Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Japanese Miso Meatballs with Sweet Rice

Japanese meatballs often are prepared by grilling on skewers—that’s why the meat mixture is formed into ovals instead of thick, round balls. The cooked meatballs are then basted with a simple sweet, spicy, and salty sauce and served with grilled vegetables or rice.

Miso is a common ingredient in Japanese cuisine, and I used it here as both a flavor enhancer and binder for the meatballs. Instead of grilling, I baked the meatballs and served them over a bed of sweet, slightly sticky rice and dressed it all with a salty, sour, and sweet sauce with a little bit of spice. 

For another spicy meatball recipe using ground turkey instead of beef, check out Thai Sesame Meatballs with Ground Turkey and Spicy Sweet-and-Sour Sauce.

Serves 4


For the Meatballs and Sauce
  • 1 lb ground sirloin
  • 1/3 cup panko, or other fine, dry breadcrumbs
  • 3 Thai chiles, finely chopped
  • 2 small scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp white or yellow miso
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp sambal oelek (fresh ground chile paste)
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • chopped chives, for garnish
For the Rice
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
  • 1 cup short-grain white rice (such as arborio)
  • 2 tbsp honey, divided
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dried red chile flakes
  • sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
Arborio Rice

For the Meatballs and Sauce
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a shallow baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the first 8 ingredients (through brown sugar) in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Mix gently with your fingers and form into 12 ovals (about 1/2 inch thick).
  3. Place the meatballs on the pan and bake until browned and cooked through, about 20 minutes, turning once halfway through.
Meatball Ingredients Ready to Mix 
Meatballs Ready to Bake 
Meatballs after Turning
  1. Combine the lime juice and next 6 ingredients (through sesame oil) in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat then reduce the heat to low and cook 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. (Reheat gently over low heat if not using right away.)
Sauce for the Meatballs and Rice
To serve, divide the rice (recipe follows) among 4 plates and place 3 meatballs on top of each. Spoon the sauce over all and garnish with chives.

For the Rice
  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Add the scallions and stir-fry 1 minute.
  2. Add the rice, 1 tablespoon of honey, brown sugar, and chile flakes and season with salt. Stir-fry 1 minute.
Rice Beginning to Cook
  1. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until tender, 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of honey.
Broth Added 
Cooked Rice

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