Living in South East Asia one encounters all kinds of savory balls.  Cuttlefish (squid), prawns, pork, fish, each more flavorful than the next.  Some are served fried with a light glaze, some come covered in sauces or showcased as the main ingredient in soups and they are far from dry or insipid.

This version is an adaptation from one of the many forays into Singapore hawker centers.  They are baked instead of fried and the results are just stellar!  Don’t overly sauce them, as these little morsels should be sticky and syrupy.  Place them on skewers for gatherings and serve with additional sauce on the side.

They’re so outstanding in flavor you’ll say, “What sauce?”


1/2 LB of pork tenderloin

2 chicken thighs

3 scallions – white parts only very finely sliced (save the greens for the dipping sauce)

1 TBSP garlic/ginger paste

1 TSP of lemongrass paste – Gourmet Garden

¼ cup cilantro – chopped finely

1 TBSP toasted sesame oil

1 TBSP thick soy sauce – Catsup Manis (also known as Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce)

1 TBSP of Golden Mountain seasoning sauce

1 egg

¼ cup of Panko breadcrumbs

Fresh cracked white pepper



2 TBSP Hoisin sauce

1 TBSP Catsup Manis – very thick sweet soy sauce

1 TBSP regular soy sauce

1 TBSP Sriracha

1 TSP garlic/ginger paste

1 TSP honey

Scallion green parts – chopped finely

1 TBSP Shaohsing Chinese Cooking Wineor Rice wine vinegar


Black or white sesame seeds

Very thinly sliced scallions or cilantro



In a food processor, add the pork pieces and process to smooth grind (you don’t want it too smooth but not too chunky either).  Scrape out onto a bowl and do the same with the chicken.  Add the ingredients and mix well with your hands.  Don’t overmix as that’ll make them tough.  Form them into 1” balls and refrigerate them for about 1 hour.  Place them on a cookie sheet lined parchment paper or foil.  You will have approximately 18-20 meatballs.  Bake for about 12-15 minutes till they are evenly browned.

While they bake, mix all the sauce ingredients.  When the meatballs are ready, remove them with tongs and add them to a large working bowl with some sauce.  Toss them well to ensure they are well coated.  Serve them in a platter and sprinkle sesame seeds and the scallions on top.


Kekap Manis -often called Indonesian Soy Sauce can be easily found in Asian stores or online.  It is a very viscous soy sauce with the consistency of molasses.  You can’t really substitute molasses and soy mixed together, because it won’t have the same flavor profile.

Garlic and ginger are two ingredients that are prevalent throughout Indian and Asian cuisine.  Garlic/ginger is a very practical paste keeps in the fridge for months; it’s very aromatic and a complete time saver in the kitchen.

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