Chinese Meatball Sliders
Published: February 23, 2011
My friend Ruben gave me the recipe that inspired this one. A heap of rice vinegar-soaked shredded carrots and cucumber gives this sandwich a kind of banh mi feel, and fluffy Chinese steamed buns provide just the right amount of structure for the juicy and flavorful sandwich fillings. Prepare each individual sandwich before serving or set out platters of the buns, meatballs, carrot-cucumber mixture, condiments, and cilantro and let people assemble their own.
Ingredients (prices may vary):
a drizzle of olive or vegetable oil for the pan (or use cooking spray) pantry
3/4 lb ground pork $1
3 cloves garlic, chopped pantry
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped $0.50
1 tablespoon soy sauce pantry
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper pantry
2-3 teaspoon (depending on how spicy you like it) Asian chili sauce, plus more for serving $2 for 8 oz.
2 scallions, chopped $1 for a bunch
1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves, chopped $0.50
1 egg, lightly beaten $1.50 for 12
1 carrot, grated $0.25
1/2 regular cucumber (peel intact), grated or cut into matchsticks $1 for a whole cucumber
1 tablespoon rice vinegar $2.50 for 12 oz.
6 small Chinese steamed buns (sometimes called “steamed bread,” found in the freezer section of most Asian specialty stores), or French rolls $2.50 for 6
hoisin sauce $2 for 8 oz.
6 smallish sprigs fresh cilantro $1 for a bunch
Total Cost of Ingredients $15.25
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil/spray a baking sheet and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine pork, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, black pepper, scallions, spinach leaves, and egg. Use your (clean) hands to mix well. Form into golf ball-sized meatballs and arrange on the prepared baking sheet, making sure they are evenly spaced. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until cooked through.
While meatballs cook, combine the carrot and cucumber in a small bowl and drizzle with the vinegar. Toss to coat and set aside until ready to use.
Steam the buns according to package directions (I find it easiest/quickest to microwave them for 1-2 minutes, wrapped in a damp paper towel). Split buns in half, lengthwise.
Spread a little hoisin sauce on each half of the buns. Place 1-2 meatballs, topped with the carrot-cucumber mixture and a sprig of cilantro, on the bottom half of each bun. Top with the other half of the bun. Serve immediately, with extra chili sauce on the side.
Makes 6 sandwiches (serves about 3).