Chicken meatball sushi bowls
This recipe was inspired by Bonny (who is my lifestyle photographer for this book) and she has fond memories of her Nanna Geraldine making this dish for her. We would take turns making lunch when we worked together, and this was my favourite thing she would make. If you want to make a faster meal, it's just as good on rice with steamed greens, but I like the addition of all the raw vegetables.
Time: 35-40 minutes preparation | 15 minutes cooking
Serves: 4-5 (makes 30 meatballs)
For the rice
2 cups sushi rice*
1 x 36g (1oz) packet powdered sushi mix (optional)
For the meatball sauce
2x 400g (14oz) canned mango
¼ cup of soy sauce
1 large clove garlic, crushed
3cm piece ginger, finely grated
½ cup of water
For the meatballs
800g (1.8 lbs) free-range chicken mince
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 free-range egg
1 tablespoon sambal shrimp paste*
1 handful chopped coriander
1½ cups dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons oil to cook
Any fresh raw vegetables or sprouts of your choice
Roasted and crushed peanuts
Black sesame seeds
1 x nori sheet cut into strips
Pickled ginger (optional)
Cook the rice, as per packet instructions. I use a rice cooker. When cooked, if using the powdered sushi mix, stir it in and mix well. Keep the rice warm.
Next make the sauce for the meatballs, as you will use some of this sauce in the meatball mixture. Drain the mango. Don’t use any of the syrup in this recipe, or it will be too sweet. Add the mango to a large saucepan with the soy sauce and warm over a medium/high heat. Once the mangoes are warmed, reduce the temperature to medium and mash the mangoes with a potato masher. Add the garlic, ginger, and water, and cook until it has thickened (about 5 minutes), stirring regularly. Set aside to cool.
For the meatballs, first, line a tray with baking paper and set aside. Combine the chicken mince, garlic, egg, shrimp paste (if using), coriander, dry breadcrumbs, 3 tablespoons of the mango sauce, and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. With damp hands, roll into 30 walnut-sized meatballs, placing them on the lined tray as you go. Once rolled, put the meatballs in the fridge while you cut your vegetables.
Cut the vegetables up as you like. I use a spiraliser to curly cut the carrot, then a mandolin to cut the cucumber and radish. Once all your vegetables are prepared, cook the meatballs.
To cook the meatballs, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. You don’t want the heat too high, or the meatballs will cook on the outside before the centre cooks through. Cook in batches, turning often as each side browns until cooked. The meatballs are done when they are firm, but you can always cut one open to check. Add all the cooked meatballs to the mango sauce and warm until the sauce is hot, adding a little extra water if the sauce is too thick.
To plate, start by adding some of the rice to the bottom of the bowls, followed by the vegetables and sprouts, etc. Top with some meatballs in mango sauce. Squeeze over some mayo, and top with roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, and nori strips. Serve with pickled ginger if using.
* For a healthier option, use brown rice