You see quite a bit of food out there that is touted as fusion cuisine but I often get the sense that it is really just tweaking of traditional recipes to suit Western taste buds. And there is nothing wrong with that food. It is some of my absolute most favourite food and I cook quite a bit of it myself.
I was expecting these lemon cilantro chicken meatballs from Kevin is Cooking to be like that especially as they are based on a steamed lemon chicken recipe. But the recipe has much more a fusion taste to it. The meatballs themselves are packed with Thai/Chinese flavours – or at least what I think of as the flavours of those countries. What makes this a fusion dish is the sauce. Sure it has lots of traditionally Asian ingredients but at least when I made it, it had quite a European gravy vibe. In a good lemony way mind you. I did add more lemon juice than included in the initial recipe which may have taken the edge of some of the more Asian flavours. Plus the first time I made this I had lemon juice in the meatballs as well as I misread the recipe –well didn’t focus on it closely enough any way. I think I actually preferred it with the lemon juice in the meatballs.
This is a lovely recipe and I thoroughly enjoyed munching on my meatballs and I served them with rice though crunchy white bread would have been just as good.
The two elements of this recipe that I particularly loved were that flavour packed gravy and the fantastic crunchy texture that the water chestnuts gave to the meatballs. I am not very good with textures with cooking and when watching shows like Masterchef I convince myself that it is just silly chef talk but it really can make a difference to how good a meal is. When I made this Nasi Goreng from Taryn of the Wooden Spoons, the dried shallots had a similar effect. I really need to work on thinking more about texture and not just taste when I cook.
To make this for one I used the following ingredients:
- 130g minced (ground) chicken
- 1 tsp of chia seeds
- 1 tsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- ¼ tsp ginger, minced
- 1/8 tsp Chinese Five Spice
- 1/8 tsp ground white pepper
- Just under 1/4 cup of Panko breadcrumbs
- 25 g of canned water chestnuts, drained and chopped
- 1/2 tbs coriander (cilantro), chopped
- zest of half a lemon (and a 1 tsp or so of lemon juice if so inclined)
- Olive oil spray for cooking
- 1 to 1 and 1/2 tbs of lemon juice (less 1 tsp if included in the meatballs)
- 2 tbs of chicken stock
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tbs oyster sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- pinch of white pepper
- 1 tbs of coriander (cilantro)
The only change I made to the ingredients aside from the lemon juice error in the meatballs (if you can call it an error) is my usual switch out replacing eggs with chia seeds. I also wasn’t quite sure what ginger to use in the meatballs. The ingredients list ground ginger but then the instructions have fresh ginger so I went with the fresh option – well minced in a jar.
There is a bit of preparation required to make this recipe with a bit of chopping, zesting and juicing to do. But not as much as the recipe suggests. Cooking time was about 15 minutes including making the meatballs. The meatballs took about 5 minutes to brown and I did them all in one batch – one of the advantages of cooking for one and the sauce was ready in about the same time. After I poured the sauce on top, I let them simmer for about another 5 minutes. You need to use a small saucepan when making the sauce for just one as there is not oodles of it and if you use to big a pan it will all evaporate very quickly. I didn’t let everything rest for 5 minutes which saved me some time.
This recipe is pretty good calorie wise – about 390 calories.