Good things come in small packages. Like these delicious little savoury morsels. Moist chicken, a slight hint of chilli, the freshness of the coriander and the tang of the lime juice. Fabulous with drinks ( as we had on the weekend) but also great for picnics and school lunch boxes, and a staple at any gathering we have.
I first discovered these in a cookbook given to me by my Nonna in 2003 called “Small Food” (I checked and you can still buy this on sites like Amazon) and they have since been a favourite. I’ll tell you why. You can make ahead and refrigerate or freeze, you can make larger to be burgers, they are ideal in a lunch box to mix it up from the obligatory salami sandwich (yes, mild sopressa only please for Mr L) and I used to add to Asian Chopped Salad for lunch in the long distant past when I had a paying job. PLUS, they taste sensational and are super easy.
So to the meatballs.
Start by chopping the coriander and shallots (slight aside while I point out a handy trick learned from my Mum. Do you ever buy shallots aka spring onions, use half and then find the rest wilted in your fridge? Take what you don’t use or even just the ends with the roots still attached and pop in your herb garden. Ta Da! Endless supply!)
Now grab your chicken mince and place in a bowl , along with the sweet chilli sauce, juice of a lime, ground coriander, fresh coriander and shallots, soy sauce and bread crumbs. If I have time, I whizz up fresh breadcrumbs, but if I am making several other things as well (as I was this weekend) I use Panko breadcrumbs. Of course, as we had A Gluten-free Goddess in our midst I should have used glutenfree crumbs, but I had none on hand.
The mixture will look like this. Not so appetising yet but trust me – it will happen.
Pop your pan on medium high and add some vegetable oil to heat. I use Rice Bran oil. While it is heating, start to form the mixture into balls. The mixture will be very moist – don’t be tempted to add more breadcrumbs or your balls will be chewy and dry. Wet your hands with water (having a bowl beside the mixture bowl works best for me) and form into tablespoon sized balls and lower into pan, browning all over. Remove from pan and repeat with rest of the mixture. Please don’t crowd the pan or have the temperature too high – you will get much better results and a more even golden finish if you take some time. *
Place on baking paper lined trays and into a preheated moderate oven. Cook for 10 minutes ( a bit longer if you got carried away and made very big meatballs) Serve as they are or with soy, lime juice or a dipping sauce.
*If you are wanting to refrigerate or freeze, place on tray lined with paper towels to cool . At this point please remember that the meatballs are NOT cooked all the way through so NO TASTING. Once totally cooled, place in airtight container separating with baking paper.
If frozen, defrost in refrigerator and reheat in moderate oven for 10-15 minutes. Too easy!
And there you have it. Now you can have a try. Don’t be afraid to substitute lemon for limes or to amp up the chilli (hold in mind I have children eating these!)
- 1 kg chicken mice
- 1 Cup breadcrumbs, fresh, panko or gluten free
- 4 shallots, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 cup fresh coriander, chopped finely
- 3 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce
- juice of 1 lime, about 1-2 tablespoons
- vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 180°C
- Place all ingredients except oil into a large bowl, and using your hands, mix until well combined.
- Use wet hands to shape tablespoons of mixture into balls
- Heat oil over medium high heat. When pan is very hot, cook balls in batches until golden brown.
- Place on trays lined with baking paper and bake in oven for 10 minutes.
- Serve with lime wedges, soy sauce or dipping sauce
- Note: These balls freeze and reheat beautifully. After Step 4, place on paper towels and allow to cool completely before placing in an airtight container. (Please be aware that the meatballs may not be cooked all the way through at this stage so please do not taste!) To serve, defrost in fridge and reheat in moderate oven for 15 minutes