Turkey and Hijiki Niku Dango (Meatball)

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I recently came across a ground chicken meatball similar to this recipe and I liked it so much that I decided to come up with my own version. I altered the recipe to turkey because I didn’t want to grind up my own chicken and I didn’t want to go all the way to the closest Japanese market and I ended up liking the turkey more than the chicken. The hijiki hardly adds flavor to the meatball because the turkey flavor is so strong but I think it’s something fun in terms color, and it has all the healthy benefits of hijiki if you don’t care for how hijiki tastes. Therefore, if you don’t have hijiki or it’s difficult to come by, by all means omit it. It will still taste good. The water chestnuts are a must however. They add a nice texture and give this meatball Asian flare.

I baked these little guys but you can also pan fry them and I think they turn out a little more moist. I wanted to keep these meatballs as low maintenance as I could when I have to take them to parties, and I also think they look prettier when they don’t have the pan marks on them. If you fry them, they should only take a few minutes on each side and cover them after you flip them once.

Ingredients
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup of prepared hijiki (2 tbsp. dried hijiki soaked)
1/2 cup (70 grams) finely chopped water chestnut
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 tsp. grated garlic
1/2 tbsp. sesame seed oil
1 egg
1/3 cup panko
1 tsp. kosher salt (less if using iodized)
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1-2 tbsp. sweet chili sauce

Directions
1) Add the turkey, hijiki, water chestnuts, ginger, garlic, sesame seed oil egg, panko, salt and pepper into a bowl and mix well. Use your hands so that the garlic and ginger are incorporated.I add the panko in the second photo only so that you can see all the ingredients in the first photo.
2) Form the turkey meat balls into equal 10 patties about 125 grams each.
3) Place the turkey patties onto a tray or pan and grease with vegetable oil.
4) Put in a preheated oven at 350 for 15 minutes.
5) Uncover and bake for 5 more minutes.
6) Pour sweet chili sauce directly on top or
7) Mix the turkey dango in a bowl with the chili sauce for an even coating
8) Garnish with parsley, cilantro or anything green. I used fennel leaves here.

Add the turkey, hijiki, water chestnuts, ginger, garlic, sesame seed oil egg, panko, salt and pepper into a bowl and mix well.The panko is omitted in this photo so that all the other ingredients are visible.
Turkey Niku Dango_Add ingredients to the bowl

Add the panko in step 1. There’s no need to add it in later.
Turkey Niku Dango_Add panko

Form the turkey meat balls into equal 10 patties about 125 grams each.
Turkey Niku Dango_Form into patties

Place the turkey patties onto a tray or pan and grease with vegetable oil. I used a cake pan here because it was smaller than a cookie sheet.
Turkey Niku Dango_Place on a greased pan

Cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes.
Turkey Niku Dango_Cover with foil and bake

Uncover, increase temperature to 400 and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
Turkey Niku Dango_Uncover and bake

Pour the sweet chili sauce directly on top and serve OR
Turkey Niku Dango_Plated and topped with sweet chili sauce

Mix the Turkey dango in a bowl with the sauce for an even coating.
Turkey Niku Dango_mix with sauce

Garnish with parsley, cilantro or fennel leaves.
Turkey Niku Dango_served3

umamitopia.com: Authentic Japanese, CA fusion, French & Italian influenced recepies.

Naomi Kuwabara
Naomi Kuwabara was born and raised in California but spent many summers in Japan growing up. She has spent time living in Hokkaido and Osaka, both meccas for Japanese cuisine. Her passion is cooking and sharing her experiences cooking Japanese food with others. Her blog Umamitopia is about her experiences cooking Japanese food. Her greatest inspirations are from her mother and grandmother. Her cooking adventures can be found at http://umamitopia.com.
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