Paleo Potsticker Meatballs
People always think Asian food is hard to make. I’m not sure why that is. It’s not any harder than any other ethnicity, in my opinion. I’m half Chinese but I wasn’t really raised on Asian food at home. Except for rice. We always had tons of rice in the house, since my mom is borderline obsessed with the food. It’s her favorite 🙂 But my mom is adopted and she wasn’t raised on much Asian food herself. If they did eat Chinese, it was always out in a restaurant. Her parents’ were die-hard Bronx Italians and didn’t each much else outside of that ethnicity. They weren’t great cooks either so they tended to cook what they knew and didn’t experiment much with anything else.
My mom was the one to teach me how to cook. Since she grew up with very little variety, she was always looking to experiment with something new. Supposedly, she wasn’t a great cook when she and my dad first got married, though she tried hard! I don’t remember this phase. I’ve always known her as a great cook (although, there was the occasional recipe nobody liked!). She’s still always experimenting with something new and can’t follow a recipe exactly for the life of her. She’s always modifying, a skill she’s passed on to me. I’m always changing a set recipe up (usually because I’m lacking an ingredient… or five!), seeing if a different flour works or messing with the spices to change up the flavors. Doesn’t always go in my favor but more often than not, my brilliant ideas work out!
Because my mom wasn’t raised on Chinese food, I wasn’t raised with it either. We love to go out for Chinese or order takeout, but neither of us cooks many Chinese dishes at home. Being gluten free for the past year (my mom, longer) though sometimes limits our options with traditional Chinese take-out. The bigger chain restaurants (like PF Chang’s) usually are able to modify Chinese dishes for the gluten free consumer but most mom and pop Chinese places aren’t equipped to deal with those types of dietary restrictions. Usually, it’s the soy sauce in the sauces that hangs them up. Most traditional soy sauces have wheat in them.
So, I’ve been experimenting with more Asian dishes at home lately. I’ve got several large Asian stores in my city and I can easily find both gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos in several different locations across town. Last night, I decided to make these potsticker meatballs with the idea of using the filling that goes in traditional potstickers, just without the wheat wrapper. I may experiment with a grain-free wrapper at some point. I think I might be able to replicate it using cassava flour. Then, I made a potsticker sauce to pour over the top using coconut aminos instead of soy. Coconut aminos are much sweeter than soy sauce, though it looks the same. You could absolutely sub in a gluten-free soy instead, if you can’t find coconut aminos (I get mine from Trader Joe’s usually) but then I would add a tablespoon or two of coconut sugar to sweeten it up. Look for a low sodium version as well, because traditional soy sauce is very salty in my opinion! We ate this on top of rice but you could just as easily make some cauliflower rice instead. Even better would be a cauliflower fried rice like this recipe from Against All Grain! I was running low on eggs (remember my stay-on-budget mentality this week?) so I didn’t make fried rice.
- 1 C Napa Cabbage
- 1 ¼ lb ground pork
- ½ sweet onion
- 2 scallions
- 8-10 baby carrots
- 2 T fresh ginger root
- 1 T fresh garlic
- 1 T coconut aminos (or gluten free soy)
- 1 T sesame oil
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup Paleo flour mixture (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
- For the sauce
- ½ cup coconut aminos
- 1 tsp sriracha or chili sauce
- 1 T sesame oil
- 1 tsp fresh garlic
- 1 tsp fresh ginger (dried will taste different)
- 1 tsp fish sauce (I use Red Boat)
- 1 T rice vinegar (or apple cider if Paleo)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Either spray a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper or a silpat. These meatballs will stick heavily if not greased!
- In a food processor, combine cabbage, carrots, onion, ginger, and ginger. Grind until very fine. Transfer to mixing bowl.
- Add the rest of the meatball ingredients to the veggie mixture. Mix by hand until well combined.
- Roll meat mixture into 2 tablespoon sized meatballs (think cocktail meatball sized). Line them up on the greased cookie sheet. Bake 35-40 minutes or until cooked through and lightly browned. Cool slightly and set aside.
- While meatballs are baking, combine sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat until slightly reduced. Pour over meatballs and sprinkle with chopped scallions. Serve immediately.
- You could substitute ground chicken or ground turkey for the pork if desired. They will be a little drier though if you do that!
- You could also substitute gluten-free soy for the coconut aminos if you'd like. If you do that in the sauce, add 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar or other sweetener since soy is much saltier than coconut aminos!