I find myself at a crossroads with comfort food these days. My definition of comfort food used to almost always include something Italian. And still, there’s nothing quite like a steaming plate of spaghetti with a hearty Bolognese sauce to warm your soul on a cold day. But many times recently I find myself craving Eastern types of comfort food. A big bowl of ramen noodles or sweet and sour chicken over sticky rice – now that’s pure comfort. Come Friday nights when it’s too cold to even think about going out, we reach for that Chinese take out menu all too often. If you’re like me, you’re just too tired/lazy to cook on Friday nights. But! In the time it takes to wait for your Chinese takeout to arrive, you can make these Ginger Soy Chicken Meatballs w/ Plum Sauce and have yourself a homemade version of Eastern comfort.
Guys, I am totally in love with this recipe. There. I said it. And it’s healthy! The meatballs have zero filler – zero! And you’ll never miss it. Maybe it’s the crunchy water chestnuts or the punchy chili garlic sauce or the fresh herbs, but the meatballs are just too easy to fall in love with, and there’s no junk in them whatsoever. Just put them on a baking sheet, hit them with a drizzle of oil and let them bake in the oven. No need to even dirty a pan. If you’re trying to eat clean, try the meatballs without the plum sauce over a bowl of cauliflower rice. Pure, clean heaven.
But if you’re going for it (and you totally should), the plum sauce is really not to be missed. Make it on the stove while the meatballs are baking in the oven. The base of the sauce is – you guessed it – Asian plum sauce. It’s really the only semi exotic ingredient in these Ginger Soy Chicken Meatballs w/ Plum Sauce. You can find plum sauce in a jar in the Asian section of most supermarkets. If you have trouble finding plum sauce, you can substitute duck sauce or even plum jelly. If all fails and you can’t find any of these things, try cherry jam. YUM.
In less than 20 minutes, you’ll have a syrupy mixture that resembles the sweet and sour sauce you’d get in a Chinese restaurant, only way better. Be generous when you pour it over the meatballs and sticky rice. It’s really heavenly.
For recipes like these Ginger Soy Chicken Meatballs w/ Plum Sauce where the rice is really important, I always grab my rice cooker and fill it with sushi rice. My rice cooker was probably under 30 bucks – I don’t remember because it was a bridal shower gift that I received for my first marriage. So it’s like, ancient. It was one of those things we registered for, not even sure how or if we’d ever use it. And guess what? That trusty old thing never fails. I use my rice cooker at least once a week. A worthy investment, if you don’t have one. If you’re not a proud owner of a rice cooker, you can make sushi rice on your stovetop. Sushi rice is easy to find in the Asian section of your supermarket, and it makes the absolute perfect fluffy bed for these meatballs.
I hope you’ll be cozying up with these Ginger Soy Chicken Meatballs w/ Plum Sauce this Friday night. I know I will be. Enjoy!
- 1 lb. ground chicken
- 1/3 cup chopped scallions (green onions)
- 3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tsp. chili garlic sauce
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup chopped water chestnuts
- 1 tsp. each white & black sesame seeds
- 4 cups cooked white rice
The Plum Sauce
- 1 cup plum sauce or jelly
- 4 Tbsp. lime juice
- 4 Tbsp. water
- 2 Tbsp. ketchup
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. To make the meatballs, combine all ingredients except for the sesame seeds and rice and mix together well. Form the mixture into 12-14 meatballs. Place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 25-30 minutes.
While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce: Combine all ingredients except the cilantro in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes to thicken. Be sure to whisk the mixture occasionally.
Place the rice into bowls. Top with meatballs and plum sauce. Garnish with sesame seeds and additional cilantro.