Thursday, June 09, 2011

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Carrot Rice

You might be wondering where the Wednesday Treat Day post is - we had to skip it this week as Jeff had another surgery on Tuesday. Not nearly as major as his neck surgery last December, but he had a rotator cuff tear that needed to be repaired, along with a large bone spur (which caused the tear!) that needed to be cleaned away. He is doing well and the surgery went as expected, but he is in a fair amount of pain... and we haven't started the physical therapy yet (tomorrow!).

While Jeff was napping and I was in between training sessions with Dora, I did manage to sit down and write about this Asian Turkey Meatballs with Carrot Rice recipe we made for dinner recently.

You'll need a pound and a half of ground turkey for the meatballs - I suggest using a combination of breast and dark meats as we've found that to be a good balance. Meaning, the result will have lightness to it, yet still packs a punch in flavor and moisture. Could you simply just use either one? Sure - you could also use ground pork if you groove on that more than turkey, it just depends on what you like!

To push in as much oomph into the meatballs as possible, the meat was gently combined (go easy - think meatloaf... try not to handle the mixture too much!) with the whites of a few scallions, fresh cilantro, pungent fish sauce, a few squirts of rooster sauce (Sriracha, that is), a bit of sugar to balance, and a clove or two or minced garlic. Scooped out and rolled into balls, the meaty spheres are cooked in a heated skillet to give them a crusty, golden exterior, then placed into the oven to finish baking through.

You can use white rice as the bed of this dish, but we opted to go the brown rice route and augmented the directions using our favorite no-fuss method. If you'd like to do that, use the same amount of rice to roughly 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups of broth (or water if you are so inclined) and cook the rice using the same manner as usually do. When the rice is tender, remove the cooking vessel from the heat, scatter the shredded carrots on top and let the mixture sit, covered, for an additional 5 minutes before fluffing and serving.

With the tender meatballs tossed on top of the colorful, orange-flecked rice, be sure to serve this dish with a wedge taken from a juicy lime to squeeze on top of each plate. It most likely would have been ok without it, but the extra acidity lifted and complimented the more complex flavors with a fresh brightness that I would have missed if it was left off. If you'd like to take out some of the prep time to make it a snap to prepare on a busy work night, you could knock out the raw meatballs the day or night before. Keep them covered in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook them - be aware that they may take an extra couple of minutes to bake through.


  1. Best wishes to Jeff for a smooth recovery!

    These look delish and fairly easy to throw together. I'm thinking maybe some frozen veggies to speed prep? Toss them in to bake with the rice?

    And, strange question - do you grind your own meat to get a mix of light and dark?


  2. Ooh yum. I might have to give these a go with chicken mince as turkey mince is a little hard to find here. The Asian flavours sound great.

  3. I have been looking for more recipes using turkey. This one looks interesting and will have to try it.

    Sorry to hear about Jeff and another surgery. A couple of years ago I had the same surgery and am doing fine now. My sister-in-law (O.R. scrub nurse), best friend (R.N. too), boss (M.D.), and a few friends tried to talk me out of it but after a year of hurting I gave in to surgery. The surgery was successful. The critical and important part is the therapy. Yes, it hurts but the physical therapy makes all the difference. All my "advisors" were concerned because shoulder freeze can be a big issue. With the help of a great therapist and doing my exercises there is minimal limitation and best of all no pain. Tell Jeff I am rooting for him and to keep at his therapy.

  4. I hope Jeff is well on his way to recovery! I'm sorry to hear he's been going through so much...

    These meatballs and rice look amazing. Thanks for the recipes, inspiration and ideas.


  5. Oh...I forgot...the most important part of the therapy........


    lots and lots of ice. Ice will be Jeff's best friend. Ice whatever hurts in the shoulder several times each day. It really helps.

  6. I tore this recipe out of my Everyday Food but have yet to try it. I'll have to give it a go.

    I hope Jeff is feeling better soon. My husband had knee surgery earlier this year. The first few weeks after the surgery were hard but once he started physical therapy he started feeling a lot better. I just baked him a lot of treats to keep his spirits up in the meantime. :)

  7. I made this tonight. It was delicious! I added some red bell pepper to the rice, but other than that, I followed to the letter. Great recipe! Thank you!

  8. A quick recovery to Jeff. I have great empathy for shoulder surgery of any kind. My PT took place under water, so it was much more tolerable.

    Joe, your recipe looks great. I will try that.


  9. More good wishes for Jeff and his PT. I also like the looks of this. Thanks for thaking the time to post.We appreicate it.

  10. I had this tonight and it was great! Thanks for the post!

  11. Hey there,
    Just found your blog through La cuisine d'Helene. Boy do your recipes look delicious! I am glad to be your newest follower.

  12. Hope Jeff is doing ok...I really enjoy reading your blog and use it as a go-to when I am searching for something different than what I usually make...I have come up with lots of my own favorites that way! Thank you and please keep on bloggin!!

  13. These look so delicious and a nice addition to the rotation.

    Will be interested to hear about Jeff's progress. I have the same problem and will be having surgery soon and am quite apprehensive. I've survived a knee replacement but somehow the shoulder seems more daunting. The pain is a big motivator, though.
    Healing thoughts to Jeff!

  14. Kristin - Well, the rice isn't baked - but I like the idea of extra veggies! As far as the chicken - we grind our own.

    Claire - Enjoy!

    Anon - Thanks for the info! Jeff has been doing his exercises and so far everything looks good.

    Donna - Thanks!

    Anon - Ice! Yes, I have him icing several times a day.

    Michelle - Don't let this one pass you by. It is one fine recipe!

    Jacey - Alright! Thanks for giving the recipe a try

    Rita - Thank you! His won't be underwater, but that does sound more pleasant.

    Linda - thank you!

    FL&R - Great! Thanks for the feedback.

    Brittany - I hope you are able to take some time and look through the years of posts we have.

    PamC - Thanks!

    CCKitty - If you're comfortable with your surgeon, don't put it off! It will definitely be worth it in the end.

  15. Oh no! Hope he's recovering well. Per Kristin's comment, I never thought to grind my own meat, but since I have a meat grinder, I'm now thinking, why not!

  16. Kelly - His should is progressing very well! The PT people are surprised with how well he is doing.

  17. I make an Asian turkey burger that sounds similar. I'll have to try them as meatballs next. Thanks for the idea!

  18. Lane - Have you posted it anywhere?

  19. Made this last night. Very successful! Fiddled with the recipe a touch:
    *added a chunk of smashed/peeled ginger to the rice while it cooked.
    *didn't have green onion, so added some of the chopped cilantro to the cooked rice.
    *added 1 TB of soy sauce to the meatball mix.
    *deglazed the meatball pan with chix broth, stirred in some hoisin sauce and another splash of soy, plus lime juice, for a sauce for the finished meatballs.


  20. ScottE - Excellent changes! I noted them down on my copy to try next time.