Friday, September 26, 2014

A Painful Lesson...Chicken Meatballs With Ginger And Lemongrass

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This was possibly the most painful meal I have ever cooked.  I can't remember the last time I burned myself to the point of almost fainting from the pain.  Unlike most people whose blood pressure rises when they have pain, mine drops.  Like the mob, I go to the this case the kitchen floor.

I know better than to use my fingers when I am frying instead of easing the food into the frying pan with a spatula.  In this case, it didn't register that these meatballs where also small and flatish, so when I dropped them in, the top of my finger went right into the hot oil.  Ouch is not even close.  My blood pressure dropped and down I went. No I did not faint, but it was close.

Four hours and three vodkas later I was still marinading my finger in iced water.  Every time I took it out it was unbearable.  Of course Madame Mere, after expressing some concern and finishing her wraps quite unperturbed,  pronounced them so so,  not fit for a dinner meal and better for lunch or cocktails .  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. She is not a big fan of Asian food and the idea of dinner in a lettuce leaf is too much for her to digest.  Like the debit card, Asian and Middle Eastern food are still a work in progress with her.

She is right though, if you make them slightly smaller they would make great cocktail bites. However,  if you are looking for a light dinner, which we sometimes do, this fits the bill.

The original recipe is not accompanied by hoisin sauce;  but I felt that, like the minced chicken in lettuce wraps we adore,  it could benefit from it.  So I drizzled some over the meatballs before wrapping them.

I enjoyed this recipe but I didn't love it.  The burn probably had a lot to do with that. Would I make it again? I might in another lifetime.  Right now it's too painful to even think about it.

Should you ever get a burn, use cool water...not ice.  I used iced water and it was wrong (but very soothing!) Keep the area submerged at least for 20 minutes.  I did it for four hours.  Vodka on the rocks is optional. At some point you will have to take that finger out and go through some pain. Pour yourself another drink, disinfect the surface and put some Neosporin for the swelling.  Do not use butter, unless you want to fry it.  Four days later it looks better and on its way to healing.

 Here are some professional tips from WebMD.  A better site courtesy of my friend Home Before Dark

Chicken Meatballs with Ginger and Lemongrass
Serves 3 to 4


1⁄4 cup
 (2 fl. oz./60 ml) grapeseed oil, plus more  for oiling the baking sheet
1 lb. (500 g) ground chicken
2 Tbs. panko bread crumbs
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. Asian fish sauce
1 Tbs. minced lemongrass, white part only (I used dried)
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
1 1⁄2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
14 small lettuce leaves
4 green onions, thinly sliced
2 limes, cut into wedges
Hoisin sauce (optional)


Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly oil a baking sheet.

In a bowl, combine the chicken, panko, soy sauce, fish sauce, lemongrass, cornstarch, cilantro, ginger, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Roll into 1-inch (2.5-cm) balls.

Warm a large sauté pan or frying pan over medium heat. Add the 1⁄4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) oil and heat until it appears to shimmer. Add the meatballs and sauté, turning the meatballs to brown evenly on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Drain on paper towels. Transfer the meatballs to the prepared baking sheet and bake until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes.

Arrange the lettuce, green onions, and limes on a platter. Serve the meatballs in a bowl on the side. Instruct guests to place a meatball in a lettuce leaf, top with green onions, squeeze with lime juice, fold and eat.  You can also drizzle with Hoisin sauce.

Recipes adapted from Williams Sonoma
Photos: The Sous Chef


  1. What a terrible experience to go through. I am afraid we all take these little chances, rather than listen to our inner good sense. With your blood pressure reaction, it sounds especially frightening.

    I do worry about kitchen safety, especially when there are children around. In the Chinese shops that sell kitchenware, there are a variety of small tongs that sell for very little, and which would be perfect for easing many kinds of food into hot fat or boiling water.

    Wishing you a quick recovery, Jim

    1. Would you believe the tongs were right by to take them out when they were done?! That is the worst part...but I guess they call them accidents for a reason. It's coming along, though still not fit for typing. xxooJ

  2. Oh my, what a frightening experience, especially with your blood pressure dropping. I am so glad you weren't alone. We all make mistakes that, in hindsight, we would have known better. And a stiff drink or two always calms my nerves. I hope your pain goes away quickly and in the meantime, take good care of yourself. I'll be thinking of you and your sweet sous chef.

    1. Going through a bad rash this Fall, Sam. Guess not being able to concentrate on what I'm doing played a bid part.

  3. Ough....that is very, very painful.
    Hope you feel better now and that you recover quick from that experience....
    De ball`s sound very good and i sure make them this week.
    Greetings and give Lucy a big hug from me.

    1. Thanks, Jeanne. Passing on the hugs to Lucy is always a big treat for me!

  4. Replies
    1. Ay? that was not in my vocabulary that night. Luckily Madame Mere's hearing is not so good these days. Remember I worked in a trading room in my other life.....So nice to see you here. Miss you guys!

  5. Oh my goodness! I could feel your pain as I read through your words. I had a similar experience two weeks ago where I burned the back of my middle finger on a hot oven rack. Don't ask me why I did not have my glove on, but there you have it. It took almost a week for it to begin to heal and what do you think happened next? I was filling my glass with ice cubes and reached into the ice drawer. Within a fraction of a second, one of the cubes had stuck to the wound. Instinctively, I pulled my hand away and, well, you can guess the rest. Ouch!

    Do feel better soon and perhaps a night out at a restaurant (with someone else cooking) will be a nice change.

    1. I do the oven burn at least once a month. I am so stubborn and stupid about not wearing gloves. Guess this had to happen for me to wake up. That's what happens with ice cubes. I just had another ouch moment just reading about it, Take care.

  6. Oh my, thought I heard you cry out here in Hogansville! Hope you heal fast.
    Sending love & hugs.

    1. So it took a burn to get you back! where have you been? we miss you!

  7. Accidents in the kitchen---a huge book could be written on the topic. Inattentiveness, an overly casual approach, too much wine: those are the sins that cause injury, at least in my own little kitchen. And then one develops an aversion to that particular culinary effort--associating innocent meatballs with PAIN.
    Madame Mère might have a point about the end result being out of proportion to the efforts taken!

  8. Making dinner in this house these days is no longer the relaxing experience it used to be. For one thing MM thinks we eat too late and there is always the rush to get things done. BUT this was sheer stupidity on my part. Trust me, these or any round little thing ressembling a meatball won't be appearing on my table in the foreseeable future for dinner OR cocktails!

  9. I think the recipe sounds interesting, might sub ground pork for chicken. As for the burn WOWZERS! In my temporary kitchen I, too, had common burns because the ovens were so much smaller. Here are some tips, I never heard of black tea or vinegar and water or honey: I do think honey is great for bug bites. Hate to hear your banning cocktails, just when you might need them them most!

  10. What a great site...I just added it to the post. I had heard of the egg yolks but ,of course, at the time I forgot Yes, you are right, I thought about the same thing later...ground pork would be better. Also using thighs instead of breasts. It was a bit bland in spite of all the garnishes. Banned cocktails? at lindaraxa's? whoever heard of such travesty!

  11. So sorry for your mishap. I am sure by this time you are better, but the recipe does look interesting. Take care.


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