Japanese-style meat balls 日本風ミートボール

japanese cake

This was not a real dish but I made this from extra gyouza stuffing. As usual, when I trim pork tenderloins, the trimming needs to be used some other way. One of the most common is to make it  into hand chopped ground pork to use in various dishes. This time, I made gyouza stuffing but after making more than 2 dozen gyouza I still had stuffing left. My wife suggested to make it into meat balls.

Gyouza stuffing: This time I added chopped cabbage, blanched and chopped stalks of broccolini, finely chopped onion, grated garlic, and ginger (amounts are arbitrary as I make it). I seasoned it with salt, black pepper, soy sauce, and dark sesame oil.

Using a small ice cream scoop, I made about 6 small meat balls. I placed them on a small cookie sheet and placed it in the toaster oven  (convection mode at 350F) for 20 minutes.

I was afraid the meat balls might unravel since I didn’t use any binder but they kept their shape well. Since we had a lot of gyouza to eat, I just put the meat balls in the refrigerator for later use.

The following weekday evening, I decide to serve the meat balls. My wife suggested I serve them Italian style with marinara sauce. Since they had already been seasoned in Japanese style, I decided adding an Italian element would be an ethnic taste confusion I’d rather not contemplate.  I decided to go with a teriyaki-style sauce.

I first put the meat balls in a frying pan on low flame and added a small amount of sake and put on the lid so that the meat ball would steam a bit. When the sake almost evaporated, I added mirin and soy sauce (about 1:1 ratio, 2 tbs) and started shaking the pan until the the liquid almost evaporated and the sauce coated the meat balls (see below).

I served three each with sansho or Szechuan pepper powder 粉山椒.  For impromptu meat balls, this was not bad at all–I’m glad I went with the teriyaki sauce. 

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