Asian Chicken Balls in Broth

GRIND Asian Chicken Meatballs in Broth low res.JPG

My love for Asian food is never-ending, and this easy, quick chicken meatball creation is a favorite. The secret here is to steam the meatballs so that they remain tender and succulent. Searing briefly afterwards adds a wonderfully caramelized crust without overcooking.

Makes 25 to 30 meatballs  



A food processor; a bamboo steamer.


1 pound (500 g) boneless, skinless free-range chicken breast meat
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Vietnamese fish sauce
3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (or 1 tablespoon ground ginger)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt 1/2 cup (40 g) plain dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup (125 ml) minced scallions, both green and white parts
1 large egg, free-range and organic
1/4 cup minced fresh chives
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon kaffir lime leaf powder (see page 443 of My Master Recipes; optional)
Chicken stock (page 402 of My Master Recipes), or William’s Thai Vegetable Bouillon (page 37 of My Master Recipes), warmed, for serving


1.  Cut the chicken into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes. Spread the meat in a single layer on the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 1 hour. The chicken should be stiff. (Freezing will help the food processor blade cut the meat cleanly, rather than tearing or smearing it.)

2.  Place the cubes in the food processor and process for about 15 seconds, until the chicken is coarsely ground. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl, add 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil and the remaining ingredients (except the chicken stock) and use your hands to blend the mixture.

3.  To prevent the mixture from sticking, wet your hands with cold water, then shape the mixture into 1-1/2-inch (3 cm) balls, about the size of golf balls.

4.  In a medium saucepan bring 1 quart (1 l) of water to the boil over high heat.

5.  Arrange the meatballs side by side in the steamer, cover, and place on top of the saucepan. Steam until cooked through, about 5 minutes.

6.  In a skillet sear heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil over medium-high heat and sear the meatballs for a few minutes to create a crunchy, colorful exterior. Serve in the chicken stock of vegetable stock, and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.

VARIATIONS: Serve with a trio of Asian Dipping Sauces – such as my Quick Asian Dipping Sauce, Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce and Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (from My Master Recipes) – or deep-fry for 2 minutes and garnish with a mix of cilantro, basil and mint.

This recipe was first published in My Master Recipes. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.