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Asian Meatballs over Rice Noodles and Dipping Sauce

I’ve been telling someone, well someones really, for quite a while now that I’d showcase some of the meals that I throw together on a regular basis when I’m spent and don’t want to lift a finger. They assured me that there is value to sharing meals you don’t have to think about. No shopping in advance, no checking the recipe.  Instead of cereal or a lone egg and toast (and don’t get me wrong, sometimes those are my favorite meals) I can fall back on these meatballs. They require about ten minutes of prep time and the rest is oven time in which, I usually take a shower after the gym, read that last chapter of a book, or just lay on the floor and decompress.

There is a lot in life that I think about on the regular. I spend a lot of time thinking (ruminating) about the future. I spend a lot of time thinking about or distracting myself from time in general– the passage of it, the speed of it, the quality of it, the endless expanse of it, its indifference and the impossibility and sometimes unfairness of it. I get people or moments stuck in my head and allow them to dwell in there until they’ve built a comfy palace and I have to dismantle it by forgetting it brick by brick to bring myself back to the present.  But I don’t have to spend a lot of time thinking about meatballs. Maybe they’re in my blood because I was raised on Grandma’s meatballs, but meatballs are the perfect catch-all if you have the right ingredients. You can look at them through different lenses and bring new life to them each time you make them because every culture has its own form of meatball. These particular ones I can make with my eyes closed because I always have these ingredients on hand. You buy them once, they’re there.

Growing up in a family where the main language of love and affection was food and the achievement of a certain heft of body, it became clear to me that the human appetite for food and love in its many forms are one and the same. It’s a philosophical joining, an alchemy. It’s this fusion that motivates me to put the cereal box down and throw my energy into the quick and possibly most flavorful meatball I’ve ever had. The dipping sauce is so easy too. You can’t do this wrong if you understand the flavor palette, even if the result is pan-Asian and not specific to any region in particular. I cooked these meatballs two days in a row after lamenting not sharing their flavor and beauty with you all. While there is a secret pleasure in selfishly enjoying them, I get so much more joy in sharing them with you. Be forewarned, this recipe is slightly inexact because I throw in a handful of this and a handful of that. Feel free to add and subtract as necessary, but the basics will make your taste buds spew with delight and leave you content and happy that you pushed yourself just a little further than cracking an egg to make these.

Asian Meatballs over Rice Noodles and Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 heaping handful cilantro
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese five spice (or a combo of star anise/fennel seed/cloves cinnamon/Szechuan peppercorns)
  • 1/3 cup panko
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 chili pepper, seeded, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

For the Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp cilantro stems and leaves
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • hot pepper flakes
  • handful of chopped shallot
  • handful of scallions

For the Rice Noodles:

  • 1 packet rice noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Asian Meatballs over Rice Noodles and Dipping Sauce

Directions:

For the Meatballs:

Preheat oven to 375F. Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and combine thoroughly using your hands. Roll about a 2 tablespoons of the mixture in your hands into balls and place in an oven safe pan. Repeat until all of the mixture has been formed into balls. Add a little more sriracha sauce for taste and color. Bake in the oven covered for 40 minutes.

For the Sauce:

While the meatballs are in the oven prepare the sauce by combining all of the ingredients and mixing.

For the Rice Noodles:

Boil about 1 1/2 cups of water. When water is boiling drop the desired amount of noodles in the pot. Boil for about 10 minutes. Strain remove. Plate and rest the meatballs on top.

Asian Meatballs over Rice Noodles and Dipping Sauce

Asian Meatballs over Rice Noodles and Dipping Sauce

Asian Meatballs over Rice Noodles and Dipping Sauce

Asian Meatballs over Rice Noodles and Dipping Sauce

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