One curious question for you: Do you have a bottle of Sriracha sauce in your fridge? If you do, the next question is: What do you usually do with it?
Like ketchup, mustard, now Sriracha, to some extent, harissa, is occupying the precious real estate in my fridge. Sriracha, once considered “exotic,” has become the go-to condiment whenever heat is called for. (Before that, we used Tobasco sauce from Louisiana.) Sometimes it sits out on the table when more spiciness is needed, in dishes, from eggs to chicken wings. It’s the new normal in my kitchen.
The use of Sriracha seems to be on the rise. This Asian chili paste is not only spotted in Asian restaurants; it has become super trendy. It has gone mainstream in the US, seen prominently in restaurants and bistros everywhere, or at least on the east and the west coast.
Spicy meatball is the dish of the week at Cook-the-Book-Fridays, the online community of wonderful cooks who are making their way through David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. David found his inspiration of this spicy meatballs dish from the merguez sandwich, stuffed with sausage and fries, eaten on the sidewalks in Paris.
The recipe has that North African influence all over it. Fennel, coriander and cumin seeds are toasted until they smell fragrant and then crushed. The toasted spice mix is combined with cilantro, garlic, paprika, harissa, salt, cinnamon, allspice and sumac, before adding the ground meat. I used a 50/50 mix of beef and lamb. After refrigerating the sausage mixture briefly, they were shaped and rolled into meatballs the size of unshelled walnuts. Instead of frying the meatballs in hot oil, I baked them in a 350°F oven for about 12 minutes. I got about 20 meatballs with one recipe.
The finishing sauce can’t be easier. One tablespoon of Sriracha sauce is mixed in three-quarters of a cup of mayonnaise. If heat is not your thing, David suggests a cooling yogurt tahini sauce to serve with the meat balls.
This dish makes for a fantastic appetizer if you are looking for a meat dish. On the other hand, serving the meatballs with pasta, couscous, grains or rice would make it into a substantial meal. I spiralized some zucchini to make veggie noodle to go with the meat balls for dinner one night. I found the meatballs to be a little dry and dense. If I make the meatballs again, I’ll put in some fillings, like panko or breadcrumbs to lighten the texture.
|Spicy beef and lamb meatballs|