Thursday, October 25, 2012

Friday Night Bites | Thai Cocktail Meatballs with Sweet Thai Chili Sauce

When I think about an iconic, retro yet modern appetizer – the cocktail meatball comes to mind.  Do you remember throwing a jar of grape jelly and a jar of chili sauce in a pan with meatballs?  For me, that is one of the retro classics.

Today the cocktail meatball takes a vast array of  flavor profiles from: Asian to Mexican to Thai to American BBQ.  The possibilities of combinations are endless.  It is one of the simplest appetizers that is a crowd pleaser almost 100% of the time and easily made ahead of time.  My hubby absolutely loves cocktail meatballs, so I wanted to try something new for Friday Night Bites and surprise him.  

My other inspiration for the Thai Cocktail Meatballs was the Sweet Thai Chili Sauce.  I typically always pick up a bottle of this tasty condiment versus venturing on my own to make it from scratch.  Creating this sauce is a snap and the end result is a mouthwatering dip.  I did research on the required ingredients to create my own twist on this tasty dipping sauce.

A perfect wine to pair with the Thai Cocktail Meatballs is a Riesling.  Sometimes Riesling can be a wine that is more on the sweet side; however I have discovered quite a few that veer towards the dry side versus sweet. Riesling is a food friendly wine.  Why?  Rieslings are known for their balance of acid and sugar.  The acid gives way for hearty foods and tangy Asian flavors.  The relevant fruit components of the wine (apple, pear, citrus and tropical) and the light sweetness of an off-dry Riesling tackles spicy foods.

My Riesling pick for pairing with the Thai Cocktail Meatballs is from Bex Winery. The Bex Riesling comes in a tall skinning bottle with a screw top and a simple modern label.   With a typical price tag of under $10.00 – this is truly a hidden jewel. The winery is located in Graton California with the grapes sourced from the Mosel region in Germany. The freshness of this wine is from the fermentation process done in stainless tanks. 

The Bex Riesling embodies a light golden color with refreshing fruit notes including melon, grapefruit and apricot.  Honeysuckle and honey are present in the flavor profile. This wine creamy, soft yet mouth-filling all at the same time and finishes with a lemon curd note.  With the spice in the Sweet Thai Chili Sauce and meatballs, this perfectly balances each bite.  Cheers!

Thai Cocktail Meatballs

Makes approximately 30 meatballs

1 Pound Ground Turkey
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
1 C. Panko bread crumbs
2 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger, minced
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced
3 Scallions, minced (white and green parts)
2 Jalapenos, minced
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 Tablespoon Chili Garlic Sauce
1 Tablespoon Lemongrass, finely minced

In a large bowl add all of the above ingredients and mix with your hands until incorporated.  Form one inch balls and place onto a cookie sheet.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the meatballs and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until fully cooked. 

Sweet Thai Chili Sauce

1 Cup Rice Vinegar
1 Cup Sugar
½ Cup Water
2 teaspoon Fresh ginger root, minced
1 teaspoon Garlic, minced
2 teaspoon Hot chili pepper, minced
1 Tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons Cornstarch
½ teaspoon Dried chili flakes

Pour the water and vinegar into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Stir in the sugar, ginger, garlic, chili peppers & flakes and ketchup; simmer for 5 minutes.  Stir in the cornstarch.  If you feel like it is not getting thick, then add one more teaspoon of cornstarch.  Remove saucepan from the stove to cool.  Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until needed.


  1. I love the fusion of different cuisines and flavors that you used! I would want the entire platter! :D

  2. Amazing, I love the ingredients, so much flavor there! Can´t go wrong with meatballs. And white wine!

  3. My stomach is growling as I look at how delicious these look, even this early in the morning! Loving your Friday Night Bites, Lisa!

  4. Lisa, I love these meatball and yes I remember my mother in law making those cocktail little smokies instead of meatballs for our wedding reception. I had never had them and I loved them so I ate way too many and felt sick later. I really think your idea of having appetizers on Friday with your hubby is a great idea maybe when my kids leave home I'll have to try it too. :)

  5. What another great idea for this weekend's party--thanks, Lisa! I haven't made meatballs in a very long time but gosh, they sound so good right now. Thanks, as usual, for the inspiration and for the great wine tip. :)

  6. I could eat meatballs any evening. I love how you made your own sauce, with turkey in them they are healthy too and I wouldn't think twice about have two or three. We missed you at the festival. Hopefully soon we can share a lunch or bake something.

  7. Friday nights at your house seem like the perfect way to celebrate the end of a busy week and the start of a weekend of relaxation! These meatballs also look like they'd be great for lunch :)

  8. That looks so juicy and good. I love the taste of sweet Thai chilli sauce. I have bookmarked this recipe.

  9. Lisa- your husband is a lucky guy ;-) You're so creative and these meatballs are a perfect example of that! Your photos are gorgeous-appetizers never looked so good;-)

  10. I love these meatballs Lisa, just like another one you did with barbecue sauce. I tried your recipe and it was a success! I will link you as soon as I post it. Thanks!

  11. You 'had' me with ground TURKEY, the usage of sesame oil and panko crumbs sealed the deal! Changed my weekend menu and I'm certain quite a few friends will be delighted with this version of a perennial favourite also :) !

  12. These look so great for a party! I never think of making meatballs for a party, but you're right about all the different directions they can be taken. I'll remember this for the next party that happens. The homemade sweet chili sauce sounds fantastic!

  13. I love everything about these! Meatballs are one of my favorites, and I love the Thai flavors with them!

  14. I like Thai and I like meatballs! This is the perfect meal! I'm definitely keeping this recipe for my kids' birthday party - awesome idea for the party! I like that it's baked too! No oily mess on my stove! Woo-hah!

  15. This sounds wonderful! I love Thai sweet chili sauce and I was very addicted one time. :) These small bites are perfect size for kids too. Hope you have a wonderful weekend Lisa!

  16. These would certainly be a party favorite, and I just love that sauce! I bed it would work beautifully with a veggie version as well...must try!

  17. Magnificient pictures!
    Love bio turkey, my favourite ground for meatballs.
    I buy my Riesling directly from a French producer (I'm living close to France's Riesling wine region) and over the years, it became the indispensable companion to my fusion cuisine:

  18. A great take on the ubiquitously boring meatball!

  19. i think this would be wonderful as a dumpling as well

  20. Made these tonight for our office carry-in tomorrow. The house smelled a-maze-ing while they were cooking and the taste is awesome. We've been nibbling on them all yummy. Hope they reheat well, I'm not putting any sauce on till they're ready to serve tomorrow so they should be ok.


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