Korean Pork Kimchi Meatballs in a Sweet Green Onion and Sesame Sauce Recipe

There will no doubt be many bowls of chili scooped up, pizzas delivered, and cheesy dips glistening atop tortilla chips this weekend as classic fare for Super Bowl shindigs will be out in full force. Meatballs, of course, are always a favorite, and here, you can serve up the ever-popular meatball but with some unexpected Asian flair.

This recipe by meat expert Bruce Aidells, which appeared in Real Food, incorporates a bit of a kick from kimchi and tops the meatballs with a sweet/savory sauce. Aidells likes to serve these meatballs over a bowl of Thai jasmine rice with a side of steamed bok choy for a simple but tasty dinner. (Allow 1–2 cups rice per serving.) If you are in a pinch for time, the meatballs can be made the day ahead and reheated. If you want to serve this dish as an hors d’oeuvre, finely chop the green onions so the sauce easily coats the meatballs and requires only a toothpick.

More Meatballs: One of my recent posts featured beef bacon-barbecue meatballs if those may be of interest—or make both for variety!

Go team! Or, just go buffet table!

Korean Pork Kimchi Meatballs in a Sweet Green Onion and Sesame Sauce

Makes 6 Servings

Korean Pork Kimchi Meatballs
114 lb. 80% lean ground pork
14 c. kimchi, drained and finely chopped (reserve liquid)
12 c. fresh breadcrumbs
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. paprika
1 egg, lightly beaten
12 tsp. salt
14 c. finely chopped green onion
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. peanut oil

Sweet Green Onion and Sesame Sauce
3 tbsp. chopped ginger
3 tbsp. minced garlic
2 bunches green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
14 c. soy sauce
1 c. apple cider
1 c. low-sodium chicken stock
14 c. mirin
1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

1. For the meatballs: Combine pork and kimchi in a large mixing bowl. Pour reserved kimchi liquid over breadcrumbs and stir to absorb liquid. Add to mixture along with remaining ingredients. Knead and squeeze mixture until well combined. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Form mixture into 114-inch meatballs.

2. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. Add meatballs and fry in batches 5 minutes. Turn and fry other side 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

3. For the sauce: Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat in pan. Reduce heat to medium; add ginger and garlic, and fry, stirring, 1 minute. Add onions and cook 30 seconds. Stir in vinegar, soy sauce, cider, stock, mirin, and sugar.

4. Add meatballs. Bring to a boil and cook 3 minutes. Add sesame oil. Mix cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water and add. Cook 15 seconds, until sauce just thickens. Remove from heat and stir in sesame seeds. Serve 4 meatballs per person over jasmine rice. Or, to serve as an hors d’oeuvre, keep warm in a chafing dish and provide toothpicks or small plates.

Cook’s Note: To toast sesame seeds, heat a small fry pan over medium heat. Add seeds, shaking and stirring continually 5 minutes, until lightly brown and fragrant. Remove at once so they don’t burn.

Nutrition info (per serving): Calories 344 (185 from fat); Fat 21g (Sat. 6g); Chol 84mg; Sodium 1041mg; Carb 19g; Fiber 2g; Protein 21g

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.