Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Korean-style Pork Meatball Tacos

The flavors of Korea and Mexico work well together, disparate though they may be. Cuisines that seem more similar, like Indian and Mexican, which share the use of strong flavors like cumin and cilantro, are almost never combined. Have you ever seen a chicken tikka taco or vindaloo burrito? Why not? But there is a proliferation of bulgogi burritos and tacos garnished with kimchi in the current culinary world. And they work.

I've fallen in love with making my own corn tortillas, so tacos are a common occurrence in our house. Ground pork called out to become meatballs, and because we had a tub of the Korean red pepper and soybean paste called gochujang in the fridge, they fell into the whole Korean-Mexican melting pot. While I also flavored a bit of sour cream with some gochujang, sesame oil, and sugar to make a sauce, the rest of the elements, avocado, cilantro, and roasted corn salsa, were more likely to be found in a traditional taco. And they all worked deliciously together.

Korean-style Pork Meatballs

For meatballs:
1.15 lb ground pork (amount approximate...some packs may weigh slightly more or less)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
1 tablespoon gochujang
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon agave syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil for frying

For glaze:
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon gochujang
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

To make meatballs: Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Form 30 small meatballs.

Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan. Add meatballs and cook until browned on all sides and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel-lined plates. Wipe out frying pan.

To make glaze: Place ketchup, vinegar, soy, sugar, and gochujang in a sauce pot and bring to a boil. Stir to make sure sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil.

Place drained meatballs into cleaned pan. Pour over the bbq sauce and stir well to coat. Heat over medium heat until sauce coats the meatballs like a glaze. Sprinkle sesame seeds over and toss to coat.

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