I recently cooked this dish as a starter during a four course Asian inspired pop-up dinner. I wanted to begin the meal with something that was small, full of flavor and visually appealing. The idea was to make it look like an espresso shot with the very brown and shiny chicken ball a play on a sweet accompaniment to the coffee. The idea then evolved to put the stock in a shot glass and add the Asian “pesto” to give the dish something fresh, bright and relief texturally. It’s fairly easy to do, and guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser. Recipe after the jump.
For the masterstock, follow the recipe here. Add 4 or 5 tiny cubes of tofu and a couple of slices of spring onion as a garnish.
For the chicken balls:
Makes about 36 small balls
1/2 kg of deboned chicken thigh meat
1 large egg
1/4-1/2 cup of bread crumbs
4 garlic cloves (chopped)
2 spring onions (sliced)
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp of sesame seed oil
For the glaze:
1.5 tbsp of miso paste
1/2 cup of soy sauce
1 tbsp of honey
To make the chicken balls, simply add all the ingredients to a food processor and blitz until they become a uniform paste. If the mix is too wet or sticky, add some more bread crumbs and blitz again. Using your palms, form balls the size of heaped teaspoons. The balls can be frozen for weeks without any loss of flavor.
To cook the balls, heat some sesame oil on a high heat and add the chicken balls in batches making sure there’s plenty of space between them. Brown the balls well on all sides and then add the proportional amount of glaze to the pan, tossing the chicken balls well to make sure they get well covered in shiny. On a high heat the browning of the balls shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes, and then another 3 minutes of tossing in the glaze.
For the pesto:
2 garlic cloves
1 large handful of fresh coriander leaves
2 spring onions
1/4 cup of coconut cream
1 espresso cup of unsalted untoasted cashews
1 espresso cup of unsalted untoasted peanuts
1/4 cup of sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Run both nuts through a spice blender until finely blended but not without some crunch or bite. Add the nuts to the rest of the ingredients in a food processor until a pesto like paste forms.
Plate all ingredients as suggested and hope you enjoy!