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!
serves 12-16 (52 meatballs approximately)
|2||lbs. minced chicken thighs (optional: leave some of fat on)|
|2½||Tbsp. lemongrass (ground or finely minced)|
|2||Tbsp. garlic (about one small head of garlic) (ground or finely minced)|
|6||scallions (green parts only – finely chopped)|
|6||shitake mushrooms (caps only) (finely minced)|
|1||Tbsp. cilantro roots (ground or finely minced)|
|1½||tsp. fish sauce|
(ground whole spices using mortar & pestle or spice grinder)
|1½||tsp. black peppercorn (ground)|
|½||tsp. cumin seeds (ground)|
|½||tsp. fennel seeds (ground)|
|¼||tsp. star anise seeds (ground)|
|1||tsp. tumeric powder|
|2||tsp. Thai chili powder|
|½||tsp. ginger powder|
|2||Tbsp. rice flour|
|½||tsp. kosher salt|
|¼||cup fresh Thai basil (thinly sliced)|
|¼||cup roasted peanuts (coarsely ground or chopped)|
|4||Thai chili peppers (thinly sliced)|
1. wet ingredients, dry ingredients
In a large bowl, combine both wet and dry ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap or place the chicken mixture in an airtight container. Refrigerate for minimum of two hours to allow meat to tenderize and spices to incorporate.
2. forming meatballs, bake
Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C). Grease two large baking pans or roasting pans with a thin layer of oil. Dampen your hands with water to help the chicken balls from sticking. To form chicken ball, pinch off about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture. Shape it into the size of large gumballs (no larger than 1 1/2 inches in diameter). Place each chicken ball on the baking pan and make sure there is 1/2 an inch of space between each one. After all chicken balls are rolled, bake for 18 minutes until golden brown on outside. You will also see fat begin to pool around the chicken balls. Set aside to rest for at least 5 mins. before serving to allow juices to redistribute. (Optional: If you want a more grilled color on the outside, set your broiler on high and grill chicken balls for a couple of minutes. See first photo above.)
3. garnish and serve
Garnish and serve with Thai dipping sauce.