Meatballs with an Asian Profile

Asian flavors are a particular favorite of ours, and this recipe was calling our names. For Ginger-Chicken Meatballs with Chinese Broccoli, we used ground chicken which is leaner than other meats. But less fat doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor—these meatballs are loaded with aromatics like scallions, ginger and garlic, and served intertwined with delicious Chinese broccoli.


Chinese broccoli, shown above, is a leafy green vegetable closely related to thick-stemmed broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. It has flat leaves, thick stems, and tiny florets with a slightly bitter and earthy taste. It may prove tough to find Chinese broccoli in large grocery stores, so check your local Asian market, which is more likely to carry it. But in a pinch, you can use broccoli, broccolini (our fallback) or broccoli rabe. Do keep in mind that you may have to adjust the cooking time to account for the swap.

I recently blogged about meatballs with different ethnic origins (Italian Wedding Soup and Swedish Meatballs) in two previous posts, and in them I advise about keeping your hands moist so that the meat mixture doesn’t stick to them. I made this recipe prior to the other two, and as you can decipher by my misshapen balls—some almost triangular in shape—I neglected to incorporate this step into the process, luckily it didn’t affect the taste!

The meat mixture was very sticky and hard to form round balls. If you keep your hands moist with water, it will be easier.


  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for serving
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 bunch Chinese broccoli, chopped (broccolini)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Turn the meatballs as they start to brown.

When browned on all sides, place meatballs on paper towels. Mine obviously didn’t stay round because they weren’t in ball shapes from the start.

Combine broccoli and red pepper flakes in same skillet after meatballs are removed.

After the broccoli cooks for 5 minutes, add meatballs and remaining 1½ cups broth.


  1. Using your hands or a rubber spatula, gently mix garlic, chicken, soy sauce, ginger, 4 scallions, and ½ cup broth in a medium bowl just to combine. Scooping out by the tablespoonful, form mixture into 1”-diameter meatballs. (As mentioned, keep your hands moist between rolling the meatballs.)
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown all over, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Combine broccoli and red pepper flakes in same skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium-high heat until broccoli is bright green and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add meatballs and remaining 1½ cups broth.
  4. Bring broth to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until meatballs are cooked through and broccoli is tender, 5–8 minutes. Serve sprinkled with more scallions.

Recipe by The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen

Ladle into shallow bowls and top with sliced scallions.


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