Season ground meat, form into balls and cook as usual. You can deep fry, pan fry, bake, grill or broil them. Then, heat teriyaki sauce in a shallow pan just until simmering, drop in the cooked meatballs and braise for about ten minutes until the meat soaks up most of the sauce. Easy and delicious.
What meat goes into the meatballs? Any — pork, beef, chicken, turkey or a combination of two or more of these — will be good. Whatever meat you choose, I do not recommend lean meat especially if you are not frying the meatballs. Meatballs made with lean meat has that cardboard mouthfeel. Proponents of the “skinny” culture will deny that, of course, but then what do they really know considering that they equate skinny with healthy? So, never mind lean meat. At least 20 percent fat is a good starting point. The fat in ground meat acts as a natural binder too so there is no need to add eggs or bread crumbs.
But how should the meatballs be seasoned? My preference is to make them echo the flavors of the teriyaki sauce. Not too much soy sauce though because I did not want them to look too dark by serving time. So, for the salty component of the seasoning, I combined light soy sauce with rock salt. I also added a few drops of sesame seed oil to give the meatballs that a smokey aroma and added depth of flavor.
- 250 grams ground meat (I used pork) with at least 20 percent fat
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon rock salt
- 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
- drizzle sesame seed oil
- 1/4 cup light soy sauce
- 1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- toasted sesame seeds to garnish
- sliced scallions to garnish
- Place the ground meat in a mixing bowl. Add the chopped onion, minced garlic, rock salt, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce and 1/3 teaspoon of grated ginger. Mix just until combined. Form into balls (how large or how small is up to you) then cook either by deep frying, pan frying, baking, grilling or broiling.
- When the meatballs are almost done, make the teriyaki sauce. Pour the quarter cup of soy sauce, mirin, honey and half teaspoon of grated ginger is a shallow pan and heat until simmering. Add the meatballs and cook over medium-low heat until the meatballs soak up the sauce and acquire its color. For even coloring, roll the meatballs around in the sauce while simmering.
- To serve: If any sauce is left, spoon over the meatballs. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions before serving.
- Serve the meatballs hot.