Adapted from smitten kitchen
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup soy sauce, preferably Japanese or reduced sodium
- 1/2 cup mirin (sweet rice wine), or 1/2 cup sake with 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup peeled, chopped ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 4 whole black peppercorns
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 4 large or 6 small scallions, finely chopped
- Half bunch cilantro, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil, toasted if you can find it
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil
- Make sauce: Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar melts completely. Reduce heat to a medium-low and add soy sauce, mirin, ginger, coriander and peppercorns. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 30 minutes, though this took me a bit longer to reduce it until it was syrupy enough that I thought it would coat, and not just dribble off the meatballs. You can keep it on a back burner, stirring it frequently, while browning the meatballs in the next step. Once it has reduced to your satisfaction, strain through a sieve.
- Make meatballs: Mix turkey, scallions, cilantro, egg, sesame oil, soy sauce and several grindings of black pepper in a bowl. I like mixing meatballs with a fork; it seems to work the ingredients into each other well. Roll tablespoon-sized knobs of the mixture into balls. The mixture is pretty soft; I find it easiest to roll — eh, more like toss the meatballs from palm to palm until they’re roundish — meatballs with damp hands.
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, generously cover bottom of pan with vegetable oil. Working in batches to avoid crowding, place meatballs in pan and cook, turning, until browned all over and cooked inside, about 8 minutes per batch. Arrange on a platter (a heated one will keep them warm longer), spoon a little sauce over each meatball, and serve with toothpicks. Alternatively, you can serve the glaze on the side, to dip the meatballs.
We halved the sugar, so it never became sticky, per Jesse’s preference. H-Mart did not have ground turkey, so we went with the traditional ground pork. It was serendipitously delicious. I accidentally doubled the ginger in the sauce — we’d plenty left over. Because the pork had fat, it really didn’t need much vegetable oil at all to cook (chef’s recommendation: a very light coating of the pan), but the ground turkey definitely would have needed more. Delicious in a halved baguette, with other antipasti to grace the table!