The meatball is a food that transcends cultures. Char siu pork meatballs, are one of the most popular pork dishes in Chinese/Cantonese cuisine and one of the most ordered dishes in restaurants.
They are full of all the flavors we love in Chinese food takeout. Salty, sweet, smoky, charred edges with juicy tender pork inside. Todays recipe was inspired by Chinese char siu with the use of 5-spice powder giving them that unmistakable flavor. This is a blend of star anise, fennel seeds, Sichuan peppercorns, cloves, and Chinese cinnamon.
Char siu, loses something in its basic English name, barbecued pork. This sweetly marinated and basted meat has become a symbol of comfort food in Cantonese cuisine and means so much more than just barbecued or roasted meat.
The traditional dish is made from seasoned boneless pork. The pork is covered in a sweet, savory glaze and placed on wooden skewers or forks over low heat. It’s cooked until tender but not falling apart. The use of the skewers changes how the meat cooks. It should heat slowly and evenly from all sides. The char siu marinade is very distinctive in its flavor. Many cuts of pork can be used in char siu such as neck meat, pork belly and pork butt. Just about any lean boneless cut will work but I like pork tenderloin the best.
Meatballs are one of those creations that can be used in many different applications. The flavor profile can be varied with different spices or sauces. When they are paired with rice or noodles, they make a good main course. Alternatively, they are perfect as an appetizer or even just a snack. You can also make them in bulk and freeze them for use later. What’s not to love about something so versatile?
Chinese Char Siu Pork Meatballs
In a large bowl, combine pork, cornstarch, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce, five-spice powder & pepper. Mix well. Divide mixture into 20 pieces & roll into balls.
in a skillet, heat oil. Fry meatballs in batches. Cook without moving for about 2 minutes or until the bottoms are cooked through. Use a spatula to carefully rotate the meatballs to cook on the other sides. Remove from skillet to paper towel.
In a small bowl or measuring cup combine all your sauce ingredients except the water and cornstarch. Pour your sauce mix in the skillet heat over medium low heat.
Meanwhile, combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and pour in the skillet while stirring continuously. When the sauce begins to thicken add the meatballs back to the skillet and allow it to cook over low for 3-4 minutes, until they are coated.
I’m sure you use or are probably aware of the technique of cooking in parchment paper. The French call it ‘en papillote, the Italians ‘al cartoccio but we Canadians just call it cooking in parchment. This simple, yet elegant culinary tradition infuses the meats, vegetables and herbs together to create unbelievable flavor. Not only does this enclosed packet keep delicate foods like fish moist and intact but cuts down on your clean-up time. It is a super easy way to cook for one and not have lots of leftovers.
Since fall is upon us and we are back to more of those oven meals, HONEY TERIYAKI SALMON is the perfect, no-fuss Sunday meal.
Honey Teriyaki Salmon
Honey Teriyaki Sauce
In a small saucepan, whisk together soy sauce, 3 Tbsp water, honey, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger & sesame oil. Bring to a boil over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch with remaining 2 Tbsp water until well combined. Pour into sauce mixture; boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat & allow to cool slightly about 5-10 minutes.
Salmon & Veggies
Toss broccoli & carrots in olive oil; season with salt & pepper. Cut 4 sheets of 14-inch lengths of parchment paper. Divide broccoli & carrot mixture among sheets layering in center in an even layer. Set aside 1/4 cup of the sauce mixture then brush bottom sides of salmon fillets with a scant tablespoon of the sauce then rotate the salmon over veggies.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Brush tops of salmon with another scant tablespoon of the sauce mixture. Pull sides of parchment inward & seal then roll edges up, leaving a little room for heat to circulate, not wrapping to tightly. Place packets on a baking sheet. Bake until salmon is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Serve with white or brown rice if desired & remaining sauce. Sprinkle with green onions.