Here’s the thing: It’s fun to eat with your fingers. Skewering puts the fun in food, taking ordinary recipes and sticking it to them (pun intended), along with an assortment of dipping sauces – because dipping a stick in a sauce is half the fun of eating food on a skewer. It’s a lively presentation inviting interaction, and it’s also a great way to encourage your kids to eat their food, or to feed a crowd with do-ahead cocktail party bites.

These Asian-spiced morsels take the humble, comforting meatball (a consistent crowd-pleaser in its own right) and ramps it up with a sweet and spicy blend of ground turkey, ginger, cilantro and garlic. They are fragrant and addictively good, perfect for entertaining or family food. Paired with a sweet-and-sour chili sauce for dipping or drizzling, they are guaranteed to be gobbled up.

Asian Turkey Meatballs With Chili Sauce

Active Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes, plus chilling time

Yield: Makes about 20 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs

Meatballs:

2 pounds lean ground turkey

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

3 scallions, white parts finely chopped, green parts thinly sliced and reserved for garnish

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 red jalapeno chili pepper, seeded, finely chopped

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Chili Sauce:

1 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon Sambal Oelek (red chili paste)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves

1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves

2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger

Vegetable oil for pan frying

Directions:

Combine all of the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl and mix without overmixing. Form into 1 1/2-inch balls (wet your hands from time to time to prevent sticking). Arrange on a plate, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours.

Prepare the chili sauce: Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Cool to room temperature.

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs in one layer without overcrowding and flatten slightly. Cook until brown on both sides and thoroughly cooked through the center, 6 to 8 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat with the remaining meatballs.

Spear the meatballs with small skewers. Garnish with the green scallions. Serve with the Chili Sauce for dipping or drizzling.

Lynda Balslev is a cookbook author, food and travel writer, and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay area, where she lives with her Danish husband, two children, a cat and a dog. She studied cooking at Le Cordon Bleu Ecole de Cuisine in Paris and worked as a personal chef, culinary instructor, and food writer in Switzerland and Denmark. Her favorite activities include hiking, cooking dinners for her friends and family, and planning her next travel destination.

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