Asian Turkey Meatball Buns

Simple Asian inspired meatballs with coriander, chilli, garlic and ginger, a hoisin style yoghurt dressing and a brioche bun. Because some days you just gotta cheer yourself up and push the boat out with your lunch *insert sassy lady emoji*.

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I’ve been making these meatballs for a long time now, they just usually get dolloped in the pan in a very un-photographic, very non-visually appealing manner. If only you could see the state of some of my meals behind the ‘gram and blog feed.. dolloped (literally) onto the oldest plates or in the most ahem, ‘vintage’ bowls because they’re practical and comforting, followed by multiple microwave experiences because ‘I just need to do this…and that..and this and, oh, my food is stone cold’. Fun fact: for a good few years after I had been in hospital, I just could.not.eat.cold.food. Not even slightly cool. It had to be piping hot. Whilst I was in hospital, meals could take up to an hour and we weren’t allowed to heat our food up, but instead forced to eat stone cold, congealed food. I’m not exaggerating or even joking when I say I’m permanently scarred…

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Back to the meatballs and not a discussion about my PTSD.. These have become a staple because they’re simple, I always have all of the ingredients to hand, they’re healthy and nutritious but more importantly, they taste damn good. I’ve used both turkey breast and turkey thigh mince before, and both work well. I usually stick to turkey breast mince and this is what this recipe is geared towards – the combination of oat flour and yoghurt prevents them from being dry and horrible, keeping them….moist. Sorry but not really. Cringe away.

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The idea of sticking them in a bun came from the King of food himself – Jamie Oliver. And what a brilliant idea it is. Meatballs and burgers are essentially the same thing, but with meatballs, you get gaps in-between for sauce and that somehow makes everything so much better – you’re guaranteed to get plenty of sauce with every bite…it also makes everything much messier aka fun. FYI if you aren’t a Jamie fan, I don’t think we can be friends. Sorry.

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I used dairy free soya yoghurt because I’m slightly lactose intolerant and have a soft spot/tendency/habit of regularly partaking in consuming more ice cream than is probably acceptable on a daily basis. So I opt for using dairy alternatives when it’s easy to do so in an attempt to minimise stomach pains. If using dairy yoghurt, I recommend you use 2% fat natural yoghurt rather than completely fat free!

The hoisin yoghurt sauce came about by accident in that I assumed we would have hoisin sauce in the house – we normally do. Anyone who has ever stepped foot in either my kitchen or garage will know that should we ever be faced with a zombie apocalypse or trapped in our house for whatever reason, my Mum has got it covered. On all bases. There is no chance we would be going hungry. She is a next level food hoarder. Anyway, to my dismay, we were out of hoisin. So I figured I’d try and make my own and although a lot thinner and not as intense as hoisin sauce, it makes for a bloody good alternative, and one I’m definitely going to be re-using in the future. Enough babbling, congratulations if you read any of that.

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Ingredients:

Serves 4

For the meatballs:
  • 500g turkey mince
  • 4 tsp oat flour*
  • 4 tsp jarred garlic and ginger paste
  • 4 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar or granulated sweetener
  • 100g yoghurt
  • small bunch coriander, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small red chilli, chopped
  • 1/2 carton passata
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • pinch caster sugar
For the ‘hoisin’ yoghurt:
  • 100g yoghurt
  • 4 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar or granulated sweetener
  • 1 tsp chinese five spice
To serve:
  • 4 brioche or regular buns
  • spring onions, sliced
  • mayonnaise

Directions:

  1. For the hoisin yoghurt, mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the oat flour, garlic ginger paste, light soy sauce, sugar, yoghurt, chopped coriander and chilli. Mix until all combined. Add the turkey mince and give a really good mix to combine everything together. It should be quite a wet mixture. Using spoons, shape into 16 rough ball shapes.
  3. Heat a pan to medium-high heat with spray oil or 2-3 tsp rapeseed or coconut oil. Dollop the balls into the pan and allow to cook for a minute before putting the lid over the pan. The steam starts to cook the top, and helps lock in the moisture. After a couple of minutes, remove the lid and flip the balls before replacing the lid. Give the pan a shimmy occasionally.
  4. Meanwhile, toast the buns in a dry frying pan or toaster.
  5. Cook the meatballs until they’re just about cooked through, turn the heat off, add the passata, dark soy sauce and pinch of sugar and toss in the sauce.
  6. Now to assemble: put some mayonnaise on the bottom of each bun, 4 meatballs and some sauce, drizzle with the hoisin yoghurt and top with chopped spring onions.

Notes:

  • To make oat flour, put regular oats in a food processor and blitz into a fine powder. Make a larger quantity and store the remainder in a tub for another time/recipe.
  • For the sugar, palm sugar, coconut sugar or caster sugar will work fine. As will granulated sweetener or an intense sweetener such as flavouring drops or stevia drops.
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