Asian-Inspired Meatballs and Spaghetti

by Denise Woodward & Laudalino Ferreira on February 27, 2012

in All Recipes, Appetizers, Chez Us Cooks, Meat

When the weather changes from winter to spring, I tend to want lighter dishes. But it could be cold and grey or warm and sunny, and I’ll always want meatballs. They’re well-suited to a fancy cocktail get-together or a regular weeknight dinner. In fact, I’ve landed in Paris just today and I still want MEATBALLS! This delicious dish from Denise feeds my meatball craving while feeling light, easy and fresh. Make them now and let us know what you think! -Maggie

I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing this dish is. Crazy good flavor, as Lenny put it. Spicy. Salty. Tangy. It is making me hungry again, just thinking about it.

I have a huge love for meatballs. Unfortunately, they tend to be the “forgotten” meal around our house. For instance, I have been working on this recipe for almost a year. I have tried it with ground beef, chicken and even veal; it was good but not great. This time, I used pork and it was out of this world. Something about creamy pork fat mixed with spicy Asian ingredients that gets me every time.

We are all about texture, so I loaded up the meatballs with sesame seeds, green onions and cilantro. The sesame seeds added a great crunch to the meatballs. After lightly browning the meatballs in safflower oil (I use safflower oil as it can withstand a high heat and, as well, it has a clean taste), I let them simmer over very low heat in a zesty sauce made of soy, white wine, ginger and sriracha. As everything simmered together, the bits of pork caramelized with the soy and created an umami rich sauce, perfect served with a bowl of hot soba noodles.

Asian-Inspired Meatballs and Spaghetti
Makes 24 small meatballs

Meatball Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 egg
  • Safflower oil
  • 1 package soba noodles

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons of sriracha (depends on how spicy you like it)

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, over low heat, add the brown sugar, white wine and soy sauce. Stir and cook just until the sugar melts;   about 2 minutes. Add the ginger and sriracha; stir and continue to simmer over very low heat, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add all of the meatball ingredients except the safflower oil and soba noodles. Using your hands, mix well.   Form the mixture into meatballs.   I like them to be on the smaller size, but do whatever makes you happy.
  3. In a shallow frying pan, add about a 1/4 inch of safflower oil; heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Add the meatballs a few at a time. Brown each side. Remove to a paper towel. Repeat the process.
  4. Once all the meatballs are browned, wipe out the frying pan with a paper towel (do not rinse or wash), and put the meatball back into the pan.   Pour the sauce over the top, and let simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes.   Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  5. Right before serving, cook the noodles according to the package direction. Drain. Toss with a teaspoon of safflower oil to prevent noodles from sticking.
  6. Add the meatballs to the noodles. If the sauce is a bit thin, raise the heat and cook down a bit until it is thick. Pour over the noodles, gently toss.   Serve.   Eat.

All photos styled and shot by Denise Woodward.

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Denise Woodward & Laudalino Ferreira

Denise is a foodie who’s first thought each morning is about what she’ll be cooking that day. Laudalino is not a foodie; he’s an eater and aspiring home chef. They met when he was a starving climber and bachelor who longed for his mother’s good Portuguese cooking. She cooked, he ate and nine years later, he still prefers her food to any restaurant fare. Follow their culinary capers in their 20-square-foot urban kitchen at their blog, Chez Us.

Latest posts by Denise Woodward & Laudalino Ferreira (see all)


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  • The Roman Nose

    Delicious! I make a similar Asian meatball but have never thought of pairing it with soba noodles. Brilliant. Good thing I have all ingredients…will prepare your recipe this weekend :)

    • Chez Us – Denise

      Roman Nose – soba noodles add the right amount of texture to this recipe.  Trust me, they are good on their own as well.  I sampled half of the recipe even before we ate!  Let us know how you like it!

      • The Roman Nose

        Hello! We enjoyed your recipe during the last “snow fall”. Loved the soba noodle and sauce ratio. Next time I prepare, I will put 1/4 cup of brown sugar….it was a tad too sweet for us. Hopefully the sauce can reduce nicely. This is a great recipe! Thanks for posting :)

  • http://www.healthykitchenplus.com/grain-mills-grain-grinders Ann

    I have to try this.  I think it will be fantastic!

    • Chez Us – Denise

      Ann, I am happy to hear that you are going to try out this recipe.  We love it!  In fact, we have had twice since making this recipe a couple weeks ago.  Amazing!

  • yadsia @Shopcookmake

    This sounds delicious. Makes me.hungry just looking at it. I’ve been cravkng asian flavors lately.

    • Chez Us – Denise

      Yadsia, I know how you feel!  It is such an easy and delicious recipe.  We hope you will give it a try and let us know what you think.

  • http://butterandcreamblog.blogspot.com/ Rosalind Marquez

    Wow! I usually don’t like meatballs, but these look AMAZING! (and i love how they are made with ingredients I have in my cupboard/fridge! Thanks:)

  • http://twitter.com/JennB276 JennB276

    This looks delicious!  Can’t wait to try it!

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  • Myfudo

    I am excited to try this recipe. Looks really delicious and easy to make!

  • CrunchyBits

    Delicious! Made these for dinner tonight using whole-wheat spaghetti as I had it on-hand and couldn’t find soba noodles – a nice change from the usual and will certainly become part of my repertoire. As an Asian substitute for garlic toast, we’ll try veggie rice-paper rolls next time.

  • Gayoung

    Looks good !! 

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  • http://saltforvanilla.wordpress.com/ Cath

    I’ve made a similar meatball (so typical since I’m Asian :D) but I’ve never tried it with soba. What a nice healthy and so Japanesey idea. I’ll try this soon. 

  • Kellie Butler

    A bit salty I think. Next time I’ll reduce the soy sauce and add some chicken broth

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  • matt

    This was amazing. I substituted the pork for a combo of 1lb chicken and 1lb veal. This was amazing.

  • http://www.towerdeli.com/ catering Fort Lauderdale

    Wow. This sure looks delicious! I love Asian and American foods and combining these in one of my favourite dishes which is spaghetti with meatballs is just awesome! Thank you so much for sharing this. I could not ask for more. This is definitely a must try! By the way, the pictures are also amazing! These are such clear shots!

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      Denise is amazing! Thanks for commenting. xox

  • Annica

    Super tasty! Made it this evening and will definitely make it again. Many thanks.

  • Lillian Russo

    I made this and loved it! I’ll be blogging about it on 4/12/13 and linking it back here!

    • http://www.eatboutique.com Maggie

      So sweet of you to share Lillian, thank you! Look forward to seeing your version. xox

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