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This is truly an addiction. I can’t resist Gochujang. This spicy Korean chilli paste is one of my favourites. Chicken meatballs with gochujang and sesame make a perfect weeknight meal.
A batch of these will feed 3 or 4 people or provide you with leftovers for a few days if you like to make days of easy meals.
Chicken mince (or ground chicken) is so easy to use, lasts well when reheated, and is cheap. You don’t need a frypan to make these meatballs. There is no splattering mess or standing and turning one by one, they are baked! Yes, you can use an air fryer too if you have one.
Grab some Gochujang Paste
There are quite a few Korean chilli pastes, make sure you look for one that says Gochujang. If this is your first introduction to it and you love chilli then you are going to be very happy!
What is Gochujang and what does it taste like?
Korean Chilli paste called Gochujang is made from red chillis, fermented soybeans, rice and salt. It’s a bit chilli paste hot but also has a gentle sweetness derived from fermentation. This deeply crimson coloured paste is salty with a funky umami savoury taste and a hint of smokey goodness. Different brands of paste will vary in flavour some sweeter than others.
You can find it in Asian grocery stores or in most supermarkets in Australia. Keep it in the fridge once opened. You use an entire small 160 gram package for this recipe.
How else can I use Gochujang Paste?
Thick and concentrated, it is a paste similar to miso paste. Its resemblance lies in its pasty thickness and ability to be a superb flavour bomb. Just like a miso paste, it needs mixing with other ingredients for best use. It can bring a deep intense flavour to all kinds of different foods.
Stir it into a soup or a stew to add a little heat and a smokey depth. Add it to a marinade for barbequing or baking. Stir a bit into one of your favourite dipping sauces or into plain old tomato sauce (ketchup) or BBQ sauce to make a brilliant dipping sauce. In fact, roasted cauliflower or Brussel sprouts are sensational with this sauce combo. Add it to clear broth (stock) with shredded vegetables and tofu or add to your favourite mayonnaise to make it better!
I roast a whole chicken with just the same ingredients below and it is the best dinner ever! Want the instructions?
Just let me know.
What’s in them?
- Chicken mince
- sesame oil
- soy sauce (light)
- rice vinegar
- pickled ginger
- ginger and garlic
- Gochujang chilli paste
- panko bread crumbs
- The mix of ingredients above is pretty much all you will have to worry about to bring this easy recipe together. Just add rice or noodles and some crunchy salad
- The ingredients are all added together and mixed up to make the most spectacularly flavoured meatballs. They are a little hot a little salty and a little garlicky.
- Combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs along with the egg and mix together well (by hand or with a spoon). Lastly, add the crumbs. This way you will be able to add just the right amount of crumbs to make the perfect meatballs.
There are two measurements for crumbs. Everyone has different size eggs in their fridge. I always use large eggs. When making the mix I use 60 gm (or a full cup of crumbs). If you have smaller eggs you will need less crumbs. I suggest you just start with half the crumbs. If you see that your mixture is still very wet once you have added half the crumbs then add more as needed. Bread crumbs firm up your mixture but they also make it dry if you add too much. The mixture should not be too firm, better to refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes, then roll. This will firm the mixture up and make it easier to roll the perfect meatball!
In the first picture, you can see a very wet mixture (the egg is added and 1/2 of the crumbs)
In the second picture, you can see the mixture is firmer. It has all of the crumbs (100gm) and it has been chilled
- Line up the meatballs on a lined tray leaving space between each. The mixture will make 30 of this size. (approx 25 to 30 gm or about 1oz )
- To make cooking more even I spray the meatballs with olive oil spray. You can use plain oil cooking spray or paint them with oil. Bake at 180 C / 350F) They are cooked within 15 minutes (to 75 C/ 160 F). Remember if your meatballs are larger they will take longer to cook.
- and 4. Test one of your meatballs when you take the tray out of the oven. I used a thermometer but you can tell they are cooked when you cut them open. They will have changed to a whiter colour. Don’t be tempted to cook them longer they will be dry and hard.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can prep the meatballs and finish cooking them later. Use within 2 days.
Cook them all the way through with the sauce and serve them within 3 days. Both the sauce and the meatballs get better and better the next day
Embarrassingly easy sauce
Gochujang sauce is also extremely quick to make. It really just involves mixing several ingredients together and heating them. This only takes a few minutes.
- and 2. Mix the ingredients together. Gochujang paste, soy, sesame oil, rice vinegar, sugar, ginger, garlic powder, and water. put them into a pot
- to 3. Give them a stir over low heat.
- to 4 When the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar is melted, turn it off and set aside.
Once the meatballs are cooked add them to the sauce pot. Stir well and bring back to a simmer. They are done. This step simply coats the meatballs in the lovely sauce.
If you wanted you could have everything ready to go for making later. These are the perfect meatballs for that! They make a great weeknight meal.
Add the meatballs and sauce together and don’t reheat if you are not eating straight away. All you need to do is pop them into a container together refrigerate and come back later.
What can I serve these delicious meatballs with?
That’s just as easy as the recipe itself. The meatballs are saucy, which means they go perfectly with rice. White rice brown rice precooked packet rice. make it as easy as you like. Eat them with noodles, any kind, rice noodles are my favourite and even two minute noodles are perfect.
I tend to eat these with a little salad on the side because I am just too lazy to start making any other kind of vegetable. You could add lightly cooked broccoli to your sauce or bean shoots, a canned bamboo shoot or bok choy or anything you like. I just have salad.
The simplest and best salad with these spicy meatballs is basic and really perfect in my opinion. Halved sliced cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, onion, cucumbers and coriander. Salad is always great with a little dressing too, but even if you don’t have time for dressing the Gochujang sauce will complete your salad!
Although this combination is delicious, you can pair it with any crunchy salad you like. You could even try buying a packet of ready to eat, Asian style salad to save more time. Most supermarkets have one.
Now for the big secret. My next level flavour secrets.
I add finely chopped sushi ginger (pickled ginger) and sesame seeds to mine. Sesame seeds make everything better. You can simply sprinkle them on your meatballs when you plate them up. And Sushi ginger? It is perfect with Gochujang sauce. I use the chopped ginger as an addition to my meatball sauce and the juice in the pickling jar added with a little oil and a sprinkle of salt as a dressing.
In fact, I use pickled ginger juice in so many things. If only I could buy a bottle of that pickling liquid all by itself I would be a very happy person.
Breadcrumbs. These meatballs are made with panko crumbs. When making meatballs, meatloaves and burger patties Panko are lighter than dried fine breadcrumbs. Always choose these over other breadcrumbs where possible. I find they are cheaper in bulk from Asian grocers. During mixing add 1/2 at first, stir and check the consistency. Add the other half if needed. Some differences in measurements occur with wetter mince or larger eggs you could need up to another 1/2 cup.
It is also possible to use homemade crumbs from stale bread if they are broken down to look a bit like the lightness of panko crumbs. If you can only get the very fine brown crumbs from a supermarket you will not need the same amount as the recipe states. Use much less. Add only a bit at a time stirring between each addition. They will make your meatballs dry and heavy.
Meatball size. I like to roll the balls around 25 to 30 gms maximum. Keeping them small means you get more per serve. They are easier to fit in your mouth, meaning they are easier to eat. This is why it is important to try to roll them all the same size so they cook evenly. When the size is bigger the meatballs also take longer to cook.
Try these easy recipes too:
Made in one pot! : Lamb and feta meatballs, lemon rice
Unusual and amazing: Maple, Chilli Meatballs
Yes! Salmon: Hoisin Salmon Meatballs in broth
No chilli just add cheese: Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
Chicken Meatballs with Gochujang and Sesame
Chicken meatballs with gochujang and sesame make a perfect weeknight meal.
Gochujang chicken meatballs
- 500 gm chicken mince 1.1lb
- 100 gm onion, finely diced 1 small
- 2 large garlic cloves crushed
- 60 gm Korean gochujang chilli paste 2 Tablespoons
- 40 ml light soy sauce 2 Tablespoons
- 40 ml sesame oil 2 Tablespoons
- 10 ml rice vinegar 2 teaspoons
- 30-60 gm breadcrumbs / Panko 1/2 to 1 cup (or a little more if needed)
- 1 egg large (55gm size)
- 120 gm gochujang paste 4 Tablspoons
- 40 ml soy sauce, light 2 Tablespoons
- 40 ml sesame oil 2 Tablepoons
- 20 ml rice wine viegar 1 Tablespoon
- 30 gm sugar 1 1/2 Tablespoons
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp ginger, grated
- 250 gm water 1 cup of water
- 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds *optional
- 4 serves rice or noodles *your choice
- 4 serves salad * or vegetables
- 4 tablespoons pickled ginger *optional
This is a simple meatball recipe. There are two mixtures the meatball mix and the sauce. Both have similar ingredients. Despite the number of ingredients, this is quite simple and keeps very wellSet the oven to 180C/ 350 FThe meatballs and sauce cook very quickly. If you want to serve this with salad, rice or noodles, these should be ready before you start.
Mix the chicken mince, finely diced onion, garlic, chilli paste, soy sauce, sesame oil, and vinegar. Whisk an egg and mix it into the chicken mince mixture until the ingredients are a smooth soft mix. Then add the breadcrumbs. Depending on the size of your egg, you may need more than 60 gm (1 cup or maybe just a touch more of panko crumbs). You will know if you need more if the mixture is too soft to roll. So, add enough crumbs to make a mixture that is easy to roll into balls. Chilling the mix will also help with rolling and give the crumbs time to swell.
Roll the mince into walnut sized balls (makes 30). Put each ball onto a paper lined tray. Make sure they are spaced apart. Spray with cooking spray, this is the easiest way to cover them with cooking oil (but paint you can with some vegetable oil too). The meatballs will be a little sticky. Refrigerate them for 15- 20 minutes and once they are chilled, They will be much easier to roll into a smooth ball.
Bake the chicken meatballs for 15 minutes. The meatballs should be cooked through and be 70 to 75 C / 160 F if you have a thermometer. Take out the tray and test one of the meatballs by cutting in half and checking they are cooked
While the meatballs are cooking put a medium pot onto the stove. The pot needs to be big enough to hold all the meatballs and the sauce
Put the extra Gochujang chilli paste, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, sugar, garlic powder, ginger and water into a pot. Stir the ingredients well together over low heat until they are combined
Simmer very gently for just a couple of minutes while stirring. Tip all of the meatballs into the pot and stir together just till the meatballs are coated without breaking them up. Done!
Sprinkle the meatballs with sesame seeds. Serve the meatballs with a side of salad over rice or noodles.
The meatballs and sauce cook very quickly. If you want to serve this with salad, rice or noodles, these should be ready before you start.
The recipe uses Panko crumbs- these are very light. you could substitute gluten free crumbs here but just remember Gochujang paste contains traces of gluten from soy
I love these best with rice noodles and a crunchy salad.