Thursday, January 31, 2013

Niku dango (Japanese meatballs)

We make niku dango every couple of weeks. It's a beFOODled favourite and a family recipe. The meatballs are made from minced pork and made even more delicious by cooking in a sweet and sticky soy sauce. They are perfect over rice. Sometimes I add a layer of spinach or arugula in between the rice and meatballs to sneak in some veggies. Lately I've been making extra rice so that we can have fried rice the next day.

Niku Dango (Japanese meatballs)

500 g ground pork
one onion, minced
one inch piece of ginger, minced
4 shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
1 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (optional)
1 tsp dijon mustard (optional)
salt and pepper
olive oil for frying

5 Tbsp each of sugar, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar.
a little cornstarch for thickening

In a bowl, combine the meatball ingredients: pork, onion, ginger, mushrooms, sugar (and breadcrumbs and mustard, if using) and salt and pepper. Gently combine the ingredients using a fork. Form into two-inch meatballs.

In a large wide-bottomed frying pan or Dutch oven, heat some olive oil on medium heat. Add all of the meatballs, turning several times to brown the outsides on two or three sides.

Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a pitcher and stir. Add enough water to make the sauce up to two cups.

When the meatballs have browned on three sides, pour all of the sauce into the pan. Stir to coat all the meatballs. Bring to a boil, then cover the pan and lower the heat to simmer for five-10 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

Serve five meatballs with a little sauce on top of rice with chopped green onions for garnish. You'll have lots of leftovers for lunch the next day.


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