Mini Sticky, Sweet and Spicy Sesame Chicken Meatballs
These are very hot little firecrackers from the orient. They can be used to add spice to almost any oriental dish. They dry very easily and can be stored and used this way for a long time.
2 1 pound packages of ground chicken or turkey
6-8 scallions, diced very finely. Reserve some for serving.
1 small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated. (optional) I use a microplane for this.
1-2 small Thai chili peppers, minced very finely. You can also use a jalapeno pepper or a bit of ground red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
3 1/2 tablespoons of sesame seeds, divided. Reserve about 1 1/2 tablespoons for rolling the meatballs and sprinkling over them upon serving. (see notes)
10 diced apricots or 1/3 cup diced dried dates, your choice. Make sure you dice them very fine.A generous drizzle of honey plus more for drizzling at the end of cooking.
Sea salt or kosher salt to taste.
Fresh herb of your choice: flat leaf parsley, mint, Thai basil, regular basil or cilantro would all be great. Use a good handful, about 1/4 cup, chopped.
Neutral oil for pan frying the meatballs. I used peanut oil.
Lemon or lime wedges for serving.
Sprinkling of scallions for serving.
Add everything to a bowl, including a good drizzle of honey and the herb of your choice and mix to combine all the ingredients. Wet your hands with cold water and form the mixture into small balls the size of large marbles or walnuts.
Heat a large nonstick pan on medium high heat with some oil. Drop the meatballs in the pan and saute until they’re golden brown on all sides and cooked through. Do not overcrowd the pan. Fry in batches if you have to. Be careful not to burn them as the honey will help to caramelize the outside of the meatballs, helping them brown and crisp. You can cover the pan occasionally to cook them. But, keep a close eye on them and remove the cover when almost done. Try not to overcook or they’ll become dry. Once they are done, drizzle some more honey on them and roll them around to coat them with honey.
Put the reserved sesame seeds on a plate and drop the cooked meatballs in the sesame seeds, rolling them to coat the outside with seeds. Serve with lemon or lime wedges, a cooling Persian cucumber salad and a side of rice.