Spicy Thai Chicken Balls

Great for pot lucks, parties, and appetizers served with sweet and spicy Thai dipping sauce.

Unlike the majority of Thai chicken ball recipes in the States, authentic Thai chicken balls do not include breadcrumbs. Growing up, I have not seen Thais add breadcrumbs to their chicken balls. If you prefer using breadcrumbs, please do so. It’s a wonderful way to make an East meets West recipe. For this recipe, I use rice flour with fresh herbs and spices. I made these into chicken sliders this past summer for a friend’s burger throw down. At the end of the night, I was pleasantly surprised to see all the sliders disappear.

Why refrigerate the chicken ball mixture? For the salt to have time to tenderize the chicken. Refrigeration will also allow time for herbs and spices to penetrate.

Grill or bake? Since it’s the middle of winter and single digit outside, using the outdoor grill will be challenging. If you are fortunate enough to have an indoor grill, cook each side for about 6-7 minutes. If you are in a similar boat as I am, fear not and throw them in the oven. Bake until fully cooked and finish under broiler on high heat.

Not just a chicken ball mixture. You can turn these into patties for burgers. Chicken kabobs? Why not? They are delicious in a pita with lettuce, shredded carrots and cucumbers. The chicken balls are also heavenly in noodle soups. Another easy meal = lettuce wrap.

I hope I’ve made you hungry enough to try this recipe. Get cooking!

Click here for recipe…

chickenballs-2

Click here for recipe…

Takoyaki (Japanese Octopus Balls)

Takoyaki

The first time I tried takoyaki was from a street food stall in Japan several years ago. I remember while approaching the food vendor, my initial thoughts were, other than its smaller size, these look like ebleskiver (small, round Danish pancakes about 2 inches in diameter). As for appearances, that’s where the similarities end. Instead of tasting a sweet, fluffy, pancake texture, takoyaki is less dense, crispier on the outside, and has a soft chewy center.

Known mainly as octopus balls outside of Japan, takoyaki is a savory, grilled, Japanese dumpling. “Tako” means octopus, and “yaki” is a term translating to food that’s grilled, broiled or fried. This tasty snack started as street food in the early 1930’s in Osaka, located in the Kansai region of Japan. Its popularity has expanded into most restaurants, food courts, grocery markets, and 24-hour stores. The shell of a takoyaki mainly consists of eggs, flour, and dashi broth. The inside traditionally contains a small piece of octopus sprinkled with scallions, beni shoga (red pickled ginger), tenkasu (tempura scraps), and sakura ebi (ground dried shrimp).

In Japan, it’s a communal experience. If people aren’t buying these delectables, they’re cooking them at home. Takoyaki at home involves friends and family gathered around a table cooking and eating together. Everyone pitches in from making the batter to adding the ingredients for the fillings. There are frozen takoyaki available in Asian markets, but it’s always best eaten fresh and hot – and more fun with friends and family.

Click here for recipe…


Takoyaki

Click here for recipe…

Shrimp Pesto Pasta

Shrimp pesto pasta is a favorite recipe of mine this summer. It’s quick, easy and best of all it’s full of summer flavor. For this recipe, I used my own spicy Asian pesto (click here for recipe). The combination of Thai basil, cilantro, lime and chili peppers give the pesto a nice bite. I think the spicy pesto pairs very well with seafood.

Click here for recipe…

Shrimp Pesto Pasta

Click here for recipe…

Green Chutney Hot Dogs

Just the other day, I happened to catch Bobby Flay’s hot dog Throw Down and thought, how could we do an Asian style dog? I mean, hot dog! Easy enough – let’s find a low calorie hot dog (found these at Whole Foods – 110 calories per serving), wheat buns, and fresh veggies. The green chutney is common – I found this recipe online. Chutney was very easy to make and certainly packs flavor. I’d estimate 2 hot dogs topped with fresh veggies and green chutney around 500 calories. Give this quick recipe a shot – and don’t forget to let me know what you think!

Click here for recipe…

Green chutney hot dog

Click here for recipe…

Chicken Satay Sandwich (with Indian spices)

Satay is marinated thin strips of meat, skewered and grilled over wood or charcoal. Often associated with Thai food, satay’s real origin is Indonesia. Skewered meat or shish kabob was introduced to Indonesia by the Arabs around the 19th century. Its popularity spread from Indonesia into other neighboring Southeast Asian countries. Beef and chicken were mainly used for satay. Nowadays, one can use just about anything that can be marinated and threaded onto skewers. If chicken is unavailable, substitute with pork, shrimp, or tofu. Satay gets its nice yellow tint from tumeric. Common spices used to make satay are turmeric, cumin, coriander, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, galanga, fish sauce, soy sauce, palm sugar, and lime juice. My recipe is Thai based satay infused with Indian spices.

The idea to serve chicken satay in a hotdog bun came from my friend Erik. While Erik was grilling the satay, I happened to glance over as he placed a hotdog bun on the grill and I blurted out, “You better put another bun on for me!” That’s how the chicken satay sandwich came about. I didn’t get a chance to garnish my sandwich because we were experimenting. Next time, I would add diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro and a squirt of Sriracha sauce. If satay is a dish you really like, then you’re not going to want to pass on trying this dish.

Click here for recipe…

chicken satay grilled

Grilled chicken satay on skewers

chicken satay sandwich

Chicken Satay Sandwich

Click here for recipe…

Korean Cold Noodle Soup (Janchi guksu)

My favorite summertime soup for the past couple of years has been a Korean cold noodle soup called “janchi guksu.” It’s made with thin, white wheat noodles and a light broth consisting of dried anchovies and kelp (or “dasima” in Korean and “kombu” in Japanese). The Korean word “janchi” translates to banquet or feast (special events or gatherings such as weddings, birthday parties) and “guksu” means noodles. The noodles are typically served with julienne vegetables, thinly sliced omelet, and/or beef along with a spicy sauce made with garlic, scallions, Korean red pepper powder, soy sauce, and sesame oil.

For those who don’t know, kelp is a large seaweed belonging to the brown algae group. If you’re still a bit fearful of kelp, you’ll be surprised to know that it’s used as a stabilizer in many of our favorite foods such as ice cream, chocolate milk, and peanut butter. Click here for additional information on kelp.

Beef broth or dashi (a Japanese broth made with bonito flakes and kombu) can be substituted although the flavors will not be as authentic. This a very refreshing dish to have on a hot day. I hope this cold noodle soup becomes your favorite summertime noodle dish too!

Click here for recipe…

Ingredients for cold noodle soup
Ingredients for cold noodle soup. Clockwise from top: Japanese cucumber (julienne), kelp, dried anchovies, Thai chili peppers, and garlic

korean cold noodle soup janchi guksu
Korean Cold Noodle Soup

Click here for recipe…