TasteFood: Everything tastes better on a stick | TheUnion.com

TasteFood: Everything tastes better on a stick

Lynda Balslev
Skewering puts the fun in food, taking ordinary recipes and sticking it to them (pun intended), along with an assortment of dipping sauces.
Photo by Lynda Balslev for TasteFood

Here’s the thing: It’s fun to eat with your fingers.

Skewering puts the fun in food, taking ordinary recipes and sticking it to them (pun intended), along with an assortment of dipping sauces — because dipping a stick in a sauce is half the fun of eating food on a skewer. It’s a lively presentation inviting interaction, and it’s also a great way to encourage your kids to eat their food, or to feed a crowd with do-ahead cocktail party bites.

These Asian-spiced morsels take the humble, comforting meatball (a consistent crowd-pleaser in its own right) and ramps it up with a sweet and spicy blend of ground turkey, ginger, cilantro and garlic. They are fragrant and addictively good, perfect for entertaining or family food. Paired with a sweet-and-sour chili sauce for dipping or drizzling, they are guaranteed to be gobbled up.

Asian Turkey Meatballs With Chili Sauce

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Active Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes, plus chilling time

Yield: Makes about 20 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs


2 pounds lean ground turkey

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

3 scallions, white parts finely chopped, green parts thinly sliced and reserved for garnish

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 red jalapeno chili pepper, seeded, finely chopped

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Chili Sauce:

1 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon Sambal Oelek (red chili paste)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves

1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves

2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger

Vegetable oil for pan frying

Combine all of the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl and mix without overmixing. Form into 1 1/2-inch balls (wet your hands from time to time to prevent sticking). Arrange on a plate, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours.

Prepare the chili sauce: Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Cool to room temperature.

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs in one layer without overcrowding and flatten slightly. Cook until brown on both sides and thoroughly cooked through the center, 6 to 8 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat with the remaining meatballs.

Spear the meatballs with small skewers. Garnish with the green scallions. Serve with the Chili Sauce for dipping or drizzling.

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