MUNCH RATING: 3/5
I got the inspiration for this recipe by one of my favourite Japanese anime shows, Samurai Champloo, as the 3 main characters are always on the search for food and they seem to eat food on sticks a lot.
So a quick search on Google resulted in Tsukune. I have adapted a recipe I found to add more flavour, but the basic method for making them is the same. They are cooked in two stages but it really isn't that complicated.
I think these would be great on the BBQ as you can prepare and cook them up to step 5 and then finish them over the hot coals.
The original recipe bastes the pork balls with Yakitori sauce but that calls for 1 Tablespoon of Mirin and 5 Tablespoons of Sake, both of which I didn't have as they're quite expensive and I wouldn't be able to use them up during our time in SF. So I substituted the Mirin and Sake with Hoisin Sauce to invent my own sauce!
- Makes: 12 Pork Balls
- Cooking Method: grill/broiler or BBQ
For the Pork Balls:
- 300g/11oz minced/ground pork (or you can use chicken or turkey)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp all purpose flour
- 2 tsp corn flour/starch
- 6tbsp dried breadcrumbs (I used panko)
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)
- 1 clove garlic, grated (optional)
- The juice from 1 inch piece fresh grated ginger root
For "Poor Mandy's Yakitori Sauce"
- 5 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch blended with 5ml/1 teaspoon water
- 2 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
Directions for the Sauce:
- In a small pan, mix all the ingredients for the "yakitori sauce", except for the cornstarch liquid. Bring to a gentle boil then reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes or until the sauce has slightly reduced. Add the cornstarch liquid and stir until the sauce is thick.
Directions for the Pork Balls:
- Soak 4 bamboo skewers in water for a few hours.
- Put all the ingredients the pork balls in a medium bowl and mix until well combined. (You can use a food processor if you have it).
- Wet your hands and scoop about a tablespoonful of the mixture into your palm and shape it into a small ball about the size of a golf ball. Make all 12 balls.
- Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil. Add the pork balls and boil for about 7 minutes or until the colour of the meat changes and the balls float to the surface.
- Remove the balls from the pan and drain well on kitchen paper.
- Toss the pork balls in a little bit of oil - this will help them brown.
- Thread 3 balls on each skewer and cook under a medium grill/broiler or on a barbecue, keeping the skewer hands away from the fire. Turn them every few minutes until they are evenly browned.
- Brush with sauce and return to the heat.
- Repeat the brushing process twice, turning the balls to coat evenly so that the sauce caramelises.
NO BAMBOO STICKS? Don't worry, you can just put your balls on a baking sheet and cook under the grill, turning them often and basting with the sauce.
I served the Pork Balls with stir-fried spaghetti with mixed vegetables. My Dad often uses spaghetti/pasta instead of noodles and I think it makes a nice alternative/substitute:
Blanch some broccoli and drain. Saute 1/2 onion and some sliced mushrooms in a large pan. Add thinly sliced carrots and cook for a couple of minutes then add the broccoli. Add enough cooked spaghetti for 2 people and stir-fry for a few minutes. Add about 4 tablespoons of oyster sauce and make sure everything is nicely coated.