These Ginger Pork Meatballs are packed with yummy Chinese or Asian flavors like ginger, sesame oil, and sriracha. They are so easy to put together and the broccoli soaks up all the deliciousness of the honey sriracha sauce.
Meatballs are comforting. And they can be made to fit all sorts of cuisines and regions of the world.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- So easy to make
- Full of Chinese flavors
- Juicy, juicy meatballs
- Making broccoli exciting (trust me, you WANT the broccoli)
- Sweet and sticky sauce with minimal ingredients
To make these ginger pork meatballs, you will need
- Ground pork - you can of course use beef or chicken if you want, but I think pork is best for these kinds of flavors.
- Salt - helps to make the dough smoother plus it enhances flavors.
- Eggs - bind the ingredients together and add richness.
- Fresh ginger - the perfect combination with pork. So spicy and fresh!
- Chili - for heat. Can be omitted if you don't like it spicy.
- Garlic - is also great with pork and ginger, making them more savory.
- Cornstarch - will help retain the flavors by absorbing the meat juices as they cook plus it's important for the bouncy texture of the meatballs.
- Broccoli - the best vegetable for a sweet and sticky sauce - just like this beef and broccoli!
- Canola oil - for cooking the meatballs and to avoid burning the broccoli
- Brown sugar - for the broccoli. You can also use honey or granulated sugar.
- Sesame oil - the nuttiness is so good with spicy and sweet sauces.
- Sriracha - a savory chili sauce for more heat - both in the sauce and on the broccoli.
- Honey - to make a sweet and sticky sauce. You can use granulated or brown sugar too.
- Rice wine vinegar - adding acidity to balance the sauce.
- Ingredients for the meatballs
- Ingredients for the broccoli
- And for the sauce
Start by making the meatballs: Combine ground pork with salt, and mix well using your hands (4). Then add in the rest of the ingredients for the meatballs (apart from the canola oil) (5). Mix well (6-7). Then carefully shape into balls, about 25 meatballs (8-9).
Make the broccoli: Preheat the oven to 425℉ (220℃) and mix all the ingredients for the broccoli together on a sheet pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Then switch to grill mode, and grill to get a bit of char - about 3 minutes (but keep an eye on them at all times!)
While the broccoli is baking, cook the meatballs: Heat a skillet with canola oil over high heat. Cook the meatballs for 2 minutes on each side (3-4 sides) (10). Do not overcrowd the pan, I cook these in 2 batches. Take them out and make the sauce in the same pan.
Time for the sauce: Add all the sauce ingredients and simmer for 3 minutes, until slightly thickened (11). Add the meatballs and broccoli and carefully coat them with the sauce (12-13).
Then finally a serving suggestion: Serve with steamed rice and top with for example sliced spring onions, sesame seeds, and cilantro.
If you store the pork meatballs covered in the fridge, they will be good for 3-4 days. Reheat either in the oven or on the stovetop over medium heat until warmed through.
If you freeze them, they will last 2-3 months. And when you reheat them from frozen, they should be safe to eat as long as they reach an internal temperature of 165℉ (74℃).
What keeps meatballs from falling apart?
For the most part, it is the eggs that keep the meatball from falling apart. Eggs act as a binder, but adding too much and you run the risk of getting too dense meatballs.
The cornstarch also helps with the texture of the meatballs, but you could also use for example flour, ground nuts, or breadcrumbs.
Here are tons of tips to help your meatballs stay in shape.
Why are my pork meatballs dry?
You most likely did not have enough moisture and fat in the meatballs. You need an egg or a binder made with breadcrumbs and milk for the protein contents to not shrink the meatballs as they cook - which will result in tough meatballs.
And when it comes to fat, as ground pork generally has more fat than ground beef, your meatballs should turn out juicier just by that choice.
Egg substitutions in meatballs
There are other options if you don't want to use eggs, for example, bread soaked in milk, chickpea flour, yogurt, cheese, and ground nuts. Unsweetened apple sauce can also work, although I can't vouch for the flavor.
But if you can - go for eggs. They also provide a delicious richness to the ginger pork meatballs.
Should you brown meatballs before baking?
This boils down to your own preference. I would always brown meatballs because it adds a nice crust. The crust isn't only delicious, but it also helps keep the meatballs in shape.
For my Lebanese meatballs, I actually do three things - 1) brown them, 2) bake them, and 3) finish cooking them in the sauce. You may argue that you don't need all these steps, but the meatballs turn out amazing and it's easy so I'll keep on doing it.
For these particular ginger pork meatballs, you don't have to bake them at all. Finish them off in the pan. Easy peasy. They turn out juicy and the sticky sauce truly makes them delectable.
What is the secret to good meatballs?
I guess the secret to good meatballs is a culmination of all of the answers above! Make sure you season the meat well, preferably before adding all the other ingredients.
Use a binder and have enough moisture, preferably eggs as they taste pretty delicious. Brown the meatballs on high heat to create a crust.
One thing I haven't mentioned yet is try to avoid shaping the meatballs tightly. Just lightly shape them into a ball, it doesn't have to be perfect.
If you pack them too tightly they can turn out dense and spongy, no thanks.
You don't have to stop at broccoli. Add whatever vegetables you have on hand.
Broccoli is great because it soaks up all the flavors of the sauce, but you can use other veggies like bell peppers, onion, cauliflower, or sweet potatoes. Or a mix!
For an even better meal, serve this over a bed of Chinese noodles with green onion, cilantro, and sesame oil. I promise, this is fantastic stuff. Or if you're feeling rice is a better fit, this Chinese fried rice has the same flavor profile.
Either way - enjoy!
Did you like this recipe? Here are more Asian dishes I think you’d love:
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