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The 10 Best Global Meatball Recipes… EVER

The 10 Best Global Meatball Recipes… EVER

When you think of meatballs, you likely conjure up an image of a heaping plate of spaghetti with red sauce with those glorious little orbs of meat nestled atop it. While Italian meatballs are indeed a glorious thing, were you aware meatballs are actually an international dish with representation across a wide range of foodie cultures and countries? From China’s delicate fish balls that are destined for a spicy hot pot all the way to the koftes of the Middle East, meatballs have been a global comfort dish for centuries. If you thought you loved meatballs before, get yourself prepared for an affair to remember with these top 10 meatball recipes from around the world.

Italian Meatballs

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It wouldn’t be possible to have a meatball top 10 list without including every kid’s favorite: the Italian meatball. Whether lovingly added to a hunk of Italian bread and slathered with red sauce and cheese for America’s favorite meatball sub or rightfully taking its place on top of a large pile of spaghetti, Italian meatballs are where most people pick up their admiration for these simple circles of joy. Unsurprisingly, a love this big means Italian meatball recipes are hotly debated, and everyone has their own way of making these “correctly.” We’ve turned to chef Mario Batali for the meatball recipe he uses at his world-class Italian eatery in NYC, Babbo. While we don’t imagine this will in any way solve the debate, it’s still exceptionally tasty.

Chinese Fish Balls

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    Ever wondered what it would be like to take the “meat” out of the “ball?” The Chinese have been doing it for centuries with their ludicrously luscious fish balls. Fish balls can take on many different guises in China, with one of the favorites being an addition to either soup or a spicy hot pot. As fish balls are generally made with what is known as “fish paste,” they have a much lighter, smoother consistency than their meatier cousins. This recipe will show you how to make the fish balls from scratch, as well as a basic how-to for Chinese “fire pot.” Think of an Asian-inspired fondue and you’re halfway there, making it perfect for parties and bigger gatherings.

    Köttbullar (Swedish Meatballs)

    Swedish Meatballs

      If you’ve ever been to a particular Swedish home furnishings shopping experience, especially on a crowded Saturday, chances are this was the one thing you were actually looking forward to. Swedish meatballs have been around for generations, but America’s love affair with them has been fairly recent, mainly as a reward for not killing your significant other while buying a new couch. Swimming in a rich, cream sauce, try serving these bad boys with simple mashed potatoes, buttered noodles or even lightly pickled cucumber salad.

      Kofte (Middle Eastern Meatballs)

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      Kofte

        It’s nearly impossible to go anywhere from Turkey to Casablanca without seeing these delectably grilled morsels for sale from a loud street-food vendor. Typically grilled on a skewer, these meatballs generally come out a little longer and flatter than your typical circle of love. Though it’s common for this meatball recipe to be made from lamb, a combination of beef and lamb is also perfectly acceptable. The key is in the spicing. While mint, parsley and onion take the driver’s seat in this dish, black pepper, cinnamon and allspice give the directions. Try serving this stuffed into warm pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes and a few spoonfuls of garlicky yogurt sauce for maximum authenticity.

        Bun Cha (Vietnamese Meatballs)

        With its bright colors and palate-pleasing flavors, it’s easy to see why Vietnamese food has a worldwide fan base. If you’re looking to brighten up your meatball repertoire, look no further than Hanoi’s bun cha dish, or pork meatballs with pickled vegetables and noodles. While using grilled pork shoulder is acceptable, this is a dish where beautifully grilled pork meatballs truly shine. To eat, take a bowl and fill it with some of the dipping sauce, adding a few pork meatballs and pickled vegetables. Serve with chilled rice noodles and a large pile of cilantro, mint, lettuce, holy basil and bean sprouts. Take a bit of each, and you’ve got a memorable mouthful.

        Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs)

        Frikadeller

          Done any traveling around northern Europe? Then chances are high you’ve run into these light and fluffy meatballs during your dining. Though Danish in origin, these meatballs are also popular in Belgium, Austria and Germany where they’re considered a favorite snack. Frikadeller were originally created as a way to stretch meat to feed larger groups of people, and while some recipes include milk-soaked breadcrumbs, oats and rice are common as well. A word to the wise: this meatball mix will come out extremely soft, so you won’t be rolling them. Be sure to use two well-oiled spoons to drop the mixture into your hot fat for the perfect morsel.

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          Albondigas (Mexican Meatballs)

          Albondigas

            When it comes to comfort food, the Mexicans have got the recipe right. While albondigas are popular in both Spain and Portugal, their addition to soup in Mexico makes this the foodie equivalent of a hug from your grandma. In this dish, beef and rice meatballs find their way into a lightly-spiced, tomato-based broth that’s heavily jacked with fresh herbs and vegetables. As the meatballs are going into a soup, try making them slightly smaller than you normally would so you can get both a ball and some broth on the same spoon. Serve with fresh tortillas, chopped avocado, extra hot sauce and a few sprigs of cilantro and you’ve got yourself a big bowl of meatball love.

            Bakso (Indonesian Meatballs)

            Bakso

              Is there really a better place for meatballs than a steaming hot bowl of soup? It would seem much of the world think so, and this is certainly true in Indonesia. Much like their Chinese and Vietnamese cousins, Indonesian meatballs have a smooth and bouncy texture as the meat is pulverized into a paste before being formed. An extremely popular street food, these little gems have a place of honor in President Obama’s favorite Indonesian dish, Bakso soup. Try serving this meatball soup with plenty of chili sauce and a handful of fresh herbs for extra bite.

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              Klopsiki (Polish Meatballs)

              It would seem some of the world’s best dishes originally spring from poverty, and the humble klopsiki is no exception. Like in many other cultures, meatballs became a great way to stretch meat so there was enough to feed a large family or gathering. However, over the years, this dish has become a beloved national treasure, served for weeknight meals and special occasions alike. While quick versions exist, the most traditional and luxurious can take up to two days to prepare. If you’ve got the time, we give this meatball recipe two enthusiastic thumbs up.

              Kofta Masala (Indian “Meat”balls)

              Kofta Masala

                OK, OK… calm down. Yes, these are vegetarian. While there are those who would argue that failure to include meat essentially means they shouldn’t be included in a meatball showdown, we think these little suckers have what it takes to stand up against any of the balls above. Made from lotus root, these balls have a surprisingly meaty texture, particularly when they’re served in a rich and spicy masala sauce. This dish can essentially be vegan if the paneer cheese and optional cream are omitted. It’s surprisingly delicious, and we dare you not to like it.

                Featured photo credit: Mr Usaji via flickr.com

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                Last Updated on September 18, 2020

                7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

                Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

                1. Exercise Daily

                It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

                If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

                Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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                If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

                2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

                Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

                One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

                This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

                3. Acknowledge Your Limits

                Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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                Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

                Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

                4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

                Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

                The basic nutritional advice includes:

                • Eat unprocessed foods
                • Eat more veggies
                • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
                • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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                Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

                  5. Watch Out for Travel

                  Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

                  This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

                  If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

                  6. Start Slow

                  Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

                  If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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                  7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

                  Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

                  My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

                  If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

                  I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

                  Final Thoughts

                  Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

                  Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

                  More Tips on Getting in Shape

                  Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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