Recipes

Gochujang Meatballs

I’ve been craving Korean flavours lately, so I decided to add some gochujang to my usual meatball recipe! I paired it with a spicy plum glaze which was a hit. Honestly, I only went for plum because I had some left in the fridge and was really curious about how it would taste, but you can use orange marmalade or even honey in place of it. I loved how all the flavours went together so well.

I had these over the Lunar New Year period because somehow I didn’t feel up for Chinese food, yet felt like the least I could do to celebrate was to make something Asian-inspired! I hope this passes for that lol.

If you’re unfamiliar with gochujang, it’s a Korean red chilli paste that contains fermented soy beans. It is sweet, salty, and spicy all at the same time. It reminds me of the Chinese condiment dou ban jiang, or if we want to stretch it a little, a spicy miso paste. 

I baked the meatballs in the oven because it’s quicker than cooking them on the pan, but if you like, you can cook them in the pan to develop a crust first before popping them into the oven. If you want to get them all glossy, you can also finish them in the pan with the glaze!

P.S. For the amount of gochujang I used in the meatballs, it didn’t make it a very spicy one. Most of the spiciness came from the glaze, so if I were you and wanted to adjust spiciness, I’d do it with the glaze. I’d say the ratios I used yielded a spice level of 6/10.

To watch how they’re made, check out my Instagram Reel or TikTok video.

As usual, head to the bottom of the page for substitutes!

P.S. the plum jam I used is from Alce Nero. It’s my absolute faaavourite, and part of me couldn’t bear to use it in a glaze lol (rationing!) but I knew it would add amazing flavour. Go get yourself a jar of it if you have em in your local supermarket!

The Recipe serves 25 small balls

Ingredients

Meatballs

450g ground beef

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ onion, grated/finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp ginger, grated/finely minced

½ cup breadcrumbs*

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp gochujang

½ celery (optional)

Large pinch of salt

½ tsp ground white pepper

Sauce

2 tbsp plum jam*

½ tbsp gochujang

½ tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

A splash of cooking sake

Water

Garnish

Scallions/coriander, sliced/torn

Sesame seeds, toasted

Directions

Meatballs

  1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs and mix well. Do not over mix as this may lead to a pretty tough meatball. Mix just till everything is nicely combined.
  2. Shape them into small balls, and bake them on a lined baking tray for 20 minutes at 180˚C. Check that the meatballs reach an internal temp of at least 70˚C before taking them out of the oven)

Glaze

  1. In a small bowl, mix the plum jam, gochujang paste and rice vinegar. Mix well and add to a small pan heated over low to medium heat. Mix well as it heats up.
  2. Add water to adjust the consistency based on your preference.

Substitutes:

  • Plum jam:
    • Orange marmalade
    • Peach jam
    • Honey
  • Breadcrumbs
    • Oat flour – simply grind up some oats
    • Almond flour – you can get it store bought, or grind up your own if you have the patience!

I’ve not tried it with the oats/almond flour, but I’m sure the oat flour would work just fine. As for the almond flour, I reckon it would amp up the moisture in the meatball (awesome thing!) but maybe you can dial down on the amount too. If you try it out, do let me know how you go!

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