm of you hand.
6.  In a heavy based pan, heat the oil.  Arrange the meatballs so they are not over crowded in the pan.  Cook on high 3 minutes so they color, then turn.  The idea is that they get a bit golden.  This can be a quick process.  What I did was color them, then transfer them to a 120°C oven while I set the table and cut my melon.

Serve with a side or alone with some dipping sauces.
I served with some salad, sriracha, and melon.  Tomorrow for lunch, this will be happening with some Cabbage Shallot Refresher... and another fruit.

This was a keeper.  This is the first time I make meatballs using beef and I have to admit the flavor is rather explosive.. in a good way.  In a very very good way!  I can imagine these on a skewer or in a sandwich or just by hand any time of day.  They don't even need to be hot.. just room temperature is lovely and I feel the flavor entirely released as the sum of the parts become a whole.
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