Monday, January 9, 2012

Meatballs Sans Binder

Wow, it's now been a year since I started this blog. I've definitely learned a lot in the intervening time, and my interest in cookery continues unabated. These past several weeks, I was back in my beautiful hometown of Seattle, catching up with friends and family over delicious Taiwanese, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, and even Mongolian food. That's definitely something I miss while I'm here in DC: the abundance and quality of Asian restaurants and supermarkets that you can find in and around Seattle (and other West Coast cities). But I'm back and ready to jump into the last semester of my grad program.

So what's pictured above? Well, I actually made a brief mention of my interest in developing a good (Chinese? Taiwanese?) pork meatball recipe in my post about Japanese style hamburger steak. I finally got back to doing some further experimenting. In my previous attempt, I'd included binding ingredients (panko and egg in that case) because I'd just always seen it included in recipes for meatloaf/ball related dishes that I'd tried. This time I was curious to see what the denseness of the meat is like without a binder (or be reminded, I suppose, since I was aware already of how the ground pork in dumplings can be dense if you don't include egg or some other binder).

I just made a simple soup with chicken broth, dashi, green onions, and seaweed to cook the meatballs in. The meatballs were made with green onions, ginger, garlic, salt, and white pepper. Flavorwise, I liked them, though I could have used a little more salt. But texturally, indeed, they were a little dense. I'll include the egg and no panko next time and see how that goes. In any case, another nice use for the remainder of ground pork I'm left with when I make mapo doufu (they only sell 1 lb. packages at my local grocery store).

[UPDATE: changed my mind; you can get decent results with just a little water and no binding agent.]


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