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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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJxwtDaV1lc

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 April 8, 2020

                Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

                Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

                Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

                Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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                Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

                However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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                The leap happens when we realize two things:

                1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
                2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

                Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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                Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

                My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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                In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

                “Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

                Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

                More Tips About Building Positive Relationships

                Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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