Want to use ground chicken instead of beef for health reasons? Here is a great recipe adapted from a recipe called “Cilantro Chicken Bites,” found on Epicurious.com and originally published in Gourmet magazine in May 2005. These Asian-inspired meatballs can be an easy entree served with jasmine rice. The ingredients are all available in the Aurora area. You can find ground chicken at most grocery stores — just ask the butcher if you don’t see it in the meat case. Cilantro is plentiful and inexpensive when purchased at ethnic stores. It can also be served with a dipping (or drizzling) sauce made from hoison, honey, rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. The bites would also be great on toothpicks as an appetizers or served in bibb lettuce wraps.
Asian-Inspired Cilantro & Ginger Chicken Bites
- 1/2 T soy sauce
- 1/2 T rice vinegar (not seasoned)
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 scallions (green onions), finely chopped
- 3 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger (use less if fresh)
- 1/2 cup of plain breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs
- 3/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoon hoisin
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce (add more for taste and preferred consistency)
Stir together chicken, egg, cilantro, scallions, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic powder, breadcrumbs and salt with a fork until just blended. Add more breadcrumbs if mixture is too wet.
Spread cornstarch in a shallow pan or bowl. Form chicken mixture into 1-inch balls, transferring them to baking pan as you make them. Gently roll balls in cornstarch until coated. The chicken balls will be soft. (They can also be made a little bigger and cooked longer as an entree portion.)
Heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium high heat until hot, then cook half of balls, turning occasionally, until firm and golden on the outside (they will flatten slightly), which takes about 2 to 3 minutes (3+ minutes if yours are larger in size). Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Cook remaining balls in same manner, adding the rest of the oil if needed. Serve immediately.