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This recipe is adapted from the Iio Jozo cookbook. It is perfect with steamed rice and can be made with pork or chicken.
1 ½ pounds pork, ground (or chicken, just get an equal ratio of thigh and breast meat, with some fat)
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon Takehisa Dried Shiitake Mushroom Powder
2 tablespoons organic soy sauce (from either Yugeta Shoyu or Yamaki Jozo)
3 tablespoons sake
Vegetable oil, for frying
¼ cup Iio Jozo pure rice vinegar
¼ cup Iio Jozo brown rice vinegar
¼ cup organic soy sauce (from either Yugeta Shoyu or Yamaki Jozo)
1 tablespoon ketchup
¼ cup Murakami Syouten Okinawan brown sugar
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon Morino Yoshino kudzu starch, for slurry
1 ½ tablespoons water, for slurry
Wadaman roasted organic white sesame seeds, to garnish
In a medium mixing bowl combine the pork, salt, shiitake powder and soy sauce. Mix well, cover and then let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. After resting the pork mixture, add the sake and egg and mix well until fully incorporated and it becomes sticky or tacky. This will give your finished meatballs a nice texture.
Place enough potato starch in a shallow baking dish to cover the bottom. You can make the meatballs whatever size you decide - I prefer to make them a half dollar size. Using your hands, roll some of the meat mixture into a ball then place in the potato starch to coat. Then roll the coated meatball into more of an exact ball shape and place onto a cookie sheet. Repeat until you have used all of the mixture.
Add oil to a heavy-bottomed frying pan until it reaches about ½ inch deep. Heat the oil over high heat until it almost reaches the smoking point. Gently add meatballs one-by-one until the pan is full. Fry each meatball approximately 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown and crispy. Remove meatballs from frying pan and place on a clean cookie sheet. To check if the meatball is cooked through, just cut one in half to see. If additional cooking is needed, heat in a 350 degree oven. (You can make these ahead on the same day, then reheat in the oven until warmed through and toss with the sauce.)
In a sauce pan bring to a boil the vinegars, soy sauce, ketchup, sugar and water. To make the slurry, in a small bowl combine the kudzu and water. Mix well and add half of the slurry to the sauce, whisking until incorporated, and then let it come back to a boil. Check the consistency - the sauce should coat the back of a spoon and have the thickness of heavy cream. If the sauce isn't yet thick enough, add the remaining slurry and bring back to a boil. Once the sauce is ready toss it with the meatballs, garnish with sesame seeds. Serve with steamed rice.